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Archive for August, 2011

What’s Mine Is Yours

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Nowhere near as ubiquitous as 1999, When Doves Cry or Kiss or anywhere as dirty as say Darling Nikki, When You Were Mine, by Prince is still a perennial favorite amongst the die-hards and, judging by the small grip of covers today, fellow musicians as well. It’s a simple, stellar piece of heartbreak pop that, despite being released in 1980, could have easily been heard coming out of some Detroit jukebox sandwiched somewhere between The Shirelles and The Shangri-Las. Fun fact: this one was written before Prince started implementing his creative spelling, hence no When U Were Mine.
Like I mentioned above, I’ve assembled a flock of Versions-worthy covers today. Leading with the faves I’m really digging the self explanatory Casiotone For The Painfully Alone‘s fun lo-fi synth pop version. 80’s No Wave chanteuse Cristina always gets high marks around these parts, and her quirk and jerk synth pop doesn’t disappoint. I’m also loving lesser known 90s act Ida and their painfully simple (but then that’s the way it should be) twee-ish indie cut.
Breaking the mold somewhat today is Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele with a (duh) ukelele version and a banjo ballad tribute from Crooked Fingers.
From the east came 3 pop-punk-esque versions from Japan; Cigaretteman, The Pillows and Coaltar of the Deepers (who are technically a little closer to experimental than punk).
Pulled from That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice? album comes the unfortunately nom-ed Dump (aka Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew) with a however great shoegaze influenced version.
I’m gonna cop out at this point with the long descriptors and just lump the last set of  various standard sounding but still decent versions from Bette Bright (New Wave/50s), Blue Rubies (Lilith Fair-folk), Grinspoon (rock), Hi-Fi (80s) and Tegan and Sara (indie-folk).
And lastly, I got to give it up for Cyndi Lauper from whom I heard this song for the first time when I was around twelve-ish (mostly due to receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen copies of She’s So Unusual for my Bar Mitzvah that year).

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – When You Were Mine
Cristina – When You Were Mine
Ida – When You Were Mine
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele – When You Were Mine
Crooked Fingers – When You Were Mine
Cigaretteman – When You Were Mine
The Pillows – When You Were Mine
Coaltar of the Deepers – When You Were Mine
Dump – When You Were Mine
Bette Bright – When You Were Mine
Blue Rubies – When You Were Mine
Grinspoon – When You Were Mine
Hi-Fi – When You Were Mine
Tegan and Sara – When You Were Mine
Cyndi Lauper – When You Were Mine


PS Original version for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub…

Know Thy Limits

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

I’m out of town for a few days, leaving in about an hour in fact, but here’s a nice one to tide you over for the next few. Painfully minimal dubstep (or is that just redundant) auteur James Blake, flexes his vocals chords for the first time for a surprisingly sublime and soulful dubby cover of Limit To Your Love by the Canadian hotness that is Feist (co-penned with her infamous pal and old roomy Chilly Gonzalez).

James Blake – Limit To Your Love


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who haven’t developed a massive crush on Feist yet, now’s your chance; original version on the wall for you…

What A Wookie

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

The UK really has the formula on lock down when it comes to innovating new dance music; Bass + Beat / Soul = Yet another amazing new electronic genre. Then every few years they just fatten and improve the bass a bit, reshuffle the beats, let the soul stay timeless (circa early 70s timeless) and voila!, new sound. So back in the late 90s/early aughts sprung yet another of their brilliant innovations; 2 Step Garage. Using house music as a blueprint (and to some degree a likkle jungle/drum & bass), 2-Step upped the BPM pitch, while dubbing and wobbling it’s baseline. Also quite signature was it’s dispensing of the ubiquitous 4/4 beat in favor of an erratic, almost faltering drum pattern. Noted champions included a solid UK roster of Artful Dodger, MJ Cole, Zed Bias and today’s feature Wookie. While short lived (about 2 – 3 years) 2 Step’s progeny would eventually go on to start the oh-so-hot-now dubstep and grime movements.
And with that micro history lesson on a micro-genre here’s one from Diplo’s Mad Decent stable, the eclectic Mumdance (featuring Esser) with an almost pitch perfect tribute to Wookie‘s big single Battle. The 2 Step revival starts here!

Mumdance feat. Esser – Battle


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who still think 2-step is how their relatives in back in Arkanasas whoop it up a saturday night, got the original on the wall for you…

Sea Worthy

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Sea Lion Woman, or as it is alternatively known, See Line Woman, C-Lime Woman, See Lyin’ Woman (and more!) is a traditional southern African-American folk song dating at least back to sometime in the late 1800s. While it’s genesis is murky, it’s thought to have possibly originated as a Gullah children’s song. It’s first recording was in 1939 by American anthropologist and folklorist Herbert Halpert, as a field recording of two Misissippi girls, Christine and Katherine Shipp. The daughters of a sharecropping-minister father and a choir-director mother, their original haunting voices often find themselves these days sampled and woven into electronica songs.
One who truly recaptured it and made it her own was blues and jazz singer Nina Simone in 1964 (as See-Line Woman), so much so that it’s often mistakenly attributed to her. Her cover also added a signature percussive element that pretty much lays down the groundwork for all modern incarnations.
It recently enjoyed yet another revival in 2007 via indie darling Feist, who punctuated her version with rhythmic electronic bleeps and a rawkus guitar.
So today besides the Simone and Feist’s covers, we have a few more notable renditions. Playing favorites I’m going to lead with a couple of cuts by Manchester’s finest (and Factory Records first act) The Durutti Column AKA Vini Reilly, who drops the Shipp sisters into his electronic and guitar cuts. Giving it up to the ladies is stellar version by Brooklyn’s all-female Afrobeat outfit Femm Nameless. Other versions I’m also really digging is obscure 80s lo-fi post punk act Bona Dish. There were also some standout cuts by 60s Australian mod outfit The Easybeats, straight ahead jazz legend Yusef Lateef, indie Canucks The Constantines, as well as deep south-banjo version by the beardy Matt Bauer.
Not immune to Sea Lion‘s infectious rhythm is a set of great deep house cuts by The Songstress (AKA Kerri Chandler and Jerome Sydenham), Brandt & Chevallier (ft. Ian Simmonds), Margaret Grace, Wattie Green and The People Movers as well as a more Afro-house sounding one from Andrea Is A Male Name . Soundtrack composer du jour, for the likes of the Coen brothers and more, Carter Burwell builds a rather epic sounding cut for his The General’s Daughter soundtrack which also incorporates the ominous sounding Shipp recordings.
And lastly on the bluesier side is the swampy Istanbul Blues Kumpanyasi, Brian Kennedy, Arno feat The White Trash European Blues Connection, Magnus Carlsson and the Moon Ray Quintet, Ollabelle, Randy Crawford & Joe Sample and Rory Block.

Nina Simone – Sea Line Woman
Nina Simone – Sea Line Woman (Play Me The Blues version)
Nina Simone – Sea Lion Woman (Live My Way version)

Feist – Sea Lion Woman
Feist – Sea Lion Woman (Wien 2007)
Feist – Sea Lion Woman (Bonnaroo 2007)

The Durutti Column – Sea Line Woman
The Durutti Column – Sea Line Woman (Live BBC 2008)
Femm Nameless – See Line Woman
Bona Dish – Sea Line Woman
The Easybeats – See Line Woman
Yusef Lateef – Sea Line Woman
The Constantines – Sea Line Woman
Matt Bauer – Sea Lion Woman
Matt Bauer – Sea Lion Woman (Hinah session)

The Songstress (AKA Kerri Chandler and Jerome Sydenham) – Sea Line Woman
Brandt & Chevallier ft. Ian Simmonds – See Line Woman
Margaret Grace – See Line Woman
Wattie Green – Sea Lion Woman
The People Movers – C Lime Woman
Andrea Is A Male Name – See Line Woman 3D

Carter Burwell – She Began To Lie (Sea Lion Woman)

Istanbul Blues Kumpanyasi – Sea Line Woman
Brian Kennedy – See Line Woman
Arno feat The White Trash European Blues Connection – See Line Woman
Magnus Carlsson and the Moon Ray Quintet – See Line Woman
Randy Crawford & Joe Sample – See Line Woman
Ollabelle – See Line Woman (Riverside Battle Songs version)
Ollabelle – See Line Woman (Before This Time version)
Rory Block – Sea Lion Woman


PS For the fortunate family of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, have the original Shipp Sisters’ recording as well a a big grab bag of remixes and re-edits for you….

Currency Exchange

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

One that will surely make the Scissor Sisters burn with envy for covering the wrong track; a slow and sleazy 70s cosmic disco version of Pink Floyd‘s lacerating Money by Italos Rosebud. Keep your hands off my stack.

Rosebud – Money


Midnight Snack

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Being more than a bit of a purist (I think the correct term is irritating snob) it’s next to impossible for me to get behind any reggae that doesn’t emanate from Jamaica, or limited situations, the UK. It’s a music whose soul springs more from the day to day social struggles of living in those locales rather than, say, a particularly grueling semester at Cal State Long Beach.
However another island is being given a free pass today; New Zealand. More exciting than Lord of The Rings, Gary The Sheep or the great Te Pahu Tooth Brush Fence is the 7-strong, multicultural posse that is Fat Freddy’s Drop. That ‘soul’ thing I mentioned earlier, they’ve got it by the bushel.
Enter Berlin, great town for dub. Also home to Fat Freddy’s label Sonar Kollektiv (purveyors of great soulful electronica) and the Sonar Kollektiv Orchester who re-version FFD’s Midnight Marauders in a dubby orchestral style.

Sonar Kollektiv Orchester – Midnight Marauders


PS A nickel bag of original Marauders for those Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub…

Flashback Friday: Wordy Opponents

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Pint sized Parisian sexpot (and no stranger to 80s tributes), Uffie returns with a track she seemed born to cover; Wordy Rappinghood by The Tom Tom Club. Being a Flashback Friday today long time members of Versions Galore will recall that we already tackled some great renditions of Wordy back in 2008, but Uffie’s hot off the presses cut is a fine and funky addition.

Uffie – Wordy Rappinghood

Check out the original post here…


Up To No Good

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I’m going to skip over blethering about the recent tragedy altogether and just drop this track;’ the Queen of Rockabilly’ Wanda Jackson (with a little help from Jack White) marks an epic sounding return and steals the show with this soul/60s beat cover of You Know That I’m No Good by the late Amy Winehouse. Big, bright, brilliant and wouldn’t be out of place in the golden go-go era of Vegas.

Wanda Jackson – You Know That I’m No Good


Just Say Daa

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The soundtrack to countless pieces of broken furniture during my childhood ‘breakdance’ phase is today’s entry, electro classic Din Daa Daa AKA Trommeltanz by George Kranz.
Released in 1983 it quickly achieved cult status amongst B-boy/girl set and has been sampled quite heavily by the likes of everyone from M/A/R/R/S to the Ying Yang Twins. Oh and it made an appearance in Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo as well, but I’m not sure how brag-worthy that last tidbit is.
Have a couple of Versions-worthy covers today; a sublime live drum/band sounding cut from The Roots and baile-influenced Berliner Daniel Haaksman with an electro/broken beat version.

The Roots – Din Daa Daa
Daniel Haaksman – Din Daa Daa


PS Bonus beats for B-boys and girls of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub

Raggedy Andy

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Happy Birthday Andy!
If it isn’t obvious already to anyone who wasn’t asleep and drooling on their matte boards during junior college art class, my illustration style is pretty heavily influenced by Andy Warhol. Had the doctors not operated on him with all the sophistication and grace of a pack Juggalos huffing Redbull, he would have been 83 today.
So in tribute to the lovable oddball got several off beat/eccentric/off kilter covers of David Bowie‘s eponymous track. Starting off are two obscure 80s new wave versions from Germany’s Freunde Der Nacht and Sweden’s Zzzang Tumb. More 80s Euro cuts come in the form of an outsider folk version(think Daniel Johnston) from France’s Deux Pingouins and a loud rocking Spanish language cut from Spain’s Pop Deco. About as normal as you’ll get this posting is a Glam-lite version from 70s sexpot Dana Gillespie (for whom Bowie penned the song for originally) and Glam-downtempo/electronic cut from The Metrosexuals.

Freunde Der Nacht – Andy Warhol
Zzzang Tumb – Andy Warhol
Deux Pingouins – Andy Warhol
Pop Deco – Andy Warhol
Dana Gillespie – Andy Warhol
The Metrosexuals – Andy Warhol


PS  Happy Birthday to those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclubthere’s an original on the wall for ya…

Reptilian Agenda

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Short, sweet, obscure and sombre today.
Been digging Portland duo Talkdemonic, and their math-rock cover of (quite literally) unsung  Brian Eno track Sombre Reptiles.

Talkdemonic – Sombre Reptiles


PS Bonus original Reptiles for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub

Blurry Visions

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

“Avoiding all work. Cos there’s none available”

It’s August, it’s miserably hot, and no one is around, least of all any of my clients.
So what better time then to whip out the merrily misanthropic Euro-holiday anthem, Girls & Boys by Blur.
Out Parklife-ing the Parklife is Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats, who drags his Girls & Boys back into the pub for a night of drunken cabaret. It’s hard to take the Nouvelle Vague out of it’s singer Mélanie Pain (not a bad thing btw) who covers hers in the usual breezy acoustic lounge fashion. And lastly, ist sehr schön, is a dinner jazz cut by Eva’s Sparrow.

Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats – Girls & Boys
Mélanie Pain – Girls & Boys
Eva’s Sparrow – Girls & Boys