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Archive for July, 2011

Eugene McDaniels (1935 -2011) RIP

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

A bit saddened to hear that another of my fave soul/funk artists Eugene McDaniels (AKA Gene McDaniels) passed away yesterday.
While his reputation amongst beat junkies and rare groove collectors is set in wax, I would definitely label him obscure to the average Jake Blues. However anyone owning a copy of Tribe Called Quest’s “People’s Instinctive Travels…” may recall the snippets of McDaniel’s eerie Jagger The Dagger playing betwixt interludes.
Eugene started out his career in the early 60s as ‘Gene McDaniels’ making top 40 fluff like Tower of Strength and A Hundred Pounds of Clay but by the late 60s he eschewed the Sam Cooke schtick for blacker, more conscious waters. By the early 70s, with albums like Outlaw and Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse a more wildly indignant brother (save maybe Gil Scott Heron) you’d be hard pressed to meet.
Personally, I think nothing sums up self righteous apathy quite like his big tongue-in-cheek, ‘fuck you-got mine’ track than today’s entry Cherrystones. Despite being sampled quite heavily, McDaniels covers run obscure to nil. However I was able to scare up a rather out there jazz-funk version by Blue Note Hammond whiz (and occasional collaborator), Jimmy Smith.

Jimmy Smith – Cherrystones


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub not familiar with the original, trust me you want this…



In The Mood

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

When he wasn’t busy banishing Joy Division’s rhythm section to rainy rooftops of Manchester, pulling a Magnum on Tony Wilson, or shooting enough smack to take down a Brontosaurus, Factory Record’s house engineer/auteur/genius Martin Hannett was twiddling knobs for lesser known FACs, like South Bronx’s ESG (aka Emerald, Sapphire and Gold). Made up of a trio of Scroggins sisters and a rotating cast of session musicians, ESGs experimental funk paved the way for such duel syllabic 80s genres as Post-Disco, Post-Punk, No Wave, Dance Punk and due to their lengthy, sparse and easily plundered ‘breaks’ sections, Hip-Hop. Those copping to their influence include such disparate acts as the Wu Tang Clan, The Clash, Liars, Beastie Boys, LCD Soundsystem, and pretty much every band that came out of NYC in the early 2000s.
And some others, perhaps looking to earn a gold star from Pitchfork, went the extra 4 bars and covered them. Like today’s feature; five versions of ESG‘s cymball-ic Moody. Kicking it Old Skull quite amazingly are The Green Door Kids; a pair of 10 year old twins from Ghana who whose youthful hyperactivity no doubt manages to keep ESGs loose and informal poly-rhythms intact. Getting moodier is an outdoor recorded acoustic version from waif-ish copycats Nouvelle Vague. Extra wah-wah comes in the form of obscure 90s indie artist Rig (produced ironically enough by A Certain Ratio’s Liam Mullan). And lastly, two proper house/disco cuts from Bomb The Bass and Sessomato.

The Green Door Kids – Moody
Nouvelle Vague –  Moody
Rig –  Moody
Bomb The Bass –  Moody
Sessomato –  Moody


PS Lots of big, bold and beautiful bonus beats (AKA originals and remixes) for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub.

Got A Light?

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Light My Fire, man, there were a ton of these. I could have easily done a whole post on, say, just lounge versions or weirdo/outsider versions or beat ones. However I finally settled on a whopping 40 soul/funk/rare groove covers of The Doors‘ biggest and brightest, to which I’m sure a debt of gratitude goes to Ray Manzarek’s signature organ inspiring many a funky cut.
While all these are deep fried goodness, my two picks of the litter have to be a mind bending funk-psych-sitar version from Ananda Shankar, the funkiest Indian to ever walk this earth and a soulful Jamaican cut from the aptly named Soul Sam.

Ananda Shankar – Light My Fire
Soul Sam – Light My Fire
Spanky Wilson – Light My Fire
Erma Franklin – Light My Fire

Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire

André Brasseur – Light My Fire
Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm BandLight My Fire
Etta James – Light My Fire
Chor Und Orchester Horst Jankowski – Light My Fire
Clarence Carter – Light My Fire
Ripley – Light My Fire
Deep Blue Organ Trio –Light My Fire
Ebony Rhythm Band – Light My Fire
Wynton Kelly – Light My Fire
Brian Sharp – Light My Fire
Minnie Riperton & Jose Feliciano – Light My Fire
M.B.P. Mix – Light My Fire
El Chicano – Light My Fire
Friedrich Gulda – Light My Fire
Isaac Hayes – Light My Fire (Live)
Young Holt Unlimited – Light My Fire
Africa – Light My Fire
Al Green – Light My Fire
Billy Larkin & The Delegates – Light My Fire
Bo Baral – Light My Fire
Boogaloo Joe Jones – Light My Fire
Booker T & The M.G.’s – Light My Fire
Jackie Wilson – Light My Fire
Jose Feliciano – Light My Fire
Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger – Light My Fire
Minnie Riperton & Jose Feliciano – Light My Fire
Montefiori Cocktail – Dammi Fuoco (AKA Light My Fire)
Rhetta Hughes – Light My Fire
Stevie Wonder – Light My Fire
Tammi Lynn – Light My Fire
The Four Tops – Light My Fire
The New London Rhythm & Blues Band – Light My Fire
The Soul Merchants – Light My Fire
Woody Herman – Light My Fire
Massive Attack – Light My Fire (Live)


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub still questing for more Light My Fires, have a some bonus soul re-edit/remixs on the wall for y’all…




Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Got a quick one for you today; William Michael Albert Broad, the spiky
lad who made all the girls lose their collective shit during the 80s (and
as urban myth may have had it, Lita Ford, who once famously quipped ‘I’d
sit on his face’) AKA Billy Idol. And speaking of faces we got four covers
of Eyes Without A Face.
My top pick for today is a synthpop cover by Greco electro hotties Marsheaux. I’m also digging Lotte Kestner‘s sweet indie-lullaby of a cover. Good for a laugh, or maybe your grandparents 50th anniversary party, is a campy lounge cut by Paul Anka. Also good for a chuckle is The BossHoss and their hayseed country version, which actually has a kind of amazing slide guitar solo. And lastly, sounding a bit like Shirley Bassey, is a jazzy downtempo cover by Italy’s Smoma.

Marsheaux – Eyes Without A Face
Lotte Kestner – Eyes Without A Face
Paul Anka – Eyes Without A Face
The BossHoss – Eyes Without A Face
Smoma – Eyes Without A Face



Boxed Whine

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Do you see that crabby looking old bat up there, the one who looks like she’d wander the earth, down into the deep dark recesses of some Bangkok whorehouse, just for your overdue library books? That’s Malvina Reynolds, and in my opinion she wrote one of the finest punk songs ever. Well that’s not entirely accurate as her 1962 song Little Boxes is, yes, technically folk, but it’s message of suburban disdain led one critic to call it “the most sanctimonious song ever written”. That said Boxes is not without it’s humor either. Her sarcastic almost Carter Family tone describes both the rows of nondescript homes, and it’s inhabitants whose lives are on a seemingly infinite conveyor belt, as being “all made out of ticky tacky. And they all look just the same”. On a personal note, Reynolds gets a second high five from me for basing this song on the sprawling, philistine filled s–thole, that constitutes Daly City, California (those from the Peninsula, you know exactly what I talking about).
So here’s 40-something versions of Little Boxes, a good grip of which have been getting much play on Showtime’s Weeds (which I still haven’t seen yet. I’m more of an HBO kind of guy). Seems an odd way to kick off but I’m really digging all the foreign versions like late bossa nova beauty Nara Leão‘s Brazillian/Portugese cut; two French ones from Graeme Allwright and Kate & Anna McGarrigle; some Spanish versions from Victor Jara (Chile), Adolfo Celdrán (Spain) and a disco cut from Kinky (Mexico); and lastly a Russian(?) cover from Persephone’s Bees (who are actually from Oakland).
Also sounding quite worldy (but in English) is a Peruvian influenced Ozomatli, a Brazillian Zeep, and Angélique Kidjo with her Benin/Afropop cover.
Breaking the mold today is lo-fi electronica from The Submarines; two classical cuts from Christopher O’Riley (yes the Radiohead guy) and Charles Barnett; hip hop from The Individuals and ‘used to kinda be hip hop but just now doing his own thing’ the undisposable Michael Franti.
As for the rest, all (great!) folk or some distant cousin thereof.

Nara Leão – Little Boxes
Graeme Allwright – Petites Boites (Little Boxes)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Petites Boites (Little Boxes)
Victor Jara – Las Casitas Del Barrio Alto (Little Boxes ‘El Derecho’ version)
Victor Jara – Las Casitas Del Barrio Alto (Little Boxes ‘Hable y Canta’ version)
Adolfo Celdrán – Cajitas (Little Boxes)
Kinky – Little Boxes
Persephone’s Bees – Little Boxes

Ozomatli – Little Boxes
Zeep – Smoking Boxes (AKA Little Boxes)
Angelique Kidjo – Little Boxes

The Submarines – Little Boxes
Christopher O’Riley – Little Boxes (Live Tallahassee 2006)
Charles Barnett – Little Boxes
The Individuals – Little Boxes
Michael Franti – Little Boxes

Aidan Hawken – Little Boxes
Billy Bob Thorton – Little Boxes
Death Cab For Cutie – Little Boxes
Devendra Banhart – Little Boxes
Dick Rosmini – Little Boxes
Donovan – Little Boxes
Elvis Costello – Little Boxes
Engelbert Humperdinck – Little Boxes
Jenny Lewis & Johnathan Rice – Little Boxes
Joan Baez – Little Boxes
Laurie Berkner – Little Boxes
Man Man – Little Boxes
Nina & Frederik – Little Boxes
Pete Seeger – Little Boxes (Live)
Pete Seeger – Little Boxes
Randy Newman – Little Boxes
Regina Spektor – Little Boxes
The Decemberists – Little Boxes (Weeds version)
The Decemberists – Little Boxes
The Fools – Little Boxes
The real Tuesday Weld – Little Boxes
The Shins – Little Boxes
Tim Delaughter – Little Boxes
Tres Tigres Tristes – Little Boxes
Womenfolk – Little Boxes


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, or denizens of Daly City longing to hear their national anthem, got the original on the wall for you…


Call Me Al

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I’m sure in some small part we can thank UB40 for the 90s big revival of Al Green, but I’ll stop short at spitting a reggae purist’s vitriol. To be fair their first two albums were brilliant compliments to the UKs 2 tone era (though not 2-Tone, note caps). Plus they’ve never shied away from copping to their influences, even if it meant an entire albums worth of covers to prove it. However to be more precise, in an echo chamber of gratitude and authenticity, UBs tributes were never laid at the original authors feet, but instead to their Jamaican heroes. Indeed Red Red Wine wasn’t fashioned after Neil, rather in the image of obscure rocksteady singer Tony Tribe.
Likewise their version of today’s cut, Green’s Here I Am (Come And Take Me) owes it’s debt to Paragons founding member Al Brown‘s soulful Jamaican version. That said all of these reggae versions below are worthy successors to Al Green‘s uplifting original (however a little extra attention should be shown to Marcia Griffiths‘ soul injected cut), so UB40 be damned.

Al Brown – Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
Marcia Griffiths – Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
Pluto Shervington – Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
Owen Grey – Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
Bill Campbell – Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
Jacob Miller & Inner Circle – Here I Am (Come And Take Me)


PS Original for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, because like why the hell not, it’s Al Green.


Worldly Affairs

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Everyone’s favorite pulsating Parisians (and End of Line house act), Daft Punk are on the 1s and 2s today with 7 covers of their first big hit, Around The World.
I’m going to let next big duo in house, Benoit & Sergio, start things off with a pitched down to a sluggish head nod, cosmic disco cover. Getting even more electro, and certainly more punk, is Modular records’s Nicky Van She & Dangerous Dan. Rounding the world a bit further is the cha-cha antics of our Alemán in South America, Señor Coconut. And speaking of Germany, and nepotism at it’s finest, is a jazzy piano version by my good friend’s brother Christian Prommer’s Drumlesson (AKA Truby Trio, Fauna Flash). Also tearing up the ivories is a classical cut by Maxence Cyrin. For those that no parlo Inglese (or disco Française for that matter) is a fun indie Italian version from Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti. And lastly drop a quarter for The Listrix 8 bit/chiptune rendition.

Benoit & Sergio – Around The World
Nicky Van She & Dangerous Dan – Around The World
Señor Coconut and his Orchestra – Around The World
Christian Prommer’s Drumlesson – Around The World
Maxence Cyrin – Around The World
Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti – Around The World
The Listrix – Around The World



Breaking Taboos

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

I’m back! This time with four covers of dinner jazz classic Sweetest Taboo by the perennially classy Sade.
Getting much play around the Stotch household and hot off the presses is a deconstructed leftfield house version from Slow Hands which sounds like it’s already been washed through the re-edit process. Next is Nona with a jazzy downtempo rendition. Bring back up the tempo is a not half bad drum & bass cut from J&J. And lastly is the much (deservedly) hyped experimental electronics of
Hype Williams and their lo-fi ‘cover’ which has all the reverb and atmosphere of a still smoldering bong in your living room at 4am after you’ve left the TV on.

Slow Hands – Sweetest Taboo
Nona – Sweetest Taboo
J&J – Sweetest Taboo
Hype Williams – The Throning (AKA Sweetest Taboo)


PS Speaking of re-dits, got two of them on the wall for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub… 


Third Time’s A Charm

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Wow, Versions Galore has officially turned 3 today, Happy Birthday to me!
And in another milestone of sorts, my glorified little hobby recently passed the 600K hit mark too!
However my Promethean task of bringing you the cream of leftfield electronic, funk, soul, 80s, reggae, Britpop, indie, bossanova (and more!) covers would surely run out of steam like a fat kid in 4th period track if it weren’t for the encouraging words from my regular readers. To which a hearty ‘thanks’ is in order to such fine folk as Pauline, Jonder, Thomas R, Taz 160, Eric F, James M, Bootzilla, Jo/No, Ste, Brad K, Paul S (fellow Aqueline enthusiast), Tim Acidhouse, David M, Stephen R, Klaus H, E-mile, Marco on The Bass, David P@TheDailySwarm, Nicholas H, funky-1, Jackie Treehorn, the Aquarium Drunkard peeps and Alejandro, Stellavista & Fong (wherever you guys are these days). Oh and to all you ungrateful, heartless, un-thanking leechy little bastards, thank you too. 🙂
So in a way of saying thanks I’ve made you all, dear readers, a present:
VG3 A special anniversary reggae/dub mix. Jamaican-ized cover versions galore from Blur to Blondie to Diana Ross and Daft Punk, some familiar, some new.


Enjoy! (And with that I’m taking the week off…)

PS Those inThee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, track list for you up on the wall.
For those that ain’t, join here…


Big On Japan

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’m sure, somewhere out there in cyberspace, sits David Sylvian in a darkened basement furiously hitting the ‘Delete’ key on all existent photos like these. While pretty much all the ex-members of long defunk 80s avant-glam act Japan are still somewhat embarrassed of their New York Dolls-freshman phase (save the late Mick Karn, RIP) there were still some great moments to be had from their debut. One track in particular, the disco-inflected Adolescent Sex presaged what was to come with their middle period work with Giorgio Moroder, where they would wisely drop their faux Fender ferocity for fine feathered Fairlights (say that 10 times fast!).
Speaking of, hot off the presses comes a cover of Adolescent Sex by one of my fave leftfield disco acts Headman (via his sublime Relish Recordings imprint). No embarrassment here…

Headman – Adolescent Sex (Extended Vocal Version)


PS Valued members of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub (and Duran Duran fans curious to know where Simon & Co., plundered their, like, everything from) got the original on the wall for you…