Rachel Goodrich seems to have a taste for the oldies these days – oldies in the back-in-the-day sense of the word, before the radio stations falling under that umbrella could have ever claimed the ’80s. Earlier this week, she released a cover of Johnny Cash‘s 1955 classic, “Folsom Prison Blues,” and yesterday she returned with the 1965 Shangri-Las hit, “Out In the Streets.”
“Folsom Prison Blues,” is an inevitably tough one to tackle. It’s one thing to bring a solid approach to the music and quite another to bring that distinctive Johnny Cash swagger to I killed a man in reno just to watch him die, that mournfulness to hearing the train whistle of freedom. Musically speaking, the cover is beautiful. The guitar and percussion fit the original incredibly, without feeling like a carbon copy, and her voice is mellow and haunting and produced with a layering effect that accentuates everything incredible about it. Though the voice has a haunting sound to it, there’s none of the suffering or violence or desperation that makes “Folsom Prison Blues” what it is.
Goodrich’s musical stylings, however, create for a perfect “Out In the Streets.” The dreamlike texture of her vocals and harmonies, along with the background ooohs, give the song a feel that fits just as well today as it did almost five decades ago. The cover feels timeless – not in the sense that it seems to withstand time, but that it exists outside of it and throughout it, like some kind of less baked cousin of Best Coast.
The two songs are clearly very different and need to be approached from different angles and attitudes. “Folsom Prison Blues” is a treat to listen to, but Goodrich nailed “Out In the Streets” with something ethereally close to that old-fashioned, ’60s girl group charm. (via Verbicide, My Old Kentucky Blog)