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Archive for August, 2010

Loose Diamonds

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Today’s outlandish artwork signals it’s been a long time since I did a Godfather of Soul AKA James Brown, post. So, got 12 versions*** rounded up below of the oft-sampled Give It Up or Turnit a Loose. Starting with my fave cover we have
Dick Hyman‘s infamous bizarro Moog cut. Also somewhat out of leftfield is a great afrobeat version from The Daktaris. Soul sisters doin it for themselves this time include Lyn Collins and Marva Whitney (with Osaka Monaurail). Also towing the funky line are Black Randy & The Metrosquad, The Fantastics, Wilbert LongmireChristian McBride, Phil Catherine,  Javon Jackson, and my favorite, Mexican jazz-on-luudes combo Rabbits and Carrots. And lastly an old school house-sounding version via DJ Ayres.
(Just an FYI today’s track spelling is heavy on the ‘sic’, as everyone seems to have their own notion of what the actual title is)

Dick Hyman – Give It Up Turn it Loose
The Daktaris – Give It Up Turnit Loose
Lyn Collins – Give It Up Or Turnit Loose
Osaka Monaurail with Marva Whitney – Give it up or Turn It Loose (pt.1 & 2)
Black Randy & The Metrosquad – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose
The Fantastics – Give It Up And Turnit A Loose

Wilbert Longmire – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose
Christian McBride – Give it Up Turn it Loose
Phil Catherine – Give it Up & Turn it Loose

Javon Jackson – Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
Rabbits and Carrots – Give it Up Or Turn it Loose
DJ Ayres – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose


***PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got a nice likkle collection of re-dits for ya on the wall…

Not Bitter

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Got inspired to do a Bitter Sweet Symphony, by The Verve, post after hearing the Mexican Institute Of Sound‘s rather brilliant borracho / mariachi rendition (make it your Saturday night theme song). However there isn’t a whole lot more out there that I’d deem Versions-worthy material save a for an uplifting choral cover by the always welcome Scala & Kolacny Brothers (for your Sunday morning coming down).

Mexican Institute Of Sound – Sinfonia Agridulce (AKA Bitter Sweet Symphony)
Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Bitter Sweet Symphony


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, bonus cut for ya on the wall…

Nervous Behaviour

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

I think in some parallel universe if I hadn’t decided to blog about covers, Versions could have easily been a classic house/acid house blog. I’ve been a fanatical collector since I was young; by a random stroke of luck was fortunate to have been exposed to house music back in 86′ at the age of 15 (Yes I’m old. Don’t rub it in.). While most of my original vinyl bit the dust in a flood a few years back, I still do have a small pile of original 12″s and rare white labels from back in the day and the rest is in that newfangled MP3 format. Anyway as much as I’d love to indulge my Balearic pipe-dream, there are far better blogs out already tackling it (might I recommend my colleague’s blog The Acid House for starters).
Today’s cover is kind of a double whammy as we got DJ Buck covering classic acid house track, Nervous Acid by Bobby Konders, in a rather brilliant leftfield/analog- sounding fashion. It was the San Francisco-based Buck who would lead all of us late 80s Bay Area acid/house fanatics into the 90s and onto the next thing, Rave (circa 1990′, long before it got hijacked by the glowsticks and Burning Man crowd).
Anyway Bobby is not just a house legend, but is also responsible for being a seminal hip hop and reggae/dub NYC DJ as well. I’m glad to see that someone is finally giving him his dues, doubly so cause it’s Buck. Thanks Buck.

DJ Buck – Nervous Acid


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who may have missed it the first time round, got the original hanging on the wall for ya.

Bring That Beat Back…

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Downtempo/leftfield electronic outfit Belleruche do an ace job of breathing some new life into 2nd wave ska classic Mirror In The Bathroom by The English Beat (or simply The Beat depending on what side of the pond you grew up on).

Belleruche – Mirror In The Bathroom


Can Do Spirit

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Today we got perennial mom car favorite (or at least my mom anyways),
I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) by yacht rock hall of famers Hall & Oates. Jesus those guys killed it during their late 70s / early 80s heyday, and that’s in spite of Oates’ mustache becoming painfully more and more passé every year.
I’m gonna lead with my pick of the litter, a funky, fun little indie/electronic number from Buffetlibre’s The Paper Scissors and also riding that same wavelength are The Bird And The Bee. Fans of freak folk will probably dig Koot Homi who sound like their trying to out-animal, Animal Collective. And on more of the proper rock tip we have a fairly standard sounding cut from Orson.
Onto the dancefloor we have two versions by Japanese acid jazz casualties Mondo Grosso and lastly an we have a somewhat tepid R&B cut from house legend Byron Stingily (who should have known better, but hey it’s Byron he’s allowed a mistake or two).

The Paper Scissors – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
The Bird And The Bee – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)

Koot Hoomi – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
Orson – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
Mondo Grosso – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
Mondo Grosso – I Can’t Go For That (Freedom Jazz Samba Mix)
Byron Stingily – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got a very rare disco-re edit by Broker/Dealer on the wall for ya…

Neon Finds

Friday, August 20th, 2010

This one goes out to meine freunde Stefan who has been bugging me for the better part of a year to do a Neon Lights / Neonlicht post. No problem, this is pretty much one of my more favorite Kraftwerk tracks off Man Machine, if not their entire catalog. Only they could write a ballad to a nocturnal futuristic metropolis the same way that, let’s say, hippies wax on about how awesome the forest and dolphins are (which they are, I just don’t want to hear it from them).
While nowhere near as extensive as my Model post was sometime back, (but slightly bigger than the Tour De France one) we still do have a nice cache of covers. Here at Versions we always give top billing to those that break the mold, so leading with that we have a gypsie wedding meets Tom Waits version from Mitja V.S., a 60s British Invasion sounding cut from Yuji Okiyama, a very spacey surf guitar one from Home For The Def and lastly of course the über-übiquitous cha cha of Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto.
Next is my pick of this litter, a downtempo/indie/harp cover by Jay-Jay Johanson. We also have some more indie niceness from Kevin Kane, Phil Wilson (ex-June Brides!), Love Tractor, Luna, and Octopus.
Following is an odd category, as we got three modern day versions of Neon by three 80s stalwarts, U2, Simple Minds and OMD (Looks like some people are finally getting around to copping to their influences I see). Oh and speaking of 80s we also got an obscure 80s cut from Sweden’s Mats Ronander.
If you’re having trouble gettting baby Dieter or Karl to sleep might I recommend two lullaby sounding versions from New David and Dumbfounded City.
Surprisingly there wasn’t a whole lot of electronic covers  this time round but we do have some standard sounding electronic cuts from Commuter, Malwuinka, Techno Club and a rather depressing sounding 8-bit one from La Kuizine

Mitja V.S. – Neonlicht
Yuji Okiyama – Neon Lights
Home For The Def – Neon Lights
Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto – Neon Lights (Cha-Cha-Cha)

Jay-Jay JohansonNeon Lights
Kevin Kane – Neon Lights
Phil Wilson – Neon Lights
Love Tractor – Neon Lights
Luna – Neon Lights
Octopus – Neon Lights

U2 – Neon Lights
Simple Minds – Neon Lights
OMD – Neon Lights
Mats Ronander – Neon Lights

New David – Neon Lights
Dumbfounded City – Nana para Cris (AKA Neon Lights)

Commuter – Neon Lights
Malwuinka – Neon Licht
Techno Club – Neonlicht
La Kuizine – Neon Lights


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, if you haven’t heard the original (can there be such people?) it’s on the wall for ya…


Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Straight outta Ontario, Canada come the B.A. Baracus Band.
Here they are tackling LL Cool J‘s Mama Say Knock You Out armed only with an acoustic guitar, a kazoo and a djembe (a Malian/African Drum).
Don’t call it a comeback…

B.A. Baracus Band – Mama Said Knock You Out


Giving Up The Ghost

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Taking the opposite tack from our last post, today we got the wonderful chaos that is Suicide. When trying to pinpoint the origins of new wave, techno AND punk (a genre they coined) one need look no further than Alan Vega and Martin Rev. Playing second only to The Velvet Underground in terms of influence, the NYC tough guy duo’s abrasive singing style paired with their signature one-note driven Farfisa backing tracks would also prove indelible on legions of spacerock, shoegaze and goth acts like Spiritualized, Joy Division, Clinic, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Kills etc.
So today we have Suicide’s pièce de résistance, Ghost Rider (taken from the comic book of the same name). One note: While a grip of artists have technically covered it, the most disappointing thing about today’s post unfortunately is that the vast majority only bothered to cover it live. Additionally, as much as I’d love to feature those versions by The Horrors, Sisters of Mercy, Soft Cell and many others,  it was hard to find a copy where it doesn’t sound like the taping was done from the inside of somebody’s sock. Damn our commitment to quality!
Playing favorites I’m gonna lead with a new cover by Gavin Friday & Dave Ball (of Grid and Soft Cell fame). Ex-Josef K member Paul Haig goes psychobilly while a surprising The Young Gods drop the keyboards for a couple of nifty acoustic renditions. Other goodies include 80s French Coldwave act Norma Loy, The Gories (AKA Mick Collins of The Dirtbombs), and OG obscuro UK Danish punks The Sods. Funny enough I’m also digging two by a couple of artists with whome I’ve had a great affinity for their early work but not so much anymore, Henry Rollins and R.E.M.. Thats said these versions truly redeem the last 25 years of questionable output.
So heading into murkier territory this is one of those few times I’m going to actually going to feature industrial/hard rock as it seems germane. So in that dept we got Cassandra Complex, Dkay.Com, Dive, Bloodstar and the Rollins Band (FYI these are VASTLY different to the  ‘Henry Rollins’ versions above). And finally if that wasn’t unlistenable enough for you, we also have original noise merchants Merzbow and Etant Donnes with Alan Vega, Lydia Lunch & Genesis P-Orridge. Proceed with caution.

Gavin Friday & Dave Ball – Ghost Rider
Paul Haig – Ghost Rider
The Young Gods – Ghost Rider
The Young Gods – Ghost Rider (Live)
Norma Loy – Ghost Rider
The Gories – Ghost Rider
The Sods – Ghost Rider
R.E.M. – Ghost Rider
Henry Rollins – Ghost Rider

Cassandra Complex – Ghost Rider
Dkay.Com – Ghost Rider
Dive – Ghost Rider
Bloodstar – Ghost Rider
Rollins Band – Ghost Rider
Rollins Band – Ghost Rider (Session Outtake)
Merzbow – Ghost Rider
Etant Donnes with Alan Vega, Lydia Lunch & Genesis P-Orridge – Ghost Rider

*** Jeremy Jay – Ghost Rider


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got a bonus track on the wall for y’all.

*** PPS LAST MINUTE ADDENDUM: Caps off to the eagle eared Colin for pointing out an excellent, rather mellow, cover by Jeremy Jay

Take Me To The Airport

Monday, August 16th, 2010

It may sound like the kind of insider gag that only cover bloggers might find funny, but we got a couple of peeps today that actually had the wherewithal to cover Music For Airports (specifically 1-1) by Brian Eno (and it doesn’t include Philip Glass). Both IDM/Techo artist Nathan Fake and avant-garde classical outfit Bang on a Can however do a fine job of pulling off ambient musics’ er…loudest anthem.

Nathan Fake – Music For Airports
Bang On A Can – 1-1 (Music For Airports)


R.I.P. Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010)

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Abbey Lincoln RIP

Sad news. Jazz legend Abbey Lincoln passed away today at 80.
She was also a vocal civil rights activist, actress and probably the only true successor to Billie Holiday’s throaty brand of blues singing.
Here’s one of my favorites of her’s; a rare, and somewhat now beautifully poignant, cover of the Coots & Lewis standard, For All We Know.

Abbey Lincoln – For All We Know

Rest in peace Abbey

Lotus Position

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

While maybe not as cool as say, Dancefloor Dale, today we do however have a great live cover of Flying LotusTea Leaf Dancers by fellow downtempo auteur Bonobo. Side note, both of these feature Andreya Triana on vox, so essentially same vocals, new tune!

Bonobo & Andreya Triana – Tea Leaf Dancers (Live)


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who are unfamiliar, original Tea Leaf… is on the wall for ya.

Hot Spot

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

I used to work a lot with one particular stylist for photoshoots who would always make his grand entrance with a dramatic cry of ‘OHMYGOD YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT!?!?!!’, usually followed by a rundown of who was currently sleeping with what celebrity. He was truly Perez Hilton before their was a Perez Hilton (and oddly enough kind of looked like him too.)
I’ll never forget the time however when he came into our office, practically in tears, going ‘OHMYGOD. OHMYGOD.OHMYGOD. YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT!?!?!! LOUIS VUITTON KILLED AALIYAH!!!’. His big conspiracy consisted of, when Aaliyah was returning from a photoshoot in the Bahamas, Louis Vuitton also demanded that she bring all the suitcases full of clothes that they used for the shoot back too, like pronto. Apparently this was the clutch the broke the camels back, and the jalopy of a Cessna she boarded couldn’t handle it, sending the 22 year-old to her untimely death. Hence LV ‘killed’ Aaliyah.
While I’m not so sure I share my old stylists’ penchant-for-drama scenario, I do know one thing; I like Aaliyah and I like The xx. So here’s their rather atmospheric take of her track Hot Like Fire.

The xx – Hot Like Fire


Moments and Whatnots

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Art Of Noise Versions Galore

Show of hands, how many of you out there used to throw Moments In Love, by
Art of Noise onto mixtapes for potential love interests hoping to get some? (Er, maybe second show of hands, how many of you out there now even remember what a cassette tape was?).
Moments was probably one of the most sublime instrumentals of the 80s, yet it was also the sappiest (second only to Vangelis’ Blade Runner Theme) making it a tricky one cover with any degree of aplomb. In fact yours truly waded through dozens of bad new age sounding versions and as usual was also up to my ass in crap trance and eurohouse remakes. But I did find one diamond, Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who caramelize AON’s Moments into a funk driven New Orleans-style funeral march.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Moments In Love
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Moments In Love (Highline Ballroom, NYC 10-29-07)


PS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub,  I’m posting a few good uns that almost made the cut…


Sunday, August 8th, 2010

At the risk of stepping on the four digited feet of my dear friends over at Covering The Mouse, I’d thought I’d delve into one of my favorite Disney tracks;
Trust In Me from The Jungle Book.
For all it’s cotton candy wrapped happiness Disney, like Mother Goose before it, does have it’s dark moments. Bambi’s mom get’s shot, Scar bumps off his brother in The Lion King and Stitch bites it in a spaceship accident. And then you have Kaa from The Jungle Book (voiced, funny enough, by the same guy who did Winnie the Pooh, Sterling Holloway) trying to squeeze Mowgli until his ‘senses cease to exist’. While I’m fairly indifferent to Disney in general, I’ve always had a soft spot for Kaa’s dark constricting theme song, Trust In Me, as do a of handful cover stars today. Leading with my fave, we have 90s alt rockers (and one ex-Throwing Muse) Belly as well as the grande dame of alt rock Siouxsie & The Banshees. We also have a couple of downtempo cuts from Roudoudou and the New Cool Collective and keeping it jazzy is Soul Flutes (aka Herbie Mann, Herbie Hancock and Ray Barretto), the exotic Susheela Raman and a triple header from Holly Cole.

Belly – Trust in Me
Siouxie & The Banshees – Trust In Me
Siouxie & The Banshees – Trust In Me (Live)
Roudoudou – Trust In Me
New Cool Collective – Trust In Me
Soul Flutes – Trust In Me
Susheela Raman – Trust In Me
Holly Cole – Trust In Me (Finest Female Jazz Version)
Holly Cole – Trust In Me (Treasure Version)
Holly Cole – Trust In Me (Yesterday & Today Version)


PS Those in the Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, original Trust on the the wall for ya …

Petty Officer

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

One of my favorite DJs in the world is my buddy Toph (AKA DJ Toph One) out of San Francisco. He’s one of those born and bred SF legends who is also a talented writer and legendary drunk (or is that legendary writer and talented drunk?) and is the true heir to throne of Herb Caen with maybe just a dash of Hunter S. Thompson thrown in for good measure. Not sticking with any one genre, Toph can traverse hip hop to house to rare groove and is one of those DJs that you can comfortably label ‘eclectic’ without him sounding like a hack.
One talent he excels at however is being able to mix in a tune that in any other context would get a DJ hung. Aplomb being his middle name, I’ve seen him drop Ghostbusters into the middle of a set only to have the crowd go apeshit and start singing along. Another song I heard him mix in one night, sandwiched between two hip hop tracks, was Don’t Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty. As usual not only had Toph had made me rethink that track, he had me rethinking the whole idea of TOM PETTY completely; from being classic rock filler to somebody just as groove-worthy as any old funk or hip hop artist.
So not nearly funky as Toph, but just as good today is another great rethink of Don’t Come Around Here No More by Oslo’s Susanna, who takes Petty into darker, piano drenched, almost Tori Amos territory.

Susanna – Don’t Come Around Here No More


PS Next time you’re in SF be sure to drop by Toph’s Pepper or any of his Red Wine Social events, the only thing decent left in that city save for the food!

Way To Go.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

It may be a little soon but fuck it, here’s another 80s synth-pop classic, Don’t Go by Yazoo. Fronted by a blues saturated Alison Moyet and backed by then ex-Depeche Mode member Vince Clark (who would later go on to found yet another successful duo, Erasure), Don’t Go wound up killing it as a #1 in the Billboard Dance Chart in 1982, and has been remixed and covered to death ever since.
But here’s the only version I’m digging; a hard hitting funk-soul rendition, somewhat eerily reminiscent of Shaft, from Newcastle’s Smoove & Turrell.

Smoove & Turrell – Don’t Go


Hangover Remedies

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Funny fact about today’s entry was that Diana Ross originally hated disco. However after a few glasses of champagne, and probably the threat of Donna Summer lighting a fire under her ass, her producer Hal David managed to convince her to record what would become her big disco reinvention,
the breathy Love Hangover. David even went as far as installing a strobe in the studio while she was recording to get her into the mood. It went on to become a #1 and marked yet another Diana career jump start.
Despite seeming something like an antithesis, Reggae wasn’t immune to disco’s charms. So today we have a few Jamaican influenced cuts from Horace Andy, Diana & King Storm, as well as a dancehall version via Judy Em. And riding the coat tails is a wicked dub-influenced, old school drum & bass/jungle track from More Rockers (AKA Smith & Mighty)

Horace Andy – Love Hangover
Diana & King Storm – Love Hangover
Judy Em – Love Hangover
More Rockers – The Cure (AKA Love Hangover)