Hocus Pocus

 Posted by at 2:22 pm  1 Response »
Oct 272009
 

These days, even Transylvanians are sick of vampires, particularly those of the brooding, sexy variety. So we’re gonna throw it back to the days of Sabrina the Teenage Witch with a post on all things black cat and pointed hat.


Omnia – Wytches’ Brew (William Shakespeare)
“Double, double, toil and trouble.” The three witches who open Macbeth enjoy one of the most famous speeches in history, brewing their mischief both figuratively and literally. Putting those lyrics to music seems natural – they may well have had a tune in Shakespeare’s time. We can be sure it didn’t come from the “pagan folk” genre though. [Buy]

Lou Rawls – Season of the Witch (Donovan)
In all honesty, it’s a little silly to think that Donovan was once thought of as serious competition to Bob Dylan in the lyrics department. “First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is”? Thankfully, this one holds up better than some of his others. [Buy]

Aimee Allen – Santeria (Sublime)
Santería merges the African Yoruba religion with Roman Catholicism and Native American traditions. In the 2000 Census it claimed 22,000 adherents in the United States. As Brad Nowell makes clear, the Sublime trio are not in that number. [Buy]

Devo – Witch Doctor (David Seville)
This song first hit the charts in 1958 as sung by “David Seville,” a pseudonym of its author Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., who two years later had another hit with it using his group Alvin and the Chipmunks. Devo turned the lyrics Jungle Book-esq for the primate-friendly cover from the Rugrats Movie soundtrack. [Buy]

Yat-Kha – Black Magic Woman (Fleetwood Mac)
If you think Tom Waits is the voice of Halloween, wait ‘til you hear Tuvan throat-singing. These Siberians can sing two notes at once (hear it on this one starting at 2:22). With their low-pitched growl, creating a heavy metal band must have seemed only natural. [Buy]

Marilyn Manson – I Put a Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
The mad musician of Halloween, ol’ Mari “Giggles” Manson is the perfect shock-rockers to take on this creepy Hawkins classic. For similarly Halloween-themed Manson, check out his take on the Nightmare Before Christmas favorite “This Is Halloween.” [Buy]

Steeleye Span – Allison Gross (Trad.)
This traditional Scottish tune comes from the 305-song “Child Ballad” collection. It tells tells the tale of “the ugliest witch in the north country” trying to enslave the narrator. The Steeleye version grew out of a production they did of Robert Louis Stephenson’ Kidnapped. [Buy]

The Gresham Flyers – Magic (Bruce Springsteen)
The title track off of Springsteen’s 2007 hit album, this “Magic” comes not from the cauldron but from the government. Somehow, that’s even more spooky. [Buy]

Lost Sounds – You Must Be a Witch (The Lollipop Shoppe)
This one originally appeared on the Lenny Kaye-curated Nuggets compilation, later turning up in Lollipop Shoppe member Fred Cole’s new band Dead Moon. The Sounds updated this in the late ‘90s without losing that early punk feel. [Buy]

Juliana Hatfield – Witches’ Song (Marianne Faithfull)
Marianne Faithfull is quite the cover girl herself (for most recent evidence of this, see last year’s Easy Come, Easy Go), so it’s nice to see her own tunes getting some love. The original comes off Faithfull’s ’79 LP Broken English, which itself contains a phenomenal version of Shel Silverstein’s “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.” [Buy]

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]