Archive for February, 2015

Tune du Jour: “Ghost Town” – The Specials
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Desorden Publico vs. Elvis Costello and The Roots
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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1981 and England could not look more bleak. Excessive inflation, spiraling unemployment, urban decay, racial tension, Margaret Thatcher, endless recession, distrust of the police, disdain for the government and a pervasive all-encompassing perception of despair, especially among the youth.

"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

It was behind this backdrop that The Specials released the single Ghost Town. England had been suffering through an economic plunge for quite some time. During their 1980 tour of the UK, The Specials witnessed cities with endless streets of boarded-up former businesses, people on street corners selling household wares for food and a growing frequency of racially motivated fights on the dance floor.

As Jo-Ann Greene of AllMusic put it, “No song better captured the mood of the day than this June, 1981 single…The image it offers is one of pure desolation and utter barrenness, the empty streets whipped by deadly breezes, while ghostly images momentarily shimmer brightly, cruel reminders of happier days before the holocaust struck.”

Ghost Town rose quickly to number one of the UK Singles Chart and remained there for three weeks.  It spent a total of ten weeks in the Top 40. Ghost Town was named “Single of the Year” in Melody Maker, NME and Sounds, the UK’s top three weekly music magazines at the time. AllMusic’s review of the original single argued that the song was the band’s “crowning achievement”.

Ghost Town also served as somewhat of a harbinger of doom. In April 1981 the Brixton district of London erupted into two days of serious rioting with reports suggesting that up to 5,000 people were involved. Beginning in July 1981, while Ghost Town was at or near the top of the charts, major riots broke out in over 35 locations around the UK.

Ghost Town was also the last recording that The Specials would produce. During their 1980 tour, tensions ran high among members of the band. Soon after releasing Ghost Town, as cities across the UK burned, The Specials likewise disintegrated.

The Original

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The Specials:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Desorden Publico vs. Elvis Costello & The Roots with La Marisoul

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Desorden Publico:

Pueblo Fantasma (Ghost Town):

Elvis Costello & The Roots with La Marisoul:

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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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

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

Tune du Jour: “Anarchy in the U.K.” – Sex Pistols
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Barnyard Fury vs. Skandalous All-Stars
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Everybody's Dressin' Funny ... Cover Me Impressed!

I Am An Antichrist! I Am A Broccoli Head!

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Ah, those were the days! When Mohawks, earrings, Dr. Martens and mosh pits were the domain of crazed, disenfranchised, young social deviants. Just how the Young-Republican suburbanite set managed to expropriate that phenomena I’ll never know. Although, sooner or later that crowd always plunders whatever it can from the commonality. But I digress…

Anarchy in the U.K. was the Sex Pistols debut single, released on November 26, 1976. It later appeared on the Sex Pistols first and, for all intent and purposes, only album Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols. Anarchy in the U.K. reached number 38 on the UK Singles Chart before their record label, EMI, pulled the record and dropped the band for its lewd behavior and notorious exploits. Reflecting on the record company’s decision, lead singer Johnny Rotten delivered this classic quote: “I don’t understand it. All we’re trying to do is destroy everything.”

In 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine named Anarchy in the U.K. number 56 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all Time. According to Rolling Stone, “This is what the beginning of a revolution sounds like: an explosion of punk-rock guitar noise and Johnny Rotten’s evil cackle.” 

The Original

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Sex Pistols:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Barnyard Fury vs. Skandalous All-Stars

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Barnyard Fury:

Barnyard Fury is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Uni Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold yellow!

Barnyard Fury’s triumph in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competition is detailed below:

11/5/2013 – “I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In” (Kenny Rogers & The First Edition) – Barnyard Fury (86%) pummel Mojo Nixon & The Second Edition (14%)

Skandalous All-Stars:

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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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

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

Tune du Jour: “Swingin’ Party” – The Replacements
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Bright Little Field vs. Lorde
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Everybody's Dressin' Funny ... Cover Me Impressed!

Let Me Be Your Ruler, Ruler, You Can Eat My Broccoli, And Baby I’ll Rule, Let Me Live That Fantasy…

As the Academy Awards’ after-parties emphatically confirmed, the most discussed and heatedly debated topic in today’s entertainment industry has got to be, ‘When Will Lorde Debut on Cover Me Impressed?’. Well, my uber-connected friends, I’m afraid you’ll have to conjure up new fodder to ponder over cocktails. Today, Lorde takes the plunge, setting her sights on Bright Little Field’s reigning cover of The Replacements’ Swingin’ Party.

So what took so long for Lorde’s much anticipated entree to CMI? Well it would have come sooner but I got detained. (Sorry, forgot to take out the trash…ba-dum-bum!).

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The Original

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The Replacements:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Bright Little Field vs. Lorde
Bright Little Field:

Bright Little Field holds the distinction of being CMI’s Reigning Exultant Virtuosic Performer of “Swingin’ Party”. Additionally, Bright Little Field is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Bi Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold orange!

Bright Little Field’s triumphal exploits in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competitions are detailed below:

1/9/2014 – “Treatment Bound” (The Replacements) – Bright Little Field (100%) shellack Asylum Street Spankers (0%)

10/16/2013 – “Swingin’ Party” (The Replacements) – Bright Little Field (75%) wallop Popland (25%)

And, as if the aforementioned accolades are not enough, Bright Little Field also holds the distinction of being the only ukulele band to do a tribute album to The Replacements!!!

Lorde:

The young upstart’s sullen interpretation:

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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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

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

Tune du Jour: “We People Who Are Darker Than Blue” – Curtis Mayfield
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Lloyd Chalmers vs. Sinead O’Connor
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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So Where Are the Strong, And Who Are the Trusted, And Where is the Broccoli, Sweet Broccoli!

So Where Are the Strong, And Who Are the Trusted, And Where is the Broccoli, Sweet Broccoli!

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I have to admit, before this weekend I had never heard this song, We People Who Are Darker Than Blue. I was taking in some reggae covers when I heard Lloyd Chalmer’s rendition. I looked up Curtis Mayfield’s original version and discovered one outstanding song! Sheesh, where have I been?!!?

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The Original

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Curtis Mayfield:

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And an excellent live version:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Lloyd Chalmers vs. Sinead O’Connor

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Lloyd Chalmers:

Sinead O’Connor:

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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

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

Tune du Jour: “Town Called Malice” – The Jam
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Adjusters vs. Okano Kaori
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Everybody's Dressin' Funny ... Cover Me Impressed!

Everybody’s Dressin’ Funny … Cover Me Impressed!

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Homage or Theft? Paul Weller’s love affair with old school Rhythm & Blues, Soul and Motown have been on display throughout his career, possibly never more than on The Jam’s rollicking, catchy number, Town Called Malice. The song kicks off with the classic bass line that Motown’s legendary session artist, James Jamerson, composed for You Can’t Hurry Love and maintains a similar melding of soul and pop that the great songs from  the golden age of Motown pulled off so well.

Town Called Malice appeared on The Jam’s sixth album, The Gift. Released as a single in January 1982, Town Called Malice entered the chart at number one on the British music charts and remained there for three weeks. It was the Jam’s third number-one single in the UK and the band’s sole entry onto any American chart hitting No. 31 on Mainstream Rock Tracks.

The Original

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The Jam:

THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Adjusters vs. Okano Kaori

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The Adjusters:

Okano Kaori:

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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

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

Tune du Jour: “Forever Young” – Bob Dylan
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Neil Young & the Grateful Dead vs. Soweto Gospel Choir
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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"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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Forever Young is one of Bob Dylan’s most beautiful songs. The song expresses Dylan’s hopes and dreams for his children as they progress through childhood. Forever Young is a frequently covered song with the majority of artists attempting in futility to maintain the spiritual poignancy that Dylan achieved.

Forever Young first appeared on Dylan’s album Planet Waves, which was released in 1974. Two versions of the song were included on the album, a slow and fast version. For what it’s worth, I think the slow version is so vastly superior to the fast one that I question why it was even included on the album; the fast version should have been an outtake, packed away for a future rarities release. Forever Young is just one example of the magic Bob Dylan and The Band routinely conjured up. It only solidifies the excellence and expertise of one of the more underrated bands of our time, The Band.

Forever Young is also noteworthy for one of those surreal moments when time just seems to awkwardly stand still. Of course I’m referring to Howard Cosell’s inane recitation of its lyrics when Muhammad Ali outlasted Leon Spinks to win the heavyweight title for an unprecedented third time.

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Planet Waves: Slow Version

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Bob Dylan and The Band:

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Planet Waves: Fast Version

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Bob Dylan and The Band:

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The Last Waltz: Simply Outstanding Live Version

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Bob Dylan and The Band:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Soweto Gospel Choir vs. Neil Young & the Grateful Dead
Soweto Gospel Choir:

Neil Young & the Grateful Dead:

Neil Young is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Bi Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold orange!

Young’s triumphal exploits in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competitions are detailed below:

10/18/2013 – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” (Bob Dylan) – Neil Young with Booker T & The MGs (100%) throttle Robyn Hitchcock (00%)

9/27/2013 – “Imagine” (John Lennon) – Neil Young (84%) wallops David Bowie (16%)

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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day of the original post.

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

Tune du Jour: “My Girl” – Madness
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Skanker vs. Tracy Ullman
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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And In My Hour of Need, I Truly Am Indeed, Alone Again, Broccoli ...

And In My Hour of Need,
I Truly Am Indeed,
Alone Again, Broccoli …

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One of my favorites from Madness. My Girl appeared on their first album, One Step Beyond, which became a standard of the British ska revivalist movement. When My Girl was spun- off as a single in December, 1979, it reached Number Three in the U.K. charts

 

The Original

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Madness:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Skanker vs. Tracy Ullman

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Skanker:

Tracy Ullman:

Is there anything Tracy Ullman cannot do? Probably, I guess, right?

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?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

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