Archive for December, 2013

Broccoli For Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles ... Oh Yeah!

Broccoli For Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles And Miles … Oh Yeah!

Love of the Common People was written and composed by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins and eventually released in 1970 on Hurley’s album John Hurley Sings about People. However, its first release was in 1967 when The Four Preps covered the song. In 1982 Paul Young released what was to become the most popular version of Love of the Common People, reaching No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. The prior year Stiff Little Fingers had covered the song on their album Now Then. Jake Burns of SLF recalled this amusing anecdote pertaining to the song. Paul Young met SLF at one of their concerts in support of the album Now Then. Young asked Burns whether SLF were planning to release the song as a single. When Burns told them they weren’t, Young asked if they minded him releasing it as a single. They said he could, not thinking the single would do well. Years later Burns jokingly recalled his feelings at the time: “Pfft! Go ahead. You’ll never get anywhere with that, mate. Yeah, number 2, that’ll teach me!”

The Original

The Four Preps (1967):

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CMI’s Millenial Most Distinguished Name Award

The Winstons (1969):

In researching this song I came across a few individuals who felt The Winstons’ cover was the best overall version.

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The Most Popular

Paul Young (1982):

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The Cover Songs Competition

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Battle of a couple of heavyweights …

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Bruce Springsteen & The Sessions Band vs. Stiff Little Fingers

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Bruce Springsteen & The Sessions Band (2007):

Stiff Little Fingers (1982):

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Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

Broccoli Fields Forever ...

Broccoli Fields Forever …

I am an unabashed fan of this movie and song. I still get misty-eyed at the end. Sidney Poitier is fantastic, as is the rest of the cast, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better movie theme song. Truly phenomenal and enduring …

The Original

Lulu:

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The Cover Songs Competition

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This is probably not a fair fight with Lulu doing partial vocals on one of the covers but as I have to constantly remind my ten-year-old … life is not always fair.

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Lulu & Soul Asylum vs. Melky Sedeck

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Lulu & Soul Asylum:

Melky Sedeck:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd

Ol’ 55 is one of Waits’ early masterpieces. Typical of his early work the delivery, imagery and rhythm of Ol’ 55 conjure up a scene as real as any you’ve actually experienced. This period of Waits’ work is akin to reading classic Bukowski, peering into the underbelly of society and, for that period of time, feeling as if you’re right alongside the protagonist, eager to continue observing, without actually having to experience the highs and lows of a unique and bizarre, yet somehow endearing, subculture that resides somewhere on the other side of town …

The Original

Tom Waits:

Ask yourself this: How many musicians can work the words “lickety-splitly” into a flawless number?

Wait’s original, stripped down version, which I think I like best.

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The more polished version that opened Tom’s debut album (i.e. Closing Time):

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The Most Popular

The Eagles:

The Eagles’ uninspiring, vanilla rendition of Ol’ 55 was sadly the song’s most popular version. In Wait’s words he was “not that particularly crazy about [the Eagles’] rendition of it … I thought their version was a little antiseptic.” Waits was being kind …

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The Cover Songs Competition

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Dave Alvin vs. Sarah McLachlan

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Dave Alvin:

Sarah McLachlan:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

The world lost a great one today …

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013)

In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesburg’s youth wing of the ANC. In 1952, he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid–South Africa’s institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Nelson helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government.

In 1961, he was arrested for treason, and although acquitted he was arrested again in 1962 for illegally leaving the country. Convicted and sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial again in 1964 on charges of sabotage. In June 1964, he was convicted along with several other ANC leaders and sentenced to life in prison.

Mandela spent the first 18 of his 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben Island Prison. Confined to a small cell without a bed or plumbing, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He could write and receive a letter once every six months, and once a year he was allowed to meet with a visitor for 30 minutes. However, Mandela’s resolve remained unbroken, and while remaining the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement, he led a movement of civil disobedience at the prison that coerced South African officials into drastically improving conditions on Robben Island. He was later moved to another location, where he lived under house arrest.

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk became South African president and set about dismantling apartheid. De Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and in February 1990 ordered the release of Nelson Mandela.

Mandela subsequently led the ANC in its negotiations with the minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One year later, the ANC won an electoral majority in the country’s first free elections, and Mandela was elected South Africa’s president.

* Above extracted from History.com (A&E Television Networks, LLC)

During a radio interview in 1985 President Ronald Reagan offered this stupefying, ridiculous defense of apartheid in South Africa: “They have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country — the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated — that has all been eliminated.” Ron, never ever stray from the script … As former President Jimmy Carter once aptly observed: “President Reagan doesn’t always check the facts before he makes statements, and the press accepts this as kind of amusing.”

 On a lighter note Billy Bragg had a great quote regarding Nelson Mandela. During one of his concerts I attended in the 1980’s someone, probably/hopefully in jest, yelled “Free Bird!” Without missing a beat Bragg smiled and said, “You always know you’re in the States when, invariably, someone yells ‘Free Bird’ … everywhere else in the world that I play people yell ‘Free Mandela’”.

A Few of My Favorite Nelson Mandela Quotes

 “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

“Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

“In my country we go to prison first and then become President.” (What a classic!)

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

“Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”

“Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.”

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“Free Nelson Mandela” – The Special A.K.A.

I was surprised and discouraged that this great song was never formerly covered by any musician or band that I could find. However, there are some great versions from special events. Here is the best of what I could find:

Studio Rehearsal (1984):

Free Nelson Mandela was apparently written to be played live on a television show. Here is a rehearsal for the show:

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Studio Release (1984):

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Live on the Tube (1984):

 Along with The Special A.K.A this version features Elvis Costello, Dave Wakeling, Dick Cuthell, Ranking Roger and others … This is simply a phenomenal version!

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Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, London, 1988:

Jerry Dammers & Friends

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Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert Celebration at Hyde Park, London, 2008:

Jivan Gasparyan, Razorlight, Into the Hoods, Sipho Mabuse, Soweto Gospel Choir, Leona Lewis, Zucchero, Susannah Owiyo and D’Gary, Sugababes, Will Smith, Annie Lennox, Agape choir, Emmanuel Jal, Jamelia, Loyiso, Vusi Mahlasela, Johnny Clegg, Joan Baez, Eddy Grant, Kurt Darren, Simple Minds, Brian May and Andrea Corr, Amy Winehouse, 9ice, Bebe Cool, Josh Groban, Amaral, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Jerry Dammers and at least 17 representatives from each country in the world.

Geez Louise, is there any reason I wasn’t invited on stage?!!? I mean, damn, my voice would have surely been drowned out by the couple of hundred other revelers up there.

Lamentably, for some faulty reason, Amy Winehouse was given the lead role on the song and, in my opinion, performed abysmally. It is a testament to the greatness of the song and other musicians that not even Amy’s lackluster lead vocals could keep this anthem from soaring. Of course, by this show Nelson Mandela had finally been freed, which provided a real reason for celebration.

Broccoli Fields Forever ...

Broccoli Fields Forever …

In deference to the recent anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy I chose the greatest song John Lennon ever penned to launch Cover Me Impressed. Needless to say it is beyond disheartening that 42 years after this brilliant plea for peace was introduced it is as pertinent today as the day it was written.

The Original

Bob Marley:

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The Cover Songs Competition

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Can the steel drum conquer the mighty Pogues?

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Bob Lyons vs. The Pogues

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Bob Lyons:

The Pogues:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd

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By far Stephen Stills’ greatest accomplishment. Come to think of it, probably Stills’ only real accomplishment. But at least it was a really good one …

The Original

Buffalo Springfield:

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The Cover Songs Competition

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Marc Carroll vs. Girl In A Coma

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Marc Carroll:

Interesting piano piece, hauntingly riffing “After The Gold Rush” in the background of the song.

Girl In A Coma:

For a girl supposedly in a coma, Nina Diaz can sure belt out a tune and kick out the jams!

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

Broccoli Fields Forever ...

Broccoli Fields Forever …

The Textones released Vacation in 1980. Their guitarist, Kathy Valentine, later joined The Go-Go’s who covered the song in 1982. Vaction was one of The Go-Go’s highest charting singles, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. But undoubtedly the song’s most prestigious accolade is the distinction of being released as the first known cassette single or “cassingle” as trademarked by I.R.S Records.

The Original

The Textones:

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The Most Popular

The Go-Go’s:

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The Cover Songs Competition

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Johnny Aloha vs. MU330

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Johnny Aloha:

MU330:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.

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Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.