Mar 202015
 

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Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

I guess I felt a little bad about by my recent damning by faint praise of Annie Lennox, so I’ve been feeling the need to redress with something topnotch. And I have it, with Relations, the 2004 LP by Kathryn Williams, silky-voiced folkish songstrel. I guess she isn’t well known outside her fan-base in the U.K., which is a shame because she damn well should be.
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Nov 182014
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

In the 1950s and 1960s, the concept of the “angry young man” took hold in Britain; they had a lot to be angry about in the bleak, post-war period. The resentment of the lower and middle classes about issues of income inequality, upper class privilege, and the lack of consumer goods led to a remarkable outpouring of socially conscious theater, books, movies, and (most important for our purposes) music.
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Feb 282014
 

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

Some articles are written because of a great love for the subject. Some are written because they are timely. Some are written because there is a need. This article is being written because of fate. When you write about music, sometimes the world conspires to suggest a topic. “Ooh La La,” by the Faces, is one of those songs in the classic rock canon that pretty much anyone of a certain age knows. Its bouncy, wistful chorus makes it memorable and recognizable, even if it might be hard to immediately place the unfamiliar voice or recall the actual title. And when, in the period of a week, the song appears first on the radio, then on satellite radio, then on TV, and finally on a list of potential article topics circulated by the Cover Me editorial staff, it was clearly time for me to take a look at this song, through its covers.
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Sep 272012
 

Singer-songwriter and musician Rickie Lee Jones has spent nearly 35 years carving a unique path that has blended rock, pop, blues, R&B, and jazz. From her early success with the hit 1979 song  “Chuck E’s in Love” to the 2000s where she experimented with beats, loops and spoken word, Jones is the embodiment of the evolving artist. Her latest effort, The Devil You Know is a collection of covers of classic rock tracks that read as a greatest hits list. Continue reading »

Apr 192012
 

We all know that Rod Stewart‘s rendition of “Forever Young” is a cover of Bob Dylan (well, basically) so it always seems right to classify any cover of the song as a cover of a cover, or a cover of a minor re-write. Sacramento-based singer songwriters of Golden Youth have produced quite a cover of a cover, stripping down the song that was in everyone’s graduation video. Continue reading »

Mar 142011
 

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

Elton John is one of those artists who transcends generations and genres. From rock to pop to a Diamond-certified soundtrack (The Lion King), his eclectic music has universal appeal. More than his talent on the piano or vocals, his showmanship adds an inescapable aura to his songs. How else could he get away with the lyrics to one of his biggest hits, “Your Song?” To bust out a line like, “If I was a sculptor, but then again, no,” with no further explanation takes a Miles Davis level of cool. Only a master could make forgetting the color of his lover’s eyes somehow a tribute to them (although it is a sly way to make sure the song applies to multiple partners).

In short, “Your Song” is a dangerous song to cover. In the wrong hands, it’s pure schmaltz. Then again, hewing too close to the original means competing with perfection. Amid the multitudes of failures, thankfully, there are a handful of standouts. Continue reading »