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Archive for May, 2011

RIP Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Absolutely gutted today to learn that legend of blues, jazz, funk, rare groove and poetry, Gil Scott-Heron passed away yesterday at age 62. While he turned out a string of both provocative and soulful albums during the course of the 70s, he will probably be most remembered by the public at large for his powerful political spoken word/song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, whose message would later leave an indelible impression on hip hop.
And with that I’m going to keep today’s post short and simple; here is a classic 80s electro cover (produced by Man Parrish no less!) of Heron’s The Bottle (here titled In The Bottle) by C.O.D.

C.O.D. – In The Bottle

RIP Gil,

PS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub got the original on the wall for you…

PPS More Gil Scott-Heron here and here…

Flashback Friday:The Original D&G

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Last September, when I originally wrote about electronica pioneers Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder, I must have been busy being a pioneer of aloofness, as there were 3 more Versions worthy covers of electro-disco missing link, I Feel Love, chilling on the settee with empty dance cards.
Coincedentaly enough all three were either classic Indian, like a crazy classic Bollywood disco version from Usha Uthu , or heavily Indian influenced world/downtempo cuts from Hector Zazou & Co. and Jorane.

Usha Uthup – I Feel Love
Hector Zazou, Barbara Eramo & Stefano Saletti – I Feel Love
Jorane – I Feel Love


PS Check out the original post here…

PPS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub that missed it the first go round, got the original plus a nice little re-edit on the wall…

Paradis Sauvage

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Long before she muscled her way past Kate and Winona to become what she’s mostly known as today, Mrs. Johnny Depp, the sultry Vanessa Paradis had, and still continues to have, a long and furtive career. One as an actress, playing alongside household French legends Gérard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Reno. Another as a sucessful model, most notably for Chanel (including the classic Jean Paul Goude bird cage commercial). However it was her 1988 overnight, breathy pop hit Joe Le Taxi that originally  thrust the then 14 year old nouveau waif into the spotlight where she’s remained a staple French celebrity ever since.
Joe Le Taxi also spawned numerous covers. While 90% of them were just rehashes of the original I did manage to flag down a few standouts. Funny enough, 3 out of 4 of today’s selections were by Japanese artists. First a driving tech-house cut from Hanayo, who even more remarkably is an ex-geisha, ex-Merzbow collaborator and ex-model for John Paul Gaultier who currently lives in Berlin and gets serious accolades from the likes of Soulwax. Speaking of which, fans of that squelchy electro Soulwax/Justice sound may also dig Tokyo’s immi. And third in our Nihon trifecta is a slower quirky technopop version from Jun Togawa, who by the way also gets lofty avant-garde praise from up on high via the likes of Jim O’Rourke. And lastly and not Japanese at all is a minimal, lo-fi, synth pop-ish rendition by French-German duo Stereo Total (who ironically enough are big in Japan).

Hanayo – Joe Le Taxi
immi – Joe Le Taxi
Jun Togawa – Joe Le Taxi
Stereo Total – Joe Le Taxi


PS For mon frére in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got the originals sur le mur…

A Cover You Can’t Refuse

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

A few years ago, back when I was a designer at some big electronic music rag, I used to share my office with the reviews editor, and stellar music journalist overall, Ron. Around the same age, Ron, like me, also had an almost autistic knowledge of arcane music trivia of the 70s, 80s and 90s. So while we were busy ‘working’, our desks in the office facing back to back, we used flex our music nerd credentials by playing a running game of Name That Obscure, Go Nowhere, Often-Found-In-The-Cut-Out-Bin, 80s Band. The game pretty much lasted the entire duration of our time there and consisted of nothing more than one upping each other by blurting out loudly the name of some band only the Trouser Press Record Guide could love and it went something like this:
Me:The Stockholm Monsters
Ron:Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
Me:Sad Lovers & Giants
Ron:And Also The Trees
Ron:That Petrol Emotion
Me:Martini Ranch
Ron:Cactus World News
Me:Jean Paul Sartre Experience
Ron:Half Man Half Biscuit
Me:This Heat
Ron:Head Of David
Me:(Aprapo of nothing, 2 hours later) The Connells
Ron:(10 minutes later) Eyeless In Gaza
Me: Microdisney, motherfucker.
Ron:(1 week later) Hey Leopold here’s the latest edits to the cover feature. Oh and by the way, The Comsat Angels.
Me:Dammnit! Uh, um…China Crisis?
Etc etc ad inifinitum….

One band that invariably came up was 80s, one semi-“hit” wonder,
The Godfathers. Ever heard of them? No? Chances are if you’re under 35 the answer is usually a resounding NoFuckingClueMate, however they did leave behind one great cynical sing-a-long, the anthemic Birth, School, Work, Death. There were a few covers floating around but only Manhead, from Trevor Jackson’s late great Output label, manages to both outdo and almost out-’80s’ the original with their electronic/disco version.

Manhead – Birth, School, Work, Death


PS For those Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub under 35, got the original on the wall for you…

PPS Oh and hey Ron, Spear Of Destiny.

Flashback Friday:Get Up, Get On Up

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Back in 2008 I did the rare post on Bob Marley, who I tend to avoid mostly cause I am a straight up reggae/Jamaican music snob and besides Bob being played to death, it’s hard for me to shake the image of legions of hippies with dreadlocks doing the black power fist pump in the college dorm quad. Personal hang ups aside, Get Up, Stand Up does make for a good bit of protest music, and the original post I did was tempered by being a rare funk cover. Well turns out there were a few more funk versions I missed from The Chequers, the Butts Band as well as a stellar afrobeat one from Kaleta And Zozo Afrobeat.

The Chequers – Get Up, Stand Up
Butts Band – Get Up, Stand Up
Kaleta And Zozo Afrobeat – Get Up, Stand Up


PS Check out the original post here.

PPS Bonus version for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub.

Shake It Up

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Normally I’d drop a track like this on a Friday but the weekend just can’t come soon enough around these parts. So here’s Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) by The Jacksons AKA The Jackson 5, whose syncopated electro-disco sound was presage to what Mike would apply to great effect shortly after his departure.
Giving brass top billing today with a guaranteed to get-you-off-your-ass-and-dancing-in-the-street cover by New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band. One sure to make the Soul Jazz Records folks drool is two Joe Gibb produced reggae versions from Ruddy Thomas;one a single cut, the other an extended version with Welton Irie on toasting/DJ duties. And while were on that tip there was also a dancehall-style version from Smoke Tunes. And bringing up the rear is an Italo copycat track from Excitations as well as a jazz/funk/cosmic disco cover from Flight.

Rebirth Brass Band – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Ruddy Thomas – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Ruddy Thomas & Welton Irie – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Smoke Tunes – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Excitations – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
Flight – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)


PS For those in THEE, new improved, VERSIONS GALORE FACEBOOK FANCLUB got the original as well as a tidy little re-edit on the wall for you…
FYI if you haven’t made the switch yet, shake your body on down to the new page and click ‘Like’.


Monday, May 16th, 2011

I was surfing the interwebs the other day when I came across an article about how Lady Gaga plunders Roisin Murphy‘s (of the tragically defunct Moloko) style, which also included some blow by blow photos. While I’ve honestly got nothing against Gaga, her music works great for spinning class,  or the fact that besides nicking from Roisin, Gaga plunders hefty doses of the late great Leigh Bowery, what really stuck me however was the overall stupidity of her fan base. Here were some choice fillets of sage wisdom from her followers regarding Roisin (yes I left the spelling intact):

– I’m still at school and on 15th of September I’ll make myself a Lady Gaga Hairbow.I know I’m not famous,but is Rosin famous now?Lady Gaga is famous now, it’s not the Rosin’s era know, it’s Lady Gaga’s era.

– My comment is that Rosin looks like a 50 year oldfashioned grandma!Lady Gaga looks absolutely perfect

– Rosin is just pissed and jealous about the new singer being better in everything than her.She wants to kick her out of the musical busyness just because she can’t take that she’s not the №1 extreme-fashion icon

– yeah as long as lady gaga is making money who cares if she stole her music and style. Hollywood is all about the benjamins.

– she’s just jealous because she’s clearly not as talented as Gaga. just another fake bitch who can’t understand the world of FASHION.

– you who was dissin lady gaga cause u have a stalkerish one sided love for this ros-not my problem person why don’t you just go be old or something like that? aww yall can be twinsies wrinkles and all : D! neways

– MAYBE roisin stole lady gaga’s style. anyw=one consider that point?

You know that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where they try to blag their way into the fancy restaurant only to be stopped by the maitre’d?
“I weep for the future.

Short and sweet for today, a fun, 30s cabaret-style instrumental of Moloko‘s swan song big hit Sing It Back by Can 7

Can 7 – Sing It Back


So Anyway…

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

With Wild Thing being up there in the great canon of other great 60s cover fodder sing alongs like Louie Louie and Wooly Bully, it’s easy to forget The Troggs also had some other, great, less visceral singles in them as well. So today we’re tackling their touching, minor 1966 UK hit, Anyway That You Want Me.
If you’re like me (and gee isn’t that like everybody?) you probably heard this song first via prodigal spacerock act Spiritualized. Indeed it was their first big hit shortly after their messy divorce from Spacemen 3 and oddly enough when googling Anyway… seems to turn up more hits for Spiritualized than the original itself. It must have been brewing in Spacemen/Spirtualized singer Jason Pierce for some time however, as predating his 2nd act there had been Spacemen 3 demo versions lurking about as well.
Anyway certainly wasn’t lost on it’s contemporaries either and continuing the 60s rock/beat/mod meme are the Liverpool Five, American Breed, Wool, HP Lovecraft and well as some softer female cuts from Evie Sands, Tina Mason and Melanie Safka (btw killed a good day trying to locate the Billie Sands cut. Anyone out there got a copy they want to send my direction??).
Not much in the soul department this time round but I did manage to wrangle up one from little discussed 60s Detroit R&B crooner Walter Jackson as well as a slow disco number from Deborah Washington.

Spiritualized – Anyway That You Want Me
Spiritualized – Anyway That You Want Me (Demo)
Spiritualized – Anyway That You Want Me (violin outtake)
Spacemen 3 – Anyway That You Want Me (Demo)

Liverpool Five – Anyway That You Want Me
American Breed – Anyway That You Want Me
Wool – Anyway That You Want Me
HP Lovecraft – Anyway That You Want Me
Evie Sands – Anyway That You Want Me
Tina Mason – Anyway That You Want Me
Melanie Safka – Anyway That You Want Me

Walter Jackson – Anyway That You Want Me
Deborah Washington – Anyway That You Want Me


PS For those in THEE, new improved, VERSIONS GALORE FACEBOOK FANCLUB got the original and some other bonus bits on the wall for you…
FYI if you haven’t made the switch yet, get off yer digital kiester, head to the new page and click ‘Like’.

Champion Sound

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

One for the B Boys again today as we got ubiquitous hip hop staple The Champ by The Mohawks, whose funky drum and hammond break opener has been sampled no less than a 100 times ranging from NWA to Nas to Salt N Pepa and DJ Shadow.
For those of you not hunched over a milkcrate with dusty fingers, the origins of Champ’s murky, linear history starts in 1967 with a song called Tramp by blues artist Lowell Fulsom. While the original was a minor hit for Fulsom, it had slightly more success as when it was covered later that year as a duet by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. Here’s where it takes a funny and somewhat confusing twist. Legendary reggae producer Harry Palmer, a Jamaican immigrant living in the UK and founder of Pama Records, puts together an Otis Redding tribute by Beverly Simmonds called Tribute to Otis Redding. Out of those same sessions came the keyboard driven instrumental called The Champ, based off Otis’ cover of Tramp, which then was turned into a single and credited to The Mohawks. Despite it’s deep funk/soul sound and it’s release on the notorious reggae label Pama, “The Mohawks” (who according to their press release we’re led by a reclusive “Morris Hawk”) were actually a made-up band of session musicians led by white BBC library composer Alan Hawkshaw. That said Hawkshaw was no slouch, being the Renaisance studio guy for such notables as Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Cliff Richard, David Bowie, and err, Olivia Newton John.
Champ would first pick up steam as a cult classic shortly after it’s release amongst fanatical UK skinhead (the nice kind) record collectors who snatched up anything they could find on the Pama/Supreme labels.
It wasn’t until years later, beginning in the 80s (starting with Afrika Bambaataa) where it would see it’s most infamous revival, as the drum break du jor for the burgeoning hip-hop movement to where, in a testament to it’s sound, it is still widely used today.
Despite all that rich history and notoriety however there is sadly only a small, but still quite funky, handful of covers. In an almost bizzaro world situation to it’s original origins, we start with Jamaica’s normally reggae Brother Lloyd’s All Stars with their funk version of Champ re-rechristened Tramp. Next is a rare cut from 60s German beat group The German Top Five. And lastly two more versions, one from 80s hip-hop unknowns Throwdown and the other live funk take from Stone’s Throw/Ubiquity/Strut camp, Breakestra.

Brother Lloyd’s All Stars – The Tramp (AKA The Champ)
The German Top Five – The Champ
Throwdown – The Champ
Breakestra – Champ (VG edit)


PS Got some extra special bonus beats for those in THEE VERSIONS GALORE FACEBOOK FANCLUB.
NOTE: This is a NEW VERSIONS GALORE FACEBOOK FANCLUB page as Facebook was kind enough to destroy the looks and function of the old one with another one of their unwelcome ‘updates’. PLEASE be sure to visit the new page and click ‘Like’ to transfer over to our new digs…

Lactose Tolerant

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Let me describe how it went down the first time I heard Milkman by electronic music auteur Aphex Twin:

Hey what is this? Oh it’s a new Aphex Twin album! Haha look at his grinning face on the cover, cheeky bastard. Let me put it on.

‘I wish the milkman would deliver my milk, in the morning…’

‘Whoah, he’s actually singing, like when does THAT ever happen?’

‘I wish the milkman would deliver my milk, when im yawning.’

HAHAHA this song couldn’t get any cuter if there was a basket of kitttens on top.

‘I would like some milk from the milkman’s wife’s tits…’

SCREEEEEeeeeeeecchh…. ‘SAY %$#@! WHAT?!!?!?!’

Whenever it seems that the uncompromising Richard D James (AKA Aphex Twin) will go down in chin scratching music history as our generation’s Stockhausen or Philip Glass, along comes tracks like Milkman, Windowlicker or Come to Daddy for him to throw a spork into the strings of people’s expectations (and thankfully not without a dash of humor).
Well having RDJ lay down the rare vocal for Milkman that made it that much riper to cover than say Ventolin or Gwely Mernans. And with that we have two even cheekier versions; a peppy acoustic one from Axe Riverboy AKA Xavier from Tahiti 80, and a delightfully obnoxious indie one from Born Ruffians who pair theirs with a cover Aphex’s To Cure A Weakling Child. Now everyone sing along ‘I WOULD LIKE SOME MILK FROM THE MILKMAN’S WIFE’S TITS…’

Axe Riverboy – Milkman
Born Ruffians – Milkman/To Cure A Weakling Child


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub lacking in calcium (or just the essentials of electronica), got the original on the wall for you…

Flashback Friday:Something More

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Today’s Flashback Friday is a blast from the not too distant past.
Shortly after compiling my original post on More Than This by Roxy Music, along came New Zealander Lance Ferguson AKA Lanu (from the always inspiring Tru Thoughts stable) with a cheeky little electronic French language cover.

Lanu – More Than This


PS Check out the original post here…

Back To Africa

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Never thought I’d see the day when I would type ‘Hey everyone, guess what!? Got some AWESOME Toto covers for you today’, but amazingly enough that day has arrived.
Got 3ish versions of their Serengeti yacht rockin’ hit Africa. Kicking off is a funky brass band cover from The Hackney Colliery Band. Next,  for cosmic disco fans is two versions, both regular and dubbed out, by 80s Italos Key of Dreams. And lastly a tidy little indie, almost math rock-like, rendition by Lowry.

The Hackney Colliery Band – Africa
Key of Dreams – Africa
Key Of Dreams – Africa (Dub Version)
Lowry – Africa


PS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who can’t get enough square, skinny knit ties, got a great little re-edit on the wall for you…

Master Of My Domain

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

So the other day somebody was asking me about my selection process ie, how do I decide on what the day’s cover is going to be? While how I get inspired to do a certain post always varies, the first question I always ask myself is always; Do I actually like any of the covers presented? Very rare is the posterity post. If I hate the original or the cover, tough titties I ain’t featuring it. Today’s post is a perfect example. Originally I set out to tackle Stripped by Depeche Mode. Instead of finding an amazing bossa nova rendition or a wonderfully bad lounge cover I spent a good half day weeding through shit-trance after shit-goth version. Or at best sifting through pointless note for note synth covers from comps with names like a Lithuanian/Estonian Industrial Tribute To Depeche Mode.
While I did manage to find a couple of decent ones, Stripped just didn’t merit a post.
Demoralised but not dejected, I then remembered that I was sitting on a pile of crackin’ twang/cowboy-inspired Nouvelle Vague renditions of Master & Servant. Diggin through the archives I also found Locust‘s downtempo/lounge version; a classical one from the reliable The String Quartet Tribute To… series; an instrumental surf cut from Surfpatrouille; a screaming psychobilly rendition from Thee Flanders and even a lullaby Master & Servant cover by Depeche Mode for Babies (which when you think about it is actually kind of disturbing). And lastly I also managed to scare up two lo-fi, whisper quiet acoustic versions from Holly And The Dead Saints and the little charmer that is Sian Williams.

Nouvelle Vague feat. Martin L.Gore – Master And Servant
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Live Amsterdam 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Live Barcelona 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Live Dortmund 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Live Munich 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Live Utrecht Tivoli 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Live Vienna 2009)
Nouvelle Vague – Master And Servant (Paris 2009)
Locust – Master And Servant
The String Quartet Tribute To Depeche Mode – Master And Servant
Thee Flanders – Master And Servant
Depeche Mode for Babies – Master And Servant
Surfpatrouille – Master And Servant
Holly And The Dead Saints – Master And Servant
Sian Williams – Master And Servant


Domestic Bliss

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Somewhat hot off the presses is cover version pin up boy Mark Ronson tackling Solitude is Bliss by Australia’s Tame Impala.
Impala’s Innerspeaker with it’s layered indie spacerock meets 60s Laurel Canyon sound easily made it my favorite album of 2010 (and bleeding into this year too for that matter), and a sound that the normally poppier Ronson pulls off with aplomb.

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Solitude Is Bliss


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who still think Tame Impala is some sort of mid-sized family sedan, got the original on the wall for you…