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Friday, 17 February 2023


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Since you mentioned the White Stripes, if any readers are guitar fans and haven't yet checked out the documentary, "It Might Get Loud", do so.

It takes three generations of guitar players, Jimmy Page (no intro needed), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (of the fore mentioned 'Stripes) and just has them meeting up to talk guitar and quiz each other on the sound they produce.

If you play guitar or are just a fan, this doc is a must see.

I'd also like mention the passing last month of guitarist Tom Verlaine of the band, "Television". An unheralded, but influential musician in New York City during the early stages of the punk era.

That's a good cover. I also like Haley Reinhart's cover that is done with Posmodern Jukebox.


Way off topic. When I buy at B&H through your blog, do I have to do anything to be sure you get the credit?

[I don't think so. As long as you go there from one of my links, I think anything you buy within three days is credited to TOP. I'll ask Izzy for an update about that, but I think it's still true.

Oh, and, thank you. --Mike]

Since I know you like jazz, I'd be curious to know what you think of this:


It's mostly not my thing, but there are a few tracks/videos (and it is very video-oriented) that I find surprising and interesting.

Mike, you should tune in KEXP (KEXP.ORG), our Seattle station (the finest station in the known universe!). They spent most of the day yesterday, paying tribute to Trugoy the Dove.


One good turn deserves another... thanks for the recommendations Mike.

I have heard that the De La Soul stuff will soon be available for streaming because they finally worked out all the legal and licensing issues with the samples.

Which makes Trugoy's death even more untimely. Sigh.

Big fan of First Aid Kit. They've done some great covers too. The album version of Paul Simon's America is heart rending, and their YouTube only version of Black Sabbaths War Pigs is a ton of fun.

A few other good (fairly) recent covers I've enjoyed:
London Grammar doing Bittersweet Symphony
Karen O and Willie Nelson doing Under Pressure
Moby and Mindy Jones version of another Bowie song, Heroes

First Aid Kit! It’s worth it to see the performance of their song Emmylou sung live to Emmylou Harris at some ceremony to honor her. On youtube somewhere.

“I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June / If you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too / No, I'm not asking much of you / Just sing little darling, sing with me”

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

Sandy Denny

Harold Peterstorfer

Great bands but little known

Cover Songs: This topic brought to mind a conversation I had with my brothers many years ago about the song “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate”. My brothers only knew the Annie Lennox cover and thought it was the original. After listening to the Lennox version I stated that previously I had only know about the older Pretenders version and that I thought it was the original. After reading this post I looked it up and found the song was written by the Poindexter brothers and first recorded by the Persuaders. I guess a great song can have many nice versions and life can magnify what we choose to believe.

Here is the original 1971? Persuaders rendition from the TV show “Soul Train”. I think I like this versions as much as my “original” Pretenders version.

Thanks for the music links and tips!

I dig covers. For one thing, covers and rearrangements let me enjoy good writing from genres or productions that don't appeal to me. Lissie's cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" https://youtu.be/W2EJai-3k2w for example, or Ryan Adams' cover of Taylor Swift's entire album "1989".

Covers also introduce me to wonderful talent I might otherwise miss because I'm old and out of touch, like the youtube videos Madison Cunningham used to upload weekly https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpaSxDTzVbrKfasbWGUN8ajKy5R8PwTOT

Best of all, covers can liberate music, performer and listener from a kind of objectification and fetishism enabled by recording technology.

And of course covers are platforms for great musicians like the inimitable Jeff Beck. I've been a Beck fan for most of my life, but my current favorite Beck recordings are relatively recent, namely "Live at Ronnie Scott's" and "Rock 'n'Roll Party", the latter nominally a tribute to Les Paul but really an homage to Beck's rockabilly heroes in general. (The fact that Beck was one of the greatest rockabilly guitarists to ever come along is overshadowed by his more incomparable accomplishments on the instrument.)

I realized too late that Jeff Beck is best appreciated live, but I'm grateful for these recordings and videos.

A frequent balm during the pandemic was Scary Pockets, a rotating lineup of LA's best session musicians and guest vocalists playing off-the-cuff funk arrangements of pop hits, and apparently having a blast. https://youtu.be/JZQzAWzSsn4 Clearly I wasn't alone: they now have a million followers on Youtube and they're on tour now.

And speaking of pandemic success stories, here's the delightful LA punk band Linda Lindas covering the song they took their name from, originally by the Japanese punk band Blue Heart https://youtu.be/0wb9A8HO3aQ

Ha! I see John Camp called out Pomplamoose, which was co-founded by Jack Conte, who also co-founded Scary Pockets, a band I mentioned in another comment (I believe the latter is actually something of a spin-off of the former).

Turns out Jack is also co-founder of Patreon, and the band Magazine.

Bravo, Jack!

Re. First Aid Kit: I first heard & saw them, without knowing who they were, in a video for the Anna Ternheim song Summer Rain back in 2008. (Anna Ternheim is also Swedish and is criminally unknown outside Europe. Her album The Night Visitor, recorded in Nashville in 2011, is just superb and her other albums come close.) The sisters are very young in the video. It's available on YouTube.

A better version- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyZD7eoHZT8&ab_channel=donaldlunstad

Here's Yet Another Seven Nations cover, funk style by Scary Pockets with an incredibly talented Elise Trouw:


On the topic of covers, try:
I certainly consider them entertaining - often taking things to a diametrically opposite musical style - although, and it might be the way I’m consuming them (ie via YouTube) or that my preference in music is often closer to the original than the cover, I’m not sure I’d consider them most of them as ‘great’ covers but she is certainly talented and imaginative.

My list of ‘great’ covers includes Eric Clapton’s unplugged cover of the Derick & the Domino’s hit “Layla” (yes, I know), it took something raw and made it mellow. Similarly the Disturbed cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “sound of silence”, changing something light and jolly into a darker and angrier sound. There is certainly a trick in taking an old song and making it new and meaningful to the current time.

Then of course there are song attributed ‘traditional’, which everyone has a go at - now my head is a jumble of versions of “Whisky in the Jar”, everything from the Dubliner’s to Metallica, not forgetting the classic by Thin Lizzy.

My introduction to First Aid Kit was through their cover of R.E.M.'s "Walk Unafraid" playing over the closing titles of the 2014 Reese Witherspoon movie "Wild", based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir of the same title (an inspiring read, BTW). I immediately looked them up when the music credits rolled. Others have already mentioned their fabulous original composition "Emmylou".

And I'll second Albert Smith's recommendation for "It Might Get Loud" - three guitarists from three generations with three different approaches to the instrument. I found the segments regarding Jack White particularly interesting.

Wow, “Earthquake” is a jam. I just bought it, thanks.

Lucky enough to see him here in 2015. Simply amazing musician.

I love a great re-imagining cover.

Mike, if you like Zella Day's cover of SNA, you might really like Cat Power's cover of the Rolling Stones' (Can't Get No) Satisfaction, which she pulls off with heartbreak and soul, and without a chorus.


Hi Mike,
Coming in a tad late.
Another dark cover - Gary Jules doing Mad World by Tears For Fears

For something a bit different - Aussie rock royalty from the 90’s & 00’s - Powderfinger. These Days was a big breakthrough for them.
It also featured in the soundtrack to the Aussie movie Two Hands, which helped launch the career of the late Heath Ledger.

The lead singer Bernard Fanning went on to a solo career that is less rock, first album was Tea & Sympathy.

Hopefully this adds to the playlist pool.

How can I forget - Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails - Hurt.
Some interesting reads online about how NIN responded when they heard his cover.

I believe that Alpa are still in existence, albeit that they arguably do not make complete cameras.

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