May 272017
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bruce Cockburn, a curious and spiritual man who finds the wonder where you can’t and who sees the danger when you don’t. The Canadian singer-songwriter has released two dozen albums over the last 45 years, but isn’t too well known outside of the Great White North. Generally speaking, Bruce’s ’70s albums were acoustic, frequently religious, and grounded in nature; perfect Sunday brunch backgrounds. The ’80s recordings were more electric, angrier, yet always hopeful. Cockburn is perceptive, able to explain a complex tragedy by focusing on the victims it created. And regardless of the decade, Cockburn’s love songs were always in the mix. Bruce has won 13 Juno Awards (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy) and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Bruce turns 72 today and we celebrate by offering a selection of other artists covering his work.
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Feb 172017
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

erictaylor

Eric Taylor is a former Clear Channel DJ who now serves as an elementary school teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah. He’s been writing news pieces for Cover Me since 2015.
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Dec 042013
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s your favorite holiday cover song?
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Nov 042008
 

—Note: This is a repost. In their recent wave of attacks on music bloggers, the RIAA finally found me, prompting blogger to delete the original post with no notification of any kind. Maybe the industry was pissed that I talked shit about it in the original post. This attack on the music blogging community seems to me a situation of that cliched shirt, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Anyway, here is the text of the removed post, but the links are gone. That includes the buy links, incidentally – look what happened RIAA, now no one will buy any of these albums at all. I will be making a new Full Album cover post later tonight but if these take-downs become a recurring pattern, I cannot say what my future as a music blogger will be.—

Halloween is this Friday, and it’s certainly a scary time for us bloggers. In the past couple weeks everyone has been getting posts pulled, cease-and-desist letters, and file hosting privileges revoked out of the blue. Who knows what instituted the crack-down, but I’ll take vampires over the RIAA any day. Here at Cover Me we’re gonna press on, celebrating the fun side of being scared with some Halloween covers.

Marilyn Manson – This Is Halloween (Nightmare Before Christmas)
Tim Burton’s holiday classic wouldn’t be complete without Danny Elfman’s spooky soundtrack, pop songs about bleeding eyes and deadly poxes. Some songs are just so perfectly chosen to cover, and this would be one of them, Manson relishing the change to parody himself as he exhorts you to scream. Off of the recently-released Nightmare Revisited covers collection. [Buy]

Lou Rawls – Season of the Witch (Donovan)
Because nothing says Halloween like a lot of organ. And nothing says “Alright, I’ve had enough of the damn organ” like a sax blaring through at halfway point. [Buy]

Denison Witmer – Is There a Ghost? (Band of Horses)
To promote his upcoming release Carry the Weight, Witmer has been releasing a series of covers on his MySpace page of everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Red House Painters. Needless to say, the blogosphere has been eating up (free music, woohoo!), but his nuanced and forceful acoustic takes warrant the hype. [Buy]

The Mighty Echoes – Monster Mash (Bobby “Boris” Pickett)
No cover of this could possibly live up to the original, with Pickett’s eerie Boris Karloff-channeling vocal performance, but this a capella doo wop take is fun. [Buy]

Boyce Avenue – Disturbia (Rihanna)
“Really, Ray, the third week in a row with a Disturbia cover?” That’s right. They just never get old, and the video is an S&M Halloween classic. [Buy]

Barenaked Ladies – Grim Grinning Ghosts (Buddy Baker)
Baker wrote the music for dozens of obscure Disney movies, and this one he came up with as the theme for the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney world. It’s used in a billion different ways, meticulously cataloged at the tune’s wikipedia page, but none can be better than this super-jolly BNL take. [Buy]

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Whistling Past the Graveyard (Tom Waits)
With his well-known “I Put a Spell On You” and classic album covers like this one, Screamin’ Jay could have a whole Halloween post by himself. And maybe he will next year. Until then, here’s one of his many classic Tom Waits covers, a big funk number with a growl and swagger. [Buy]

Petra Hayden – Thriller (Michael Jackson)
I posted Ben Gibbard’s cover of this in my full album cover post here, which I personally prefer, but this one has gotten a lot of blog hype. It’s a little too close to the original for my taste, but demand was high, so have at it. [Buy]

Alkaline Trio – Over at the Frankenstein Place (Rocky Horror Picture Show)
No Halloween is complete without some Rocky Horror excitement, and if your Halloween plans include Brad and Janet this year, check out this site to truly be prepared. And then go buy the full disc of covers, The Rocky Horror Punk Rock Show, that includes this fuzzed-out gem of one of the musical’s more obscure tunes. [Buy]

Michael Derning & Mia Arends – Vampire (Michael Smith)
It’s difficult to research someone with the name Michael Smith. I’m guessing this songwriter is not the ex-singer of the Dave Clark Five, but he’s probably not the Limp Bizkit guitarist either. I like this song though, so if anyone has any insight as to its origins, let me know! [Buy]

Hexnut – What’s He Building? (Tom Waits)
Two Tom Waits songs for a Halloween theme strikes me as entirely appropriate, and no song is more apropos to the occasion than this. I use the term “song” loosely of course, as this spooky spoken-word narrative sounds straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I don’t know what he’s building, and I don’t intend to find out. [Buy]

Politics

 Posted by at 3:29 am  No Responses »
Aug 262008
 

I’m sitting here watching the Democratic National Convention, which is something else. Hundreds of political bigwigs, dressed in stern suits, acting like cheerleaders with the banners, cheering, waving at the camera, etc. I almost expected Howard Dean to streak. So as this damn election continues to never end, here are some political songs. Trying playing them over the campaign commercials; it make might make them more enjoyable.

Kodiak – Political World (Bob Dylan)
An underrated gem from Dylan’s underrated Oh Mercy, it touches on every sense of the word political. “We live in a political world / In cities of lonesome fear / Little by little you turn in the middle / But you’re never sure why you’re here.”

Sam Bush – Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man) (Randy Newman)
This song hits the theme of this election dead on: which candidate will have the most pity on the working man.

Cold War Kids – Electioneering (Radiohead)
I didn’t get a chance to throw this in last week’s Radiohead post, but doesn’t this sound familiar: “I will stop, I will stop at nothing / Say the right things when electioneering / I trust I can rely on your vote.”

Pickin’ On Series – American Idiot (Green Day)
I’m normally first in line to criticize series like this, which tend to just take the chords to a song and play them on a different instrument (banjo, accordion, distortion guitar, whatever). For this song at least, these anonymous session musicians sound like they tried for more than a paycheck, with a harmonies, solos, etc. And, unusual for the genre, it’s not instrumental – a big plus.

Deluxx Folk Implosion – I’m Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock)
Everything you forgot from eighth grade history is here in this song. I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, and the fact that a full disc of covers exists (Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks) makes me very happy indeed.

Donavon Frankenreiter – Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
A furious anti-Vietnam diatribe, the sentiments apply today as much as they did in 1969 now that a fortunate son’s in charge. Frankenreiter does away with John Fogerty’s blazing guitar line for some sensitive-guitar chiming acoustic.

Ann Vriend – Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young)
Kudos to Cover Lay Down for turning me onto this one, a song so often covered the same way, as easily jammable as “Watchtower”. With an ominous string section though, Vriend’s take is almost gothic folk, emphasizing the struggle you have to get through to keep on rocking.

Billy Bragg & Wilco – Stetson Kennedy (Woody Guthrie)
Greatest song ever about voting for a third-party candidate. Though I can’t think of any others.

Joan Baez – Christmas in Washington (Steve Earle)
Joan Baez, doing a political song? Shocking indeed. Calling out both Republicans and
Democrats is direct even for her though. This is a more recent offering than her flower child 60’s days, from her 2003 release Dark Chords on a Big Guitar.

Barenaked Ladies – Fight the Power (Public Enemy)
BNL seems about as likely to fight the power as a wet noodle, but that just adds to the novelty fun of this. I can’t imagine Chuck and Flav would approve though.