Back in May 2021, Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter organized a tribute to his late bandmate Adam Schlesinger. Adam Schlesinger, A Music Celebration featured, among many others, Courtney Love, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, Sean Ono Lennon, and a reunion of Schlesinger’s supergroup Tinted Windows. At the time, it was a paid livestream to raise money for musician charity MusiCares and then-closed NYC venue Bowery Electric, but now the full thing is up on YouTube. It’s a tribute to the depth of Schlesinger’s catalog that it’s two hours long and no one even covered “Stacy’s Mom”!
David Berman was never a household name, but it’s a measure of how deeply other musicians revere him that only two months after his passing he’s garnered not one but two complete new tribute albums. That’s over 50 new Silver Jews and Purple Mountains covers.
Al Green – Before the Next Teardrop Falls (Freddy Fender cover)
Sorry, Beyoncé; the biggest surprise release of the year might be Al Green’s sudden return after a decade away. Well, not totally away; he still conducts weekly services at his Memphis church and, when I attended, was liberally sprinkling quotes from “Love and Happiness” and “Take Me to the River” into his sermons. Best of all: This Freddy Fender cover sounds like Al hasn’t lost a step. It’s apparently a one-off, but hopefully recording it will whet his appetite to do more.
“Covering the Hits” looks at covers of a randomly-selected #1 hit from the past sixty years.
“Hey Paula” is the sort of song that cries out for a good cover. It’s a tight, catchy slice of bubblegum pop, but one almost unlistenable today in its original 1963 recording by Paul & Paula (though it was clearly very listenable then – it wouldn’t be in this feature if it hadn’t topped the charts). More power to anyone nostalgic to the original release, but I have a hard time imagining this inspiring any new Paul & Paula fans today. I have a stronger tolerance for treacle than some, but this is well over my limit:
“Ceremony” is known in most music fans knowledge as the song that bridged Joy Division’s transition to New Order following the death of the former’s frontman. As one of the last songs Ian Curtis wrote, there are recordings of Joy Division performing it but there is sadly not a fully realised studio version out there.
Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.
• Last year, ex-Luna bandmates Dean & Britta released 13 Most Beautiful…Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. It featured songs inspired by the Factory scene and a cover of Nico’s “I’ll Keep It with Mine” (itself a Bob Dylan cover). Now there’s a slightly more fleshed-out remix circulating, drawing more attention to a beautiful disc that flew under the radar.
MP3: Dean & Britta – I’ll Keep It with Mine (Scott Hardkiss Remix) (Bob Dylan cover)