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Jul 112008

-This post’s a few days late cause I realized I accidentally posted it at my other blog Monday. Whoops!-

As the weather’s heating up, it seemed about time for a seasonal post.

Billy Stewart – Summertime (George Gershwin)
Stewart’s version of this classic – wikipedia says there are more than 2,600 known covers – is always in the running as one of my favorite covers ever. If you haven’t heard it yet, this version trumps other excellent renditions by everyone from Janis Joplin to Angelique Kidjo. And even if you had, check out this mp3 – it features introductory notes from Bob Dylan!

TEA – Summer in the City (The Lovin’ Spoonful)
A lost treasure from the psychedelic era, this ’75 single adds some funk guitar to horn swagger that keeps the original’s attitude but updates the sound (though by doing so, it ironically sounds even more dated).

Bruce Springsteen – Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran)
Bruce and the E Street Band just played this one for the first time in 27 years. It used to be a concert staple though, so here’s an older version, from Cleveland ’78.

Wakey! Wakey! – California Girls (The Beach Boys)
No band has encapsulated summer more than Brian Wilson and co. Wakey’s little toy piano version plunks along almost enough to compensate for the missing harmonies.

The Ramones – Surf City (Jan & Dean)
Off their covers album Acid Eaters, this shows the late-period Ramones having a bit of fun, punking out this Beach Boys-wannabe classic with tongues firmly in cheek.

Dartmouth Aires – The Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
A Capella. You either love it or hate.

Steve Wynn Quintet – Summer Wine (Nancy Sinatra / Lee Hazelwood)
I can’t claim to be familiar with the original, but this haunting cover combines some Johnny Cash outlaw bounce with Emmylou Harris sass.

PYT – Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
When I hear the original, I think about the 80’s more than the 60’s, and all the obnoxiousness of the overblown rawk sound. Stripping it back to some indie-electro is an interesting touch that, whether you think it works or not, makes you hear the song anew.

Little Richard – Dancing in the Street (Martha Reeve and the Vandellas)
It sounds like a regular studio jam session, with Richard shouting out instructions to the musicians and screeching over his backing singers. Almost as fun as that Jagger/Bowie 80’s-tastic video.

Ray Pasnen – Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet)
I hate this song with a burning passion, and finding a cover without some ear-bleeding-inducing steel drums was damn near impossible. This one is interesting though, an acoustic guitar version where he sings it to the tune of Hendrix’s “Little Wing.”

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