It’s been a little while since we had a strictly thematic post, so here we are with streets, both specific and general.
I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business – Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan)
The organ-fueled rant of the vitriolic original has been taken down to a light folk-rock take that, though the sound seems superficial, keeps the fury intact in a more passive-aggressive mode. Probably a bad choice to start this set with though, as other than the title the song actually has nothing to do with streets. Oh well.
Abbie Gardner – Hit the Road Jack (Ray Charles)
Gardner takes a Joan Osborne-esq approach, stripping the soul classic down to some slapped guitar and understated vocals.
Patty – Highway to Hell (AC/DC)
Off of the pretty good Backed In Black tribute album, it sounds about what you would expect the track to sound like on an acoustic guitar. Which isn’t a bad thing.
Marah – Streets of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen)
Bruce has got a lot of street songs: Thunder Road, The E Street Shuffle, Tenth-Avenue Freeze-Out, Streets of Fire, Incident on 57th Street, etc. Only one of them has won him an Oscar however. So, though it’s far from one of my favorite Springsteen songs, it’s hard to knock it. Fellow Jersey boy Marah gives it a little more life in an uptemp country take that replaces the synths with banjos.
Al Jarreau – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 (Bobby Troup)
A bop-jazz instrument-less version of this rock standard stands out from the competition, most of which all sound identical (though Depeche Mode does a decent take too). The sounds of a Beat coffee shop.
Anti-Nowhere League – Streets of London (Ralph McTell)
Though not in the same league fame-wise as the Sex Pistols or The Clash, they certainly have the sound down on this punked updated of the folk standard, off-key nasal drawl and all. Fast and straight-ahead, with no fucking around.
Brandi Carlisle and A Fine Frenzy – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
Two great indie-fabulous female vocalists combine for this live duet
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver)
These guys only do one thing, but they do it well. So here’s one of dozens of their non-rock songs turned into pop-punk. Sounds exactly like you’d expect.
John Hammond – Fannin Street (Tom Waits)
It’s a cover, but Hammond (the producer’s son) released it years before Tom released his own. Named after a Leadbelly song, John’s version is much smoother, slow country-blues in this live take from an ’01 show.
Tenacious D – Abbey Road Medley (The Beatles)
Jack Black and Kyle Gass, known mostly for songs about slow sex and farting, occasionally do a cover…and are surprisingly adept at it. Here’s Side B of Abbey Road, minus the Ringo drum solo. That famous side can’t be discussed, however, without a link to Chris Bliss juggling to it.