Sep 212012
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

In 1970, with the Beatles broken up, Creedence Clearwater Revival was poised to take their place on the top of the musical world. But within the band, tension was coming to a head; John Fogerty had too tight a hold on the reins, as far as the others were concerned, and John’s brother Tom decided to leave the band and pursue a solo career. John’s response was to write “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” a song that obliquely addressed Tom’s departure (“the rain coming down”) at the group’s commercial apex (“on a sunny day”). Of course, you didn’t have to know the back story to love the song, and CCR found themselves with another top ten hit and FM radio staple. Continue reading »

May 112012
 

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Come September, John Fogerty will be touring in Canada and performing Creedence Clearwater Revival albums in their entirety. It’s a long way from the days when he vowed he’d never play CCR songs again, but in the end his songs proved just as irresistible to him as they are to his listeners. The album that’s arguably gotten the least resistance, and one that Fogerty and his little traveling band will be presenting on alternate nights this fall, is 1970’s Cosmo’s Factory. Continue reading »

Apr 112012
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

In Memphis, Tennessee, Union Avenue is the name of the street where the legendary Sun Studio is located (706 Union Avenue to be exact, if you want to give your GPS a workout). In Edinburgh, Scotland, Union Avenue is the name of a band steeped in rockabilly-roots music that sounds like it got its start under the watchful eye of Sam Phillips himself. Both Union Avenues have a rightful claim of the legacy of Johnny Cash – Memphis was where Cash laid the first bricks in the building of his legacy, and Edinburgh is not only Cash’s ancestral home, it’s the home of bandleader Andrew Cardno, whose playing and singing make him sound possessed by the spirit of the Man in Black. Continue reading »

Dec 122011
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

With a voice as natural as a hunk of dry bark and a guitar style so vivid you’ll swear you can hear the dust coming off the strings, M. Ward rose from Portland, Oregon, and settled down on back porches all across Americana. His warm, enduring melancholy and his playing ability has won him fandom not just from listeners, but from his peers, who seek him out for collaborations and tribute albums aplenty. With his work with Zooey Deschanel in She & Him, not to mention with Jim James and Conor Oberst in Monsters of Folk, Ward’s never been more visible, and yet his music still retains the earthy intimacy it had when he first started out. Continue reading »

Feb 042011
 

For the last two years, Bill Janovitz, guitarist and vocalist from Buffalo Tom, has posted a cover a week (almost) on his blog “Part Time Man of Rock.” Last week he celebrated 100 covers with his version of Aztec Camera’s “The Bugle Sounds Again.” Where the original sounds like mid-‘80s British indie pop, Janovitz’s version could easily pass as an outtake from Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Continue reading »

Oct 112010
 

Legendary soul singer Solomon Burke passed away yesterday en route to a European concert. In his seventy years, the “King of Rock and Soul” dominated soul, gospel, and rhythm and blues music like no one else. On early hits like “Cry to Me” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and latter-day classics like “Diamond in Your Mind” and “Make Do With What You Got,” his smooth baritone turned everything it touched to gold. With just a few syllables he could deliver you or seduce you, raise you up or bring you low. Unlike many of his peers, Burke continued performing and recording up through his last days; he released two records this year alone!

Though his commercial fortunes ebbed and flowed, the music community never forgot Burke. His 2002 album Don’t Give Up on Me featured song contributions from Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and Tom Waits. Pretty impressive Rolodex.

We’ve rounded up some live covers to remember the legend. Few can turn a phrase like Burke can, making his renditions of clichés like “Christmas Song” and Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Is Gonna Come” revelatory. On the less somber side, the raucous onstage party on “Proud Mary” shows his love of the ladies. Anyone who has attended a Burke concert can attest to the unbridled joy filling the room. He will be missed. Continue reading »