Cover Genres takes a look at cover songs in a very specific musical style.
Back in 2022, right here on Cover Me, I wrote a confessional essay titled Soul In The Middle Of The Road. It was all about my weird, scarily specific obsession with R&B covers of soft rock songs from the ’70s and early ’80s that were recorded during that same era. Well, here’s where I confess to you that it wasn’t quite the whole story. My affliction actually runs a bit deeper than I first described. In addition to my soft-soul craving, I have a side obsession with R&B covers of classic, dirty, Dad-approved late ’60s ‘n’ ’70s-era ROCK songs recorded during those same years. Yes, you guessed it: it’s sequel time! Welcome to
Exorcist II: The Heretic The Rock Of Soul, an over-the-top sister piece to that original essay.
Before we start, I need to lay out a particular parameter regarding the songs included in this love letter/essay. There are multitudes of fine soul-ified covers of songs by Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles. Everyone from Aretha to Stevie Wonder to Otis Redding has recorded something from at least one of their songbooks, as have a myriad of incredible others.
We’re not gonna talk about those.
Instead, we’re gonna be adventurous mofos. The fact is, at this stage of humanity, none of us need to hear another cover of “Let It Be,” good, bad, or otherwise (don’t freakin’ pretend like you do). Besides, it’s way more fun to look past the well-trod songbooks of rock’s behemoths and dig a little deeper. All of which is to say, we’re gonna get weird and occasionally obscure here. In a few cases, you may not be familiar with the originals. I know I wasn’t when I first heard several of these covers. So as an added bonus, I’m going to include links to some of the lesser-known tracks just so you can check them out and potentially be even more blown away by the reinterpretations (Hope says hopefully).
Okay, are you ready to hear some fine, old-school late ’60s and ’70s FM radio nuggets by wonderfully sludgy stalwarts/stallions/stadium stalkers like Cream, Free, and Mr. Springsteen get transformed into mighty ‘n’ righteous clouds of joy (and shimmery beautiful tears)? Then let’s get crackin’ (chronologically).