Monday, May 04, 2009

Cool Covers

Over at Prawfsblawgs (of all places), Marc rips of an impressive list of favorite cover songs. My attention was drawn to a link of a Peter Gabriel cover of a Vampire Weekend tune that references PG, which is sort of neat.

I've got several cool and obscure covers in my collection. Two that immediately spring to mind were recorded for tribute albums but didn't make it on, for various reasons. One is echolyn's rocking version of the first album Genesis tune "When the Sour Turns to Sweet," which Sony (to whom the band belonged at the time) wouldn't let onto the Magna Carta Genesis tribute. The other is Kevin Gilbert's reworking of "Kashmir" (an even better version resides on the Live at the Troubadour album), which didn't make it onto the big label Zeppelin tribute.

Bela Fleck has a penchant for Beatles covers. Bruce Hornsby works a lot of covers into his live shows, from old Bill Evans standards to Dylan and Dead tunes to a sweet version of "Comfortably Numb" with his own "Fortunate Son." Then there's the bluegrass version of "Super Freak" he did with Ricky Skaggs.

But the best cover in my collection is a Zappa one, because it comes with a good back story. During a concert in Helsinki, Finland in 1974 (memorialized on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2), Frank solicited requests and someone called out for the Allman Brothers's classic "Whippin' Post." The band didn't know the tune (Frank asks the guy to hum a few bars, but he can't, to which Frank responds "it must be a John Cage piece") and ripped off into "Montana," instead. Several years after the fact, Frank made due on that request:

Not as killer as the 1988 band's version of "Stairway to Heaven," but still pretty cool.

1 comment:

Paul Higginbotham said...

Cool post. I've been a cover aficionado for years.

Zappa's version of "Whipping Post" is so good and full of energy that the original sounds old and tired now. I can't even listen to the original anymore.

Some other favorite covers of mine are The Who's "The Real Me" by WASP (I know), The Commodores' "Brick House" by Rob Zombie, and Cat Steven's "Wild World" by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.