Feb 152017
 

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

Mike Pic_

Mike is back in his hometown of Cleveland after many years away. His return was not necessarily the reason the Cavs won the NBA finals, but it hasn’t been ruled out. He’s been writing his essays for Cover Me since 2011, 4 states ago. He still thinks the Counting Crows do a damn fine cover and he loved being part of the crew that got to find the best Bob Dylan covers for Dylan’s 70th birthday.
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Jan 292016
 

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

Willie-Dixon

Willie Dixon was a talented stand-up bass player, producer, and occasional vocalist for Chess Records, but his greatest gift lay in his pen. One cursory glance at his song titles – “Back Door Man,” “Little Red Rooster,” “I Ain’t Superstitious,” and “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover,” to name just a “Spoonful” – reveals what an impact he had not only on Chicago blues, but rock ‘n’ roll as well. No self-respecting sixties band with a blues foundation would dream of taking the stage without a working knowledge of Dixon’s songs, and he wrote more than 500 of them – songs that sounded immortal from the moment they were first created.
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Jul 092014
 

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 a song you didn’t know was a cover song?
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Feb 032011
 

Our White Stripes tribute continues today with a massive live collection. The Stripes were known for their concert presence as much as anything and, with the freedom that only a two-person band can bring, they frequently performed covers both expected (delta blues) and not (Mazzy Star). Some songs appeared frequently over the years, others popped up for one night only. Sometimes they were planned performances, other times Jack White just started singing some lyrics.

Below, we give you a collection of cover songs the band performed on their 2005 Get Behind Me Satan tour. The set was originally compiled by a user over at the Little Room forum and his/her efforts amaze us to this day. Thirty-three songs, all available as MP3 downloads below. The audio quality ranges from pretty-good to fantastic. Download them individually or as a full set. Continue reading »

Jan 182011
 

The world of somewhat under-the-radar pioneers has suffered devastating losses this past month. First the legendary Captain Beefheart passed in December. A few weeks later, Gerry Rafferty of “Baker Street” and “Stuck in the Middle with You” fame left us. Finally, just four days ago Trish Keenan, lead singer of indie electro-poppers Broadcast, died of pneumonia. Oof. Continue reading »

Jun 242008
 

One of the most idiosyncratic artists around, Beefheart’s two most obvious associations – Frank Zappa (friend and collaborator) and Tom Waits (follower) – have never actually covered his songs themselves. But plenty of others have, taking the strange originals and reworking them in every way imaginable.

The Black Keys – I’m Glad
A special mp3 release a few months back, the usually hard-rocking Black Keys bring the soul on this loungey cover that sounds like Sam Cooke singing through a distortion microphone.

Chris Spedding – Click Clack
The harmonica train whistles get old eventually, but otherwise it’s a cool slow-blues take on a pretty obscure Beefheart song. Though I guess they all are.

Yat-Kha – Her Eyes are a Blue Million Miles
Tuvan throat-singing combined with Western metal in this Siberian group. They released an album of…different…covers a few years ago, singing such songs as In a Gadda-Da-Vida and Ramblin’ Man in classic throat-singing style. And you thought Beefheart’s voice was unusual.

The White Stripes – Party of Special Things to Do
Released as a vinyl single with other Beefheart covers “Ashtray Heart” and “China Pig,” getting a hold of this is the holy grail for Stripes collectors. Luckily, the mp3’s are widely circulating of a song so well transformed it sounds like a Stripes original.

Sonic Youth – Electricity
Sonic Youth seem to be a go-to group for tribute albums, and they come through with one of the best tracks on the Beefheart tribute (yes, one exists) Fast ‘n’ Bulbous. Funky and off-beat like the Captain, but alternative and twisting like the Youth.

Eugene Chadbourne & Jimmy Carl Black- The Dust Blows Forward, The Dust Blows Back
Originally a free-jazz spoken word piece that doesn’t hit the two minute mark, these bluegrass gents give it a bouncy tune and stretch it out past 6:00. The most drastic reinvention of the bunch, it’s downright sing-along-able.

The Kills – Dropout Boogie
A live staple of the group, they actually released a little-known studio version years ago on the Black Rooster EP. Chunky and spastic, it builds to an explosion that never comes.

Last Fair Deal – Harry Irene
Channeling Frank Sinatra on this slow jazz take, these guys make a Captain Beefheart song sound far prettier than it has any right to be.

The Primevils – Crazy Little Thing
When the original is quirky and offbeat, a classic approach for a cover is simply, make it more accessible. In this track, also off Fast ‘n’ Bulbous, this country-rock group does this that in a fun and lively version a lot more pleasing on the ears.

Stack Waddy – Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do
A little 50’s rock’n’roll influence here, though the raspy vocals tie it in to the original.