Rolling Stone ranked “Love and Happiness,” Al Green’s horn-fueled blast of feel-good soul, the 98th best song ever written. On her new cover, though, Madison, WI singer/songwriter/ukulele player Alicia Lemke sounds anything but intimidated. Poppy ukulele rhythms take center stage in what starts delicate and swells to a full-throated rhythm-pop production. She describes the story behind the song:
When I was looking for a cover to do for my EP Imaginary, I decided that tackling a song like Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” had the potential to be incredibly rewarding because of its challenge. Being a female ukuele/guitar player in a completely different genre of music would force me to take the classic R&B hit and rearrange it in a totally unique way. And in fact I struggled with the song for a whole week before any inspiration struck. Very suddenly one morning at 5 am, I awoke, grabbed my ukulele, and (at the expense of my roommates) shed the tune. I arranged it into a 3-minute acoustic version, recorded a scratch track, and that was it – I was sold. It allowed me to tap into a completely different side of my musicianship. So thanks, Al!
Lemke clearly made some changes since then. The sound of a 5 a.m. jam session this ain’t. Check out her version of “Love and Happiness” below.
Alicia Lemke – Love and Happiness (Al Green cover)