Sep 132019
 

.Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Oh Mercy

Oh Mercy characteristically pops up in lists of later Dylan records deemed decent. Sure, everything he produces is briefly heralded as a return to form – if, that is, he has written any of the songs, which takes away anything really recent – but a couple of listens and most are back down in the crate alongside Shot of Love and Planet Waves. But Oh Mercy has stuck, at least with me, arguably hindered no little by the typically crickets and crayfish production of Daniel Lanois. So, then, guess, how old is it? Ten, fifteen years? Nope. Thirty years. As in, THIRTY YEARS!!! How can that be, it’s half a life, well half mine, but, there you have it, it is.
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Aug 112019
 

Karine Polwart is a not a folk singer. Yes, she performs, arguably, in the folk tradition, but by and large, she sings her own material, covering weighty topics such as sex trafficking and depression, somehow contriving an upbeat mood to these often gloomy subjects. Fiercely intelligent, she is fit to stand alongside other Scottish songwriters, such as Dick Gaughan and Michael Marra. Apart from her own material, it has been from the canon of trad.arr. that she has drawn most inspiration, as well as a hefty number of the songs of Rabbie Burns. So I would say that Polwart’s new album Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook has come as a bit of a surprise to most. And it is the modern Scottish songbook she applies herself to, not broadsheets and bothy ballads. Indeed, apart from John Martyn’s 1973 song “Don’t Want to Know,” the earliest song on the album, Songbook draws nothing from any conspicuously folkie background. The catholic selection ranges through the Waterboys and the Blue Nile to current electro-poppers Chvrches and the eccentric oddball poet Ivor Cutler. No Rod Stewart, some may be pleased to recognize.
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Apr 272016
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

As you know, Prince unexpectedly passed away last week. As you may also know, in the last decade or so before he passed, he had a contentious relationship with cover songs. He was famously litigious about getting covers of his songs pulled off blogs and YouTube, and regularly questioned in interviews whether an artist should be allowed to cover another artist’s song without getting the original artist’s permissions. We even wrote a defense of covers to Prince five years to the day before his death (spooky). We loved Prince, but Prince didn’t necessarily love us – or anyone else who recorded or shared covers of his songs.

So today’s staff/reader question arises from that same debate, what specific cover might be the one to convince Prince that covers of his songs were a good thing. Our picks are below, add your own in the comments.

Today’s Question: If you could have introduced Prince to a Prince cover, what would it be?

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Mar 272013
 

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!

Mike Scott has found his second wind. 30 years after starting the Waterboys, he and violinist Steve Wickham have just finished playing South by Southwest, and plan a tour at the end of the year to support the 25th anniversary of the album Fisherman’s Blues (Wickham is probably best known to the casual listener as the guy whose violin created the haunting feedback-like tone at the beginning of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”). Fisherman’s Blues found Scott merging the anthemic post-punk pop songs of Waterboys’ first two albums (what Scott called “The Big Music”) with traditional Celtic music, recreating the band’s sound as he has throughout their existence.

The band lost steam around the time of the Room to Roam album, when Scott and Wickham disagreed about which direction the album should go. Cycling through various musicians through the years, the Waterboys’ varietal output caused them to lose some of their audience, and the band dissolved for ten years before rebooting at the beginning of the millennium. It should be said some critics were never on board with their sound — Trouser Press editor Ira Robbins called them “insufferable,” “superficial,” and “unoriginal.” But some of their fans would start other bands, and the Waterboys are often credited with opening the door for multi-instrumentalist groups like the Decemberists and Arcade Fire to gain a wider public following. Let’s take a look behind that door right now… Continue reading »