The annual “The Music Of” tribute extravaganzas at Carnegie Hall are a fount of interesting covers and artist pairings. (Archival footage is often scarce, but by way of some surprising on-paper examples: Todd Rundgren covering Aretha Franklin; Cee-lo Green covering Talking Heads; Elvis Costello playing Prince… the list goes on.) Many of the illustrious performers who’ve been involved in the series’ 20 years of live shows have just appeared once, but Patti Smith—long one of New York City’s most legendary “local” artists—has been game enough to stop by Carnegie for seven appearances with the series. She may be the most consistent through-line this series has had, in fact, covering Bob Dylan in 2006; R.E.M. in 2009; The Who in 2010; Neil Young in 2011; Bowie in 2016; Van Morrison in 2019. Last week, she came by the Carnegie Hall stage for one more appearance paying tribute in this year’s installment to Paul McCartney with a cover of The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home.” Continue reading »
Rarely Covered looks at who’s mining the darkest, dustiest corners of iconic catalogs.
So it’s early 1963 and you’re a British pop act in need of a new hit record. Maybe you’ve recorded a Goffin and King number already, and you’ve noted that the Shadows and their guitar instrumentals are on the wane. Maybe you want to tap into the new craze for beat music sweeping the ballrooms, clubs, and town halls of the nation, that melodic hybrid of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and skiffle. Or maybe you’re established in a beat group and just want to keep serving up those driving rhythms the best way you can.
So what do you do? Well, you might cover a song by a besuited Liverpool fourpiece enjoying huge chart success and popularity off the back of a distinctive self-penned number called “Please Please Me.” Especially if the guy who manages them, Brian Epstein, also manages you, and/or you’re traveling up and down the country with them on a tour bus. You can keep your hands off “I Saw Her Standing There,” though. That’s promised to someone.
Jump to early 2023, and, assuming you did make a deal with the Liverpool group, you’ve made history as one of the first artists ever to have covered the Beatles. Before “I Want To Hold Your Hand” happened, and before the big guns like Joe Cocker got involved, along with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and, of course, Alvin and the Chipmunks. The fact is you’ve covered a song that only about 23 other artists have ever covered, as opposed to, say, 573. Plus you did it in the historic initial year of Beatlemania!
Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays the Beatles is a live album of (almost entirely) Beatles covers performed on solo piano. The pianist is Amsterdam-based American jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, who we last saw here at Cover Me recording an album with Chris Thile. Melhdau isn’t reinventing the wheel with any of these performances, but they are fun and clearly labors of love. Continue reading »
Bob Dylan – I Can’t Seem to Say Goodbye (Jerry Lee Lewis cover)
Bob Dylan doesn’t change his setlists much anymore. In fact, on his recent UK and European tour, he played the exact same setlist every single night…except one. The day it was announced Jerry Lee Lewis passed away, Dylan returned to the stage after his usual finale “Every Grain of Sand.” As anyone who’s read his new book knows, Bob knows his music history. So he skipped the obvious picks and tackled the quite obscure Sun Records-era outtake “I Can’t Seem to Say Goodbye.” Continue reading »
Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
After watching all eight hours of Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary, and another three hours of interviews with Jackson about the making of Get Back I had to put on A Hard Day’s Night to restore balance. I had to get back to a time when John Lennon was firing on all creative cylinders and Paul McCartney was slacking.
In early-to-mid 1964, Lennon was engaged, prolific, and self-confident enough that the Beatles finally released a full album with all original material: AHDN. No covers! All 13 tracks are Lennon–McCartney compositions, officially, but 10 of them are really Lennon’s. And they are all good to really good Lennon songs, too, except for the ones that are great, like “If I Fell” and the title track.
If McCartney’s contributions were few in number, two of them loom large in the catalog: “Can’t Buy Me Love” became the album’s first #1 single, while his ballad “And I Love Her” stands with McCartney’s best songs of any period. Mostly, though, Paul was not quite finding his stride in ‘64, much like John in the Get Back period.
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Is there a more evocative term than sibling harmony? And we are here talking about singing, rather than the standard well-rehearsed tales of dysfunctional derring-do betwixt embattled brothers, that usually renders the phrase, at best, ironic. No, this is that sweet spot, blood on blood, wherein the gene pool confers a mystic closeness between voices: think Everly, Louvin, McGarrigle. There are a lot, many falling loosely into country genres.
As do these guys, Adam and David Moss, who go a step further and are identical twins. Illinois natives, they grew up with their Dad’s record collection, singing along and honing the precision between their voices. Sure, Don and Phil figured large in that collection, it not long before comparisons were being made. With a couple of well-received albums and an EP under their belts, and tours supporting the likes of Sarah Jarosz, now seemed as good as any to drop a slew of covers (well, two months ago, actually – apologies for the delay).
A quick glance at the list of song might raise slight concern; do we really need yet another “These Days,” for one? Well, you know, maybe we do. Really. Let’s investigate.
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