Jun 272011
 

Rave On Buddy Holly, arguably the most hyped cover album of the year, finally drops this week. Rampant previews hinted that the album would be something special, and the A-list lineup of artists doesn’t disappoint. Rave On is a solid, carefully curated collection of tracks from Buddy Holly‘s surprisingly extensive catalog, a worthy tribute to the rock pioneer.

Choosing standouts from such a varied and high-profile set of covers is a challenge. Some of the best moments come from contributors who chose to keep their covers low-key. Dan Auerbach’s vocals gracefully carry the Black Keys‘ quiet, percussion-based opener “Dearest,” while Fiona Apple and Jon Brion trip through a pitch-perfect duet in “Everyday.” My Morning Jacket offers the elegantly subdued “True Love Ways,” embellished with a lovely string section. Continue reading »

Apr 282011
 

And the winner for Most Anticipated Tribute Album of 2011 goes to…

Rave On Buddy Holly, coming June 28th to celebrate what would be Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday this fall. This tracklist defines the term “stacked.” From veterans like Paul McCartney and Patti Smith to newer breakouts like She & Him and Cee-Lo Green, every one of the 19 tracks looks to be another potential stunner. My Morning Jacket crooning “True Love Ways”? The Black Keys rocking “Dearest”? John Doe doing who-knows-what to “Peggy Sue Got Married”? Continue reading »

Health Care

 Posted by at 4:00 pm  No Responses »
Mar 222010
 

Last night, at 10:45pm, the health care bill passed by a vote of 219-212. It’s been a hard fight and I think even the bill’s most ardent supporters will be glad to move on. The “debate” never recovered any sense of maturity after a particularly nasty summer, but hopefully once the dust settles the benefits will win out over the rhetoric.


Fatima Mansions – Lady Godiva’s Operation (The Velvet Underground) [Buy]
Hearing John Cale and Lou Reed go back and forth about this operation is enough to make one a Christian Scientist. You’re not sure if you’re in an E.R. or a torture chamber.

Soul Asylum – Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye) [Buy]
This song came out in 1982, but for some reason the FDC still hasn’t approved sexual healing as a legitimate medicinal procedure. They must still be conducting tests…

Jeffries Fan Club – Healthy Body (Operation Ivy) [Buy]
Operation Ivy only released one proper album, but their songs have been covered by everyone from Green Day (“Knowledge”) to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies (“Sound System”).

The Detroit Cobras – Insane Asylum (Koko Taylor and Willie Dixon) [Buy]
The Detroit Cobras are the best cover band around. It’s not even close. Who else would have inspired an entire blog devoted to unearthing the songs they cover?

Garland Jeffries – Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues (Skip James) [Buy]
It’s not surprising that Skip James has only good things to say about hospitals. After all, his career was resuscitated in one when blues archivists John Fahey, Bill Barth and Henry Vestine came for a bedside visit in 1964. He died five years later, but not before being covered by Cream and performing at the Newport Folk Festival. [more delta blues covers]

Soda & His Million Piece Band – St. James Infirmary Blues (Trad.) [Buy]
This song is actually included on a White Stripes tribute album because of how often they performed it. Soda fills out the garage song with lowdown dirty horns and a duet with a girl who sounds like she might just be St. James herself. [more White Stripes covers]

Florence and the Machine – Hospital Beds (Cold War Kids) [Buy]
I called Florence and the Machine’s recent album Lungs the twelfth best album of 2009, but if they became a covers band I would have on complete. The Kids’ bloozy crunch gets an AED jolt from one of the most powerful voices in music today. [more Cold War Kids covers]

Hell Blues Choir – I Don’t Need No Doctor (Ray Charles) [Buy]
The great thing about Hell Blues Choir is how little they sound like a choir. We heard them swing through “Downtown Train” a few weeks ago, but “I Don’t Need No Doctor” sounds even less choral. It even has a guitar solo! [more Ray Charles covers]

Foetus in Excelsis Corruptus – Faith Healer (Sensational Alex Harvey Band) [Buy]
Foetus varied their name often throughout their career, taking on such unpleasant pseudonyms as You’ve Got Foetus on Your Break and Scraping Foetus off the Wheel. You get the sense they might have been on Rep. Bill Stupak’s side on the no-coverage-for-abortions issue.

Jill Sobule – Don’t Let Us Get Sick (Warren Zevon) [Buy]
This song breaks my heart every time. Warren Zevon had a lifelong phobia of doctors, avoiding checkups until it was too late. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer, he refused treatment, choosing instead to record one more album. The Wind was released on August 26, 2003. Warren died twelve days later. [more Warren Zevon covers]