Back in college, I was in our local bar for “Acoustic Tuesday” and a guy came up on stage and played “Baby One More Time” on an acoustic guitar, as seriously as possible. I loved it but everyone around me rolled their eyes and there were even a few boos. Maybe some had heard something like this before. Maybe it seemed to obvious, to easy, or just too gimmicky.
That’s the danger with the serious acoustic guitar (or piano) cover of the goofy song everyone knows: people will likely dismiss it as a gimmick. YouTube has popularized this form in the decades since I was in college, but I still think there are plenty of people who just don’t like the idea and think these types of covers are cheap.
So there is danger is covering Will Smith’s theme song to ‘90s classic sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with an acoustic guitar, entirely seriously. But The Goudies are up to it, particularly since they treat it like a classic folk dirge along the lines of “Long Black Veil.”
Sam Goudie’s voice is plaintive and a little old timey. Beth Goudie’s voice is ethereal in that classic folk sense. They sing the lyrics, so there’s a new vocal melody and the phrasing is almost entirely different. In this version, the lyrics convey a loss; leaving one place and becoming “king” somewhere else doesn’t sound so great. Their guitars evoke a classic folk ballad, even when there’s the solo (which is very modest).