Curtis Zimmermann

Curtis Zimmermann works as an advertising sales executive for an academic publisher in Philadelphia. He’s been a music critic, news reporter, financial fraud investigator and spent many years in corporate sales, all the while maintaining a healthy obsession with music history. He first became intrigued with genre-bending covers in college when he stumbled across a used copy of Ray Charles’ box set “The Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959 - 1986.”

Jan 112021
 
jon batiste covers the impressions

Curtis Mayfield has adorned the walls of many college dorm rooms, record shops and hipster apartments thanks to his work on the soundtrack to the 1972 blaxploitation film Super Fly. Mayfield’s name and photo appear on the iconic poster just underneath the image of the Youngblood Priest – the dope dealer looking to go straight.

On Christmas Day, Mayfield’s music was heard in a different sort of film. A new cover of the 1963 hit “It’s All Right,” which Mayfield recorded with his group The Impressions, played during the closing credits of the Disney/Pixar film Soul. The film tells the story of Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher who embarks on a journey through the afterlife after scoring his dream job as a jazz musician. The song was covered by Jon Batiste who is best known as the band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

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Nov 242020
 
george benson the ghetto

These days George Benson is primarily remembered for his soft-soul hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Two of these songs — “Give Me the Night” and “Turn Your Love Around” — have ended up on Yacht Rock playlists in recent years. But there are multiple chapters to Benson’s career. The singer/songwriter and virtuoso guitarist’s debut album came out in early 1964, just a few months after the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. In addition to his many solo records, he has played with the likes of Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Continue reading »

Nov 042020
 

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

What a Fool Believes covers

Artists are eligible for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after their first release. For the Doobie Brothers, who formed in 1970, it took nearly twice as long. Perhaps that’s because they have had twice as many members as most of the other inductees.

The band became hit makers in the early ‘70s: playing a hybrid of hard rock, country-rock, and blues, mixed with well-manicured harmonies. The Doobies’ sound took a 180-degree turn in 1975 when a young soul singer named Michael McDonald was tapped to fill in for the band’s ailing frontman Tom Johnston. Eventually, Johnston left, and McDonald pushed the band into blue-eyed soul territory.

In 1978, the collective recorded and released its eighth studio album Minute by Minute. With its synth-driven pop sounds, the album was a distinct departure from their earlier music. Before it hit the shelves, the band was certain they had a flop. As McDonald recalled in an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music: “I remember playing that album for a friend of mine and said, ‘Well, what do you think’? And he goes, ‘It’s a piece of shit. It sucks.’ And I remember thinking, ‘I think he’s right.’”

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Oct 272020
 
struts kiss cover

As with many bands, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the Struts’ 2020 musical plans. They had originally intended to record an EP this year, but with all touring activities cancelled, the British rockers instead released a full album entitled Strange Days. On the album, the group included a cover of the Kiss deep cut “Do You Love Me.” At a time when the normal excesses of the rock n’ roll lifestyle have been curtailed, it comes across as a work of downright nostalgia for an era whose time has passed.

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Oct 192020
 
tennis superstar carpenters

Tennis, the husband and wife duo of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, pay tribute to Karen Carpenter with a cover of the Carpenters’ ode to shacking up with itinerant musicians, “Superstar.” The pair reworked “Superstar” as a slow-moving synthesizer-driven track. Moore’s vocals are mixed with a heavy amount of echo, giving it the feel of a ‘70s disco ballad, like a lost deep cut from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

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