Tune du Jour: “All of You Fascists Bound to Lose” – Woody Guthrie
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Bad Movies vs. The Deadly Gentlemen vs. Rude & The Lickshots
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California is a garden of Eden, A paradise to live in or see. But believe it or not, You won't find it so hot, If you ain't got the broccoli

California is a garden of Eden,
A paradise to live in or see.
But believe it or not,
You won’t find it so hot,
If you ain’t got the broccoli

During the spring of 1995, Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora contacted British urban folk troubadour Billy Bragg about writing music for a selection of completed Guthrie lyrics. This was no minor task – Guthrie left behind over a thousand sets of complete lyrics written between 1939 and 1967 that had no music other than a vague stylistic notation. Bragg chose a number of songs to finish, as did Jeff Tweedy of the alt-country band Wilco (often with bandmate Jay Bennett). Nora impressed a common goal upon them: Rather than recreating Guthrie tunes, they should write as if they were collaborating with Woody, creating new, vital music for the lyrics. Both artists completed more songs than could fit on Mermaid Avenue, which is neatly split between Bragg and Wilco, with Bragg taking lead on eight of the 15 songs. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine – AllMusic)

As stated, Bragg and Tweedy completed more songs than they could fit on Mermaid Avenue, released in June 1998 to very favorable reviews and public acceptance. Thus, a sequel, Mermaid Avenue Vol. 2, was released in May 2000. All You Fascists was included on the Vol. 2 release (the title of the song was shortened on the album).

It’s actually odd that All You Fascists was included in the project. Woody not only put music to the lyrics but also released a recording of it on a radio broadcast in 1944. I suspect Bragg just could not help himself from recording his own version.

 

The Original

 

Woody Guthrie with Alan Lomax and Sonny Terry:

Unfortunately a very timely song. Then again, sadly, at what time in history would it not have been? 

 

The Mermaid Avenue Version

 

Billy Bragg & Wilco:

 

THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

 

Bad Movies vs. The Deadly Gentlemen vs. Rude & The Lickshots
Bad Movies:

The Deadly Gentlemen:

Rude & The Lickshots:

SPACE

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. It is your solemn responsibility to decide which cover song prevails. In other words … Which Side Are You On?!!? 

 

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

Comments
  1. Cuspid says:

    I like that all three selections were of very different styles. And they were all pretty well done too. I could have voted for either one. But after hearing Rude & The Lickshots I decided that this song really sounds best in a reggae groove.

  2. Arnold Plotnick says:

    I like that all three selections were of very different styles. And they were all pretty well done too. I could have voted for either one. But after hearing Bad Movies, I decided that this song really sounds best in a twangy rock-n-roll groove.

  3. RDubbs says:

    The Deadly Gentlemen delivered an excellent cover and it is probably closest to what Woody would have produced if still alive, kicking and recording today. I can especially relate to the opening spewage scene. Reminds me of the classic Max von Sydow line from Woody Allan’s Hannah and Her Sisters, “If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

    But musically, the Bad Movies and Rude & The Lickshots threw down some amazing tunage. Different genres, same terrific result. I went back and forth who to give my vote to. I really thought that I was settling on R&TL because the sound is classic. But in the end I had to go with the Bad Movies because their angst-driven version more fit the subject matter.

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