Aug 242010

At Cover Me, we like to give stuff away. Read on to learn how that stuff can be yours.

Tribute albums to famous artists are a dime a dozen. Tribute albums to famous labels though…well, that’s something else entirely. The Morlocks Play Chess is a great title with a greater concept behind it. San Diego garage rock quintet the Morlocks cover the hits of Chicago’s legendary Chess Records. And what hits! Without the 45s of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and other Chess artists, rock and roll wouldn’t be where it is today.

Though shut down in 1975, the label has experienced something of a revival in the popular imagination recently. The 2008 film Cadillac Records spotlighted the label with help from Adrian Brody (who played Leonard Chess), Mos Def (Chuck Berry), and Beyoncé (Etta James). Just a few weeks ago Chicago podcast Sound Opinions devoted a whole show to unearthing some of the label’s history.

Enter the Morlocks. The band first popped up in southern California in 1984. Three years and a few local hits later, things collapsed. They returned a decade later with their raw garage sound as frenetic as ever. The Chess Records catalog fits them perfectly and they know it.

“Early Rhythm & Blues had a raw and visceral quality,” the band says in a press release. “The rhythmic elements are primal — you can feel them in your guts. They’re readily absorbed by garage bands who then reinterpret them according to their own life experiences. Without Chess Records, we wouldn’t exist.”

The Morlocks Play Chess contains covers of tunes penned by legends like John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf alongside the Berry and Waters set. Here’s an MP3 of the Morlocks’ roaring take on Diddley’s “I’m a Man.” Below, find out how you can win the full set.

MP3: The Morlocks – I’m a Man (Bo Diddley cover)
[audio: Giveaways/ImaMan.mp3|artists=The Morlocks|Titles=I’m a Man]

Now the important part:
We’ve got two copies of the CD to give away. To enter to win, post your name, email address, and favorite early rock and roll song in the comments section below. The contest ends at midnight on Tuesday, August 31st is closed. Check out the full tracklist below.

The Morlocks Play Chess Tracklist:
01. I’m a Man (Bo Diddley)
02. Help Me (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
03. Killin’ Floor (Howlin’ Wolf)
04. Smokestack Lightning (Howlin’ Wolf)
05. Who Do You Love? (Bo Diddley)
06. Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker)
07. Promised Land (Chuck Berry)
08. Sitting on Top of the World (The Mississippi Sheiks)
09. You Never Can Tell (Chuck Berry)
10. I Feel So Bad (Chuck Willis)
11. You Can’t Sit Down (The Dovells)
12. Back in the U.S.A. (Chuck Berry)

Find more from the Morlocks at their website or MySpace. The Morlocks Play Chess hits stores tomorrow, August 25th.

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  15 Responses to “Giveaway: The Morlocks Cover Chess Records Hits”

Comments (15)
  1. As generic as it sounds, I absolutely love Johnny B. Goode. Decades later, it has power, drive and the heart that really helped get people on the Rock and Roll revolution. Thank you, Chuck Berry!

  2. Surfin bird?

  3. Hm — probably “Strychnine” by the Sonics.

  4. well can we include blues? Because if we can then I will pick “Evil” performed by Howling Wolf and written by Willie Dixon. There is just something haunting about the simple blues delivered with a growl that wouldn’t be matched until Tom Waits. If we are only talking Rock N Roll I will go with “Great Balls of Fire”. The Killer was the first real frantic man of rock and roll and “Great Balls of Fire” is his best performance.

  5. Tough question. Tonight, I’m feeling “Milk Cow Blues” as covered by the Kinks on their 1965 album The Kink Kontroversy. (Hope that’s “early” enough!)

  6. Favorite early rock n roll song: Dirty Water by the Standells. Nothing else even comes close.

  7. I’m not sure what qualifies as “early”, but I’d say “Spirit in the Sky” is one of the greatest classic rock one-hit-wonder tunes of all time. If that’s not old enough, Bill Haley (the first pure rock and roller) did a great one: 13 Women. It’s the precursor to the Beastie Boys’ “Girls.”

  8. Favorite early rock n’ roll song: “Be-Bop-a-Lula” by Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps

  9. I would love to say something by Chuck Berry (who I love and always have) or Jerry Lee Lewis (who I love) or Johnny Burnett and his Rock’n’Roll Trio (I have a Paul Burlison signature on a collection of theirs) but I must be honest and say Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin”.

  10. I’m not sure whether Les Paul & Mary Ford technically count as rock, or if they were an odd guitar-based pop of their day, but if we can count them, I’d say “How High the Moon”.

    If they don’t count, however, I’ll go with the much more obvious choice of “No Particular Place to Go” by Chuck Berry.

  11. One I’ve really enjoyed is Charlie Rich’s “Philadelphia Baby” – the guy was such a great rocker, singer and piano player, long before the pop-country schmaltz hits he’s better known for.

  12. I absolutely LOVE Johnny B. Goode!

  13. Inside – Looking Out by The Animals

  14. I have to go with “Rock Around The Clock.” For me that song started rock and roll. (Rocket 88 is all well and good, though)

  15. “That’s All Right, (Mama)”, and who’da thunk it: Elvis covered this from Arthur Crudup.

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