Sep 112013
 

In Defense takes a second look at a much-maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?”

News flash: Dexys Midnight Runners are more than just “Come On Eileen.” However, Kevin Rowland’s adenoidal voice and over-the-top emotion are not for everyone. Not only that, Rowland’s behavior and strange decisions definitely hindered the band’s popularity. With that in mind, we embark on a defense of the band that released some great music during their brief (if recently revived) career. If you are a Dexys skeptic, or are unaware of their output beyond “Eileen” – and let’s face it, that’s most of the world – maybe this selection of their covers will convince you to dig a little deeper into their catalogue.
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Jul 262013
 

Covering a classic such as Otis Redding‘s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” can be daunting, even blasphemous to some. Psychedelic rock trio Unknown Mortal Orchestra took on the timeless tune while visiting Marc Riley on BBC 6Music and definitely did it justice. Continue reading »

Nov 222011
 

It’s the end of the era of Etta and her more than fifty year stretch of hit singles, cross-genre awards and industry-shaking influence concludes with a dream. A dream that features Axl Rose… without being a nightmare!

With her most recent release, The Dreamer, Etta James announced her retirement from the music business. Her family recently disclosed that the 73-year-old suffers from leukemia, along with a number of other physical complications, and revealed her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2009. While her decision to end her career is no surprise, what does startle is the nature of the final album with which Etta chose to take her bow. A curious collection of covers in which a handful of true blue soul and R&B standards rock alongside the likes of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” Continue reading »

Sep 062011
 

It would be hard to mention Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” without noting its prominent resurgence in the past few months. Thank Kanye West and Jay-Z, who prominently featured a chopped-and-screwed sample in Watch the Throne single “Otis.” If that reimagining was a little too off-kilter for you, perhaps you’ll enjoy Peter Bjorn and John’s new cover, recorded as the second-to-last song for A.V. Undercover. Continue reading »

Jul 212011
 

Otis Redding is heartbreak’s greatest translator. The tragically short-lived soul singer knew how to sing a love song for the forlorn better than most, and his melismatic vocal abilities brought listeners to their knees as he crooned for the woman who left him behind. Now two ladies are picking up where Otis left off and pouring their own booming voices on top of Redding’s classic, “Pain in My Heart,” like syrup on pancakes. Grace Potter and Sharon Jones exist on opposite ends of the soul spectrum. The former represents nouveau blue-eyed soul and the latter is the closest thing today’s listeners have to the original Stax sound. Continue reading »

Jul 122011
 

The White Stripes may be broken up, but that doesn’t mean they can’t dig through the archives occasionally. In the latest installment of the aptly-named From the Vault series, Jack White and his label Third Man Records unearthed two super-early Stripes gems, both covers. On the a-side, the duo perform a subdued “Signed D.C.,” a Love cover. Then on the flip, they go through Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” Continue reading »