Aug 162018
 

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

do right woman covers

Aretha Franklin’s name does not appear on the writing credits to “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” but as with so many songs she sang: It’s hers. No knock on the great songwriters (who also penned “Dark End of the Street”), but no singer goes in to “Do Right Woman” to cover Chips Moman and Dan Penn. They aim to pay homage to the Queen of Soul, dead today at 76.

As I often say with iconic singers, the best way to pay homage to Aretha’s music is not to try to sing like Aretha. You’re not going to out-belt her, and you won’t deliver any song with more soul, feeling, or passion. That’s not to say there aren’t talented soul singers who ably delivered this track; everyone from Etta James to Phoebe Snow has belted “Do Right Woman.” But if I want to hear the best singing in the world, I’m pulling out Aretha’s version every time.

None of my favorite “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” covers sound like Franklin. Few even fall in the genre of soul music. These artists below tried for something different. Continue reading »

Feb 172016
 

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

aretha-franklin

We were always wanting to come up with the best cheatin’ song, ever. — Dan Penn

Dan Penn, from the musically abundant and fertile lands of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, served as a performer, producer, and songwriter for soul music’s Mecca, FAME Studios. Chips Moman, an accomplished musician and songwriter, owned American Sound studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Moman is known for recording Elvis Presley, along with other legendary greats. Together, they co-wrote a few songs, including “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” for Aretha Franklin.

The initiative for their goal of writing “the best cheatin’ song, ever,” occurred while attending a DJ Convention in Memphis, Tennessee in 1966. During a break in a card game, inspiration struck Penn and Moman, and they needed a place to get it all down. Quentin Claunch of Hi Records agreed to lend his hotel room to the galvanized duo to write the song in, contingent on the agreement that the song would be given to James Carr to sing. Half an hour later, Penn and Moman emerged with a perfectly crafted musical masterpiece called “The Dark End of the Street.” Mission accomplished.
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Nov 202015
 

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

bob ramona

Bob Dylan scholars have determined that “To Ramona” is a song about Joan Baez; Dylan’s warning her that the folk protest movement will draw her in deep, but he recognizes that she doesn’t necessarily have a problem with that, and much as he loves and wants her, he has to let her think for herself, both for her sake and for his. That’s a pretty specific interpretation, yet the song resounds in the hearts of thousands, millions, as a love song they can relate to their own lives, in their own ways. It speaks to Dylan’s genius that he can draw the universal from the singular instead of the other way around.
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Feb 212014
 

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.

Over 40 years after its initial release, the Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” still thunders across the forefront of popular culture. Its appeal lies as much in its lyrical ambiguity as in the music itself. Is it about Keith’s contrition for leaving his newborn son at home for yet another tour? Is it about Marianne Faithfull? Maybe it’s about some other graceless lady, a nameless muse immortalized between the bars of Mick Taylor’s Nashville-tuned guitars. Whatever the case, “Wild Horses” endures – not just for its beauty, but because it enables listeners to imbue it with their own experiences, however bitter or sweet. It’ll go on living long after we die, and nothing could drag it away.
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Aug 232013
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Sunday is Elvis Costello’s birthday, an occasion where we usually feature covers of an artist’s songs. But seeing as the birthday boy is one of the hardest working songwriter/musicians in the music world, it would be a shame to give him a break now. So we’ll look at some of the covers he’s done and get his birthday weekend started tonight, like we all do when a good birthday falls on a Sunday.
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Oct 252011
 

Members of the recent folk revival like to paint visionaries like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Bluegrass legends like Del McCoury as their forefathers. Really, though, aside from the “newgrass” groups like the Avett Brothers with their traditional instrumentation, most of today’s mellow acoustic guitar-strumming folk bands draw more from the sometimes maligned folk-rock trend of the later ’60s and ’70s, with bands like Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, and their offshoot The Flying Burrito Brothers. In their new Daytrotter session Vetiver embraces this heritage, covering “Here Tonight,” a song that Byrds songwriter Gene Clark wrote for his former bandmates in the Burrito Brothers. Continue reading »