Jul 112014
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

 
“Baby Don’t You Do It” was written by the premier Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. As with other Motown songs, it got passed around the stable a bit; originally meant for the Supremes, it wound up going to Marvin Gaye, who had a minor hit with it, and Stevie Wonder and the Isley Brothers recorded it as well. It also got a toehold across the pond, showing up in setlists of the Small Faces and the Who, among others. And let’s not forget other forgotten versions, like those by the Wailers and Barbara Randolph (well worth an exploratory visit to YouTube). In other words, for a song that’s not often mentioned as one of Motown’s greatest hits, it’s made a deep, deep impression.
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Sep 282011
 

Two free new cover EPs to direct you to today. The first comes from Roberts & Lord, a duo that met by trolling Myspace. Ex-Simian singer Simon Lord (the voice of that “We Are You Friends” song) stumbled across California producer Rafter Roberts while looking for a collaborator online and they decided to work together. The electronic experimenters soon found themselves a home on Asthmatic Kitty – aka Sufjan Stevens’ record label – and released full-lengthy debut Eponymous and this free COVERS EP. Download two tracks below (including a must-hear “Because”), then grab the full thing here. Continue reading »

Sep 022011
 

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

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” can legitimately lay claim to having three different artists record the original version. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded it before anybody else, but Motown president Berry Gordy vetoed its release. Gladys Knight and the Pips got their faster, sassier version released first – again, Gordy didn’t want it to leave the studio – and took it to number one. But the version Gordy fought hardest against putting out, recorded two months before Knight’s and released eighteen months after its recording, was Marvin Gaye’s. Continue reading »

Jul 222011
 

Yesterday we saw Grace Potter and Sharon Jones roar through an Otis Redding song, and last night, as promised, they returned with another cover. This time they took their duet to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote a charity concert organized by Tonight Show bandleader Rickey Minor. Jones’ Daptones peer Charles Bradley joins in this time, as does the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. Continue reading »

Jul 012011
 

Handcrafted Soul are all over the map. The band name sounds like a Chicago rhythm-and-blues revue. Their press photos look like an Alabama country-western group. Yet their website reveals that they are, in fact, a duo in France, half a world away from either of these places. As their cover selections show, though, they’ve got old-school American music running in their Parisian veins. Continue reading »