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Archive for April, 2010

Real Genius

Friday, April 30th, 2010
‘Stepping in a rhythm to a Kurtis Blow…’
Ok so you’ve been punished enough this week with obscurities, how about a spot of 80s electro-pop for a bit of weekend relief? Here’s Genius of Love by Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz’s surprise hit side project when David Byrne was too busy puttering about with Brian Eno (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
We got two versions from new electro-funk up and comers (and ex-Fuzz Against Junk I might add!) Yam Who? and widening the waistband of what constitutes a cover around here, two old school hip hop numbers based around the Genius’ backing track from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Mr. Yellow (AKA Yella!!).


Yam Who? – Genius Of Love (Uptown Version)
Yam Who? – Genius Of Love (Downtown Version)
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – It’s Nasty (Genius Of Love)
Mr. Yellow – Yella


In The Land of Mud And Honey

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Beware Grandpa rant ahead…
Y’know there was a brief sliver of time, at the crack of the 90s, when ‘grunge’ didn’t refer to Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Hole or even Matt Dillon in a beanie. When me and my friends were flannel and Doc wearing little hoodlums, that word was reserved soley for noise merchants by the likes of Tad, Steel Pole Bathtub, Mono Men, Bleach-era Nirvana and our forth and final installment in this weeks obscure covers, Mudhoney.
Predating all that however was proto-shoegaze space rockers (and personal favorite) Spacemen 3. Around the time they when they were pounding the last nail in their coffin, circa Recurring, they decided to change it up from the usual pilfering of Roky Erickson and Bo Diddley, and decided to give Mudhoney’s When Tomorrow Hits their proprietary psych-noise makeover. Post-breakup however it seems Spacemen’s Peter Kember (AKA Sonic Boom) has always had a hard time quitting that track and, as Spectrum, has continued covering it ever since.
Side note: I’m not sure if this is urban myth, but when Spacemen 3 ceased ex-member, Jason Pierce picked the name Spiritualized so he could still be found in the ‘S’ bin at record shops. Vindictive as they all were, Kember opted for the monikers Sonic Boom and Spectrum so, alphabetically speaking, he could be before Pierce’s Spiritualized in that same bin.

Spacemen 3 – When Tomorrow Hits
Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis – When Tomorrow Hits
Spectrum – When Tomorrow Hits (Live – Brighton – 2010)
Spectrum – When Tomorrow Hits (Live – Frankfurt – 2010)
Spectrum – When Tomorrow Hits (Live – San Francisco – 2001)
Spectrum – When Tomorrow Hits (Live – The Khyber)


PS Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, blah blah blah, original on the wall etc.

Let Me Be Frank

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Next up in my little series of obscure cover nuggets is Frank Zappa. Zappa, much like The Residents, is one of those artists that’s always given me the heebie-jeebies. As a youth in summer camp I remember all the rock climbing instructors were heavily into Zappa. Scarily enough, when passing by the rock climbing shed, it wasn’t uncommon to hear the sounds of Valley Girl, and smells of what I was told was ‘good luck sage’, seeping out into the quad. Half way up the side of a mountain balancing on one foot, I would often look below and picture my demise; sprawled on my back at the base of the climb, still semi-concious and surrounded by the band of wild-haired, chalk handed and satin short wearing psychedelic instructors warbling along to Deadly Kitchen (Sometimes the milk can hurt you, If you put it on your cereal Before you smell the plastic container’) and some other completely un-PC ditty they made up about AIDS (sung to the tune of King of Pain by the Police).
Eventually I was able to get my Frank-o-phobia fully in check and now can enjoy me a little Zappa without the fear of plunging to my death. However I think today’s choice, honestly, was me just groping for any excuse to feature my current fave downtempo/neo soul duo J*Davey, who’ve taken Zappa’s freaky little tune about ‘Poodle Bites and Poodle Juices,
Dirty Love, and rewired into a Controvery-era sounding Prince track.

J*Davey – Dirty Love

On Belay!

PS Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, original is on the wall.


Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Like I mentioned yesterday we have some semi-obscurios this week and so here’s another; Oran ‘Juice’ Jones and his one hit wonder, if you can call being #9 in the charts in 1986 a ‘hit’, The Rain.
If you don’t know it, or even if you do, be sure to have a gander at this Youtube gem (and be sure to stick around for the end when he tears his girl a new one).
So today we have Parisian duo Acid Washed putting a little disco kick in their electro cover of The Rain.

Acid Washed – The Rain


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, be sure to check the wall.

All You Ever Think About Is Sex

Monday, April 26th, 2010

“Johnny’s got a light in his eyes and Shirley’s got a light on her lips
Jakes got a monkeyshine on his head and Debra Ann’s got a tiger in her hips.”

Keep one hand on your All-Music Guide as I got a few obscure ones that are going to be coming down the intertubes this week (I think I bought myself a little esoteric cachet what with posting 80-something covers of Walk On By last week) . That little ditty above signals today’s pick Sex Beat by LA proto-Cowpunks, The Gun Club.
Quite a little incubator that band were, as ex-members would go on to 45 Grave, Sisters of Mercy and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Not so unfortunately the lead singer, Jeffrey Lee Pierce however, who would pass on from a brain hemorrhage in 1996 at the age of 37.

Leading the pack by a long shot, IMO, is Two Lone Swordsmen who prove they are equally adept at handling a mic and guitar as they are cutting brilliant techno. Close on the heels is Alejandro Escovedo with a rather brooding bluegrass cut. Not sure what stopped Franco-cover staple Nouvelle Vague from releasing a proper studio cut of it, but there is some live evidence below. And lastly Enon and Bang! Bang! proove that indie girls need love too.

Two Lone Swordsmen – Sex Beat
Two Lone Swordsmen – Sex Beat (Remix Vocal)
Alejandro Escovedo – Sex Beat
Nouvelle Vague – Sex Beat (Live in Amsterdam 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Sex Beat (Studio 105 Maison 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Sex Beat (Live in Utrecht Tivoli 2009)
Enon – Sex Beat
Bang! Bang! – Sex Beat

***Last Minute Addendum – More indie girl niceness from…
Some Girls – Sex Beat (Live – Aug 5th 2002)


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, have the original hanging on the wall for ya.


Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Let’s see, what am I doing this weekend? Tending the garden, designing a stationary kit, taking the dog and the Mrs. for a walk around the lake, grabbing beers with the posse and probably chasing down my friend who runs the The Grilled Cheese Truck for one of her amazing pulled-pork and mac & cheese sandwiches.
What are you doing this weekend? I’m guessing probably (hopefully!) trying to download 80-something covers of the Burt Bacharach and
Dionne Warwick classic Walk On By. Just an FYI, this is not all of them and as usual I relegated the crap trance and the smooth dentist-office jazz versions to the circular file. Besides a few personal favorites below I’m also digging the small microsection of Isaac Hayes versions. This epic cut is a stand alone cover in it’s own right and can usually be found gracing any Top Ten Covers feature worth it’s salt.
Anyhoo time for me to walk on. BTW Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub members keep an eye out later today, there’ll be some bonus tracks hanging on the wall for you.


Playing Favorites…

Walk Fi By Inna Kingston Style…

Sing It Sister…

Jazz and other Easy Listenings…

Make It Funky…

Cult of Chef – Isaac Hayes Covers and Covered Isaac Hayes…

Whoa! Trippy, Man…

Disco Needn’t Suck…

Walking On The Beaches…

Mr. Klum I Presume…

Samba On By…

Press 1 for English, Press 2 for…

Stuff White People Like…

Gone Clubbin (No crappy trance, promise)…

Way Out West

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I could wax forever about what a huge poseur Kanye West is, but I’m on a short leash today, so it’s gotta be quick.
Kanye = ZZZZZZzzz.
Richard Cheese and his lounge cover of Stronger = AWESOME! (as usual)

Richard Cheese – Stronger


ABC, Easy As…

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Of all the 80s icon roads that would eventually lead me into graphic design as a youth; Neville Brody, Vaughan Oliver, Peter Saville, Steven R. Gilmore, I would probably have to credit Keith Breeden as a close 4th for his entire How to Be a…Zillionaire! campaign for ABC. A masterpiece in cohesiveness and branding, I must have poured over the packaging for the album and it’s accompanying singles well over a, uh, zillion times as a teenager. This was Designers Republic when Designers Republic was still in the crib munching on Pocky.
As you can see from the above I’ve managed to take Breeden’s baby and backed it over several times with the car, metaphorically speaking, for the sole purpose of today’s cover selection. Not trouncing on 80s sacredness however is mensch of a thousand faces, Uwe Schmidt (AKA Atom Heart AKA Señor Coconut AKA Lisa Carbon Trio…ad infinitum) under his LB moniker with a sweet n’ glitchy electronic version of ABC‘s Be Near Me.

LB – Be Near Me

Enjoy! (and apologies to Keith!)

The Indestructible Beat Of Jimi

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Off to Liberia (via Leeds) go The Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra with their stunning afrobeat rendition of Jimi Hendrix Crosstown Traffic.

The Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra – Crosstown Traffic


PS Bonus cover waiting for Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub members. You know where to look.

Two Timing Again!

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

El capitán of obscure soul Perrata 2000 of La Colmena De Humo invited Versions Galore to do a special mix for his one year anniversary. It features some favorite mixes, mashups and edits that slipped through my usual strict covers-only vetting process.

Enjoy (y muchas gracias Perrata!)

Devil May Care

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

So I was just bitching to my buddy over at underneathica the other day about how I’ve only recently started warming to blues music. Due to numerous white blues bar bands, seeing BB King living a blingy lifestyle whilst still singing about living in a swamp, and my personal anti-christ, Eric Clapton, I pretty much refused to even consider listening. That said over the last 5 years I’ve been really getting into some of the old stuff; old prison work songs, Lightning Hopkins, Blind Willie and today’s feature Robert Johnson.
Making a pensive but utterly sublime comeback of recent is soul legend
Gil Scott-Heron. His trip-hop (jesus I hate that word) cover of Johnson’s Me and the Devil is nothing less than the kind of dark, brooding ensemble usually reserved for the likes of Massive Attack or Portishead. BTW Blur/Gorillaz fans prick up your ears; this cut features Damon Albarn on keyboard duties.

Gil Scott-Heron – Me And The Devil


Hey Dummy!

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Portishead ventures south of the border with this charanga style version of Wandering Star by Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro.

Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro – Wandering Star

Espero que lo disfrutas!

Silver Lining

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Reggae meets disco uptown with two Jamaican cuts of Silver Convention disco diamond Fly Robin Fly.
Harold Butler keeps his roots-style, while Derrick Harriott takes his out fi yard with a rare groove/funk cut (Fun Fact:Butler plays Melotron on Harriott’s cut as well).

Harold Butler – Fly Robbin Reggae
Derrick Harriott – Fly Robin Fly


PS My Big Fat Ego Boost: just voted Versions Galore ‘The Best of the Covers Blogs’ in their A to Z of Cover Versions feature.
While I’m not quite sure how deserving Versions is of that crown, as there are many other better, older and probably more thorough cover sites out there (see any in my Covers Blogroll for evidence), for what it’s worth they did also give honorable mentions to Cover to Cover, Copy Cats and Cover Me as well.

Malcolm Mclaren 1946 – 2010

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Was planning on taking the day off from VG today when I got the news:
Malcolm Mclaren 1946 – 2010.
For those that read my Adam & the Ants post from a few weeks back you know how big of a fan I was. And a this point I consider myself pretty fortunate that I got to spend an entire evening just hanging out and rapping with the man.
I couldn’t come up with a proper MM cover at such short notice so I figured this Sex Pistols track that I was saving for a rainy day, Pretty Vacant, will suffice just fine as a tribute.
So moving right along we have indie-accordion (Baby Jail), 50s (The Delltones), Bluegrass/Country (Dynamo’s Rhythm Aces and Solal Feat. Rosie Flores), indie masquerading as grime (Lady Sovereign), classical (London Punkharmonic Orchestra), electroclash (Nasty Inc. vs Sonic State), easy listening (Nutley Brass), sitar & tabla electronica (Opium Jukebox), trip-hop/downtempo (Sofia) and lullabye (Punk Rock Baby). Sweet dreams Malcolm.

Baby Jail – Pretty Vacant
The Delltones – Pretty Vacant
Dynamo’s Rhythm Aces – Pretty Vacant
Solal Feat. Rosie Flores – Pretty Vacant
Lady Sovereign – Pretty Vacant
London Punkharmonic Orchestra – Pretty Vacant
Nasty Inc. vs Sonic State – Pretty Vacant
Nutley Brass – Pretty Vacant
Opium Jukebox – Pretty Vacant
Sofia – Pretty Vacant
Punk Rock Baby – Pretty Vacant

RIP you swindler

Stormtrooper in Drag

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Hmmmm, does Are ‘Friends’ Electric? take on a whole new meaning when it’s sung by a woman?
It certainly sounds a whole lot sexier, evidenced by today’s round up of solely female-voxed covers of Gary Numan‘s second best.
I’ll lead with my fave cut from the sadly defunct but no less forgotten, Roisin Murphy-fronted Moloko. An Pierle strips hers down to just piano in her inspired cut.
Groove Armada keeps rolling out their own brand of downtempo, while Kills/White Stripes supergroup The Dead Weather get rocky.
And while you’re listening to Republica, see if you can’t guess which 80s synth icon got relegated to backing vocals.

Moloko – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
An Pierle – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
Groove Armada – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
Republica – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
The Dead Weather – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?


PS Bonus track for those in thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub.

The Life & Times of Tim

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Certain genres kind of elude me. 95% of most the blues comes to mind. Folk is another; I’m really just not that into Neil Young, and, sorry but am generally kind of meh on Dylan.
One folk auteur that consistently slips through the music-snob gates with me however is 60s vocalist and all-around genre chameleon Tim Buckley.
For those unfamiliar, you may recall him as being somewhat of the 4AD poster boy, via covers by This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, et al., and usually by his most oft covered ‘hit’ Song of the Siren.
Well we’ve got a road less travelled (and better IMO) cover for you today, Happy Time, by yet another 4AD alum, Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance fame (the better half. Also MO).
Until this version, I was always somewhat tepid on old Tim. But Perry’s Neil Diamond-channeled rendition is what eventually drew me into becoming a staunch Buckley fan. So, thanks Brendan!


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, there’s a bonus hanging on the wall for ya.

Dress You Up

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

PJ Harvey. Was into this chick before anybody. Saw her open for Moonshake. Got limited edition Sheela Na Gig 7″. Got Dress. Got all her early singles on Too Pure. I was there, in John Peels office when he decided to feature her, ‘I said don’t go with that, go with this’. I was there, in Minnesota, twiddling knobs in the recording studio while Steve Albini was busy getting me coffee.
OK no more Losing My Edge impressions, though I did get to see PJ Harvey in her infancy freaking people the fuck out opening for, the most sorely under recognized bands of the 90s, Moonshake and I was a wee bit of a Too Pure Records fanatic ( RIP 🙁 ).

So today we got New Young Pony Club further bolstering the meme that the 90s are the new 80s with an almost pitch perfect cover of Dress.

New Young Pony Club – Dress


Lover’s Rock

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Just found out my buddy Trevor Jackson is going to be in town, djing at another friend of mine’s night, so I thought I’d whip this out in tribute; Jackson’s alter ego Playgroup (featuring Shinehead) giving
Simon & Garfunkel Paul Simon‘s classic 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover an early reggae/dancehall makeover.
Fans of Shinehead will no doubt recognize the riddim as an updated version of Lick-a-Shot, the same one used to such aplomb in Shinehead’s own cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.

Playgroup (featuring Shinehead) – 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

Enjoy! (and see you and Trevor at Hot Biscuit Saturday night)

PS Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub be sure to check the wall fi bonus riddim.

PPS Big fat f%$#@ing ‘Whoops’ today. The eagle eyed Perrata 2000 caught my rather embarrassing blunder of crediting this as a Simon & Garfunkel track. It’s actually just Paul.
As for today’s art, uh, for now just pretend that’s Trevor Jackson on the right. 😉