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Archive for June, 2012

Flashback Friday:Getting The Led Out

Friday, June 29th, 2012

It’s Flashback Friday and today we are re-visting our whole lotta covers post of a Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin.
So here are a few I slept on as well as some new-ish ones. First is a incredible and somewhat cinematic sounding soul/funk version from 1971 by King Curtis & The Kingpins. Next a sparse dubby downtempo electronic cut from TransMoGri-Fi and lastly a swing/rockabilly cover by Italy’s Sugarpie and the Candymen (from the ever reliable Irma Records label)

King Curtis & The Kingpins – Whole Lotta Love
TransMoGri-Fi – Whole Lotta Love
Sugarpie and the Candymen – Whole Lotta Love

Check out the original post here…


PS Members of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub it’s your lucky day, also re-upped the bonus Whole Lotta… re-edits for ya…

The Velvet Touch

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Much like our I Feel For You post from the other day, today’s featured track Comin’ Home Baby also started out with both humble and attributed origins. Originally written as an jazz instrumental by Ben Tucker it was tucked queitly away on The Dave Bailey Quartet’s 1961 album Two Feet in the Gutter. Less than a year later however it was given new life when Bob Dorough (later of School House Rock fame) added lyrics and then handed the reins over to silken voiced jazz singer Mel Tormé (AKA The Velvet Fog) who then turned it into a lounge classic. While in modern times the name Mel Tormé was usually bandied about as a punchline to many a corny joke and sitcom (Most notably Night Court and Seinfeld), the man was a perenial cocktail generation badass who started his singing career at age 4 and during his prime could out-swing Sinatra any day.
As you may have started to notice below we got an entire suburb’s tract of Homes (FYI as usual I weeded out all the self indulgent bad blues festival and ‘smooth’ jazz versions.)
Being a gentleman I’m letting to the ladies go first, starting with my favorite pick out of this rather large litter, a sultry French version (Ne T’En Vas Pas) by pouty  yé-yé pinup Sylvie Vartan. Other standout ladies from this group include the soulful Dee Dee Sharp, a garage rock number by The Delmonas (from the Billy Childish camp) y un versione que bueno para chicas bonitas, Las Taradas de Argentina.
Hot on their tales is my second favorite subgroup, surf and twang. We got a handful of various tempo instrumentals from The Surfaris, The Ventures, The Challengers, PJ & The Galaxies, Looney Tunes, Czechslovakia’s Mefistos, Italy’s I 5 Rizzo and one from the usually more punk inflected Fleshtones.
In the drawer marked ‘Misc’ are two Afro-Cubano cuts from Pepe Delgado and Ray and His Musical Court, a sweet 70s electro cosmic disco version from Mascara, a funky Italian rendition ( Sto Tornando Da Te) by Nicola Di Bari and two jazzy big beat/dance ones from 11 Acorn Lane and the Frank Popp Ensemble.
Next is the meat of this post, a grip of Mod/Soul Jazz/Soul/Freak Beat versions. If I were to pick a few stand outs I dig the brilliant soul/funk crooning cover from The Peddlers, the keyboards of Sexteto Electronico Moderno, the smooth and funky Vietnam – era Madam Laos In House Showgirl Band and the downer sounding Downliners Sect. As for the rest, all are pretty soild, so be sure to dig, ya dig?

The Ladies
Sylvie Vartan – Ne T’En Vas Pas (Comin’ Home Baby)
Dee Dee Sharp – Comin’ Home Baby
The Delmonas – Comin’ Home Baby
Las Taradas – Comin’ Home Baby
Ann Christine & The Renegades – Comin’ Home Baby
Francis Faye – Comin’ Home Baby

The Surfaris – Comin’ Home Baby
The Ventures – Comin’ Home Baby
The Challengers – Comin’ Home Baby
PJ & The Galaxies – Comin’ Home Baby
Looney Tunes – Comin’ Home Baby
Mefistos – Comin’ Home Baby
I 5 Rizzo – Comin’ Home Baby
The Fleshtones – Comin’ Home Baby

Pepe Delgado – Comin’ Home Baby
Ray and His Musical Court – Comin’ Home Baby
Mascara – Comin’ Home Baby
Nicola Di Bari – Sto Tornando Da Te (Comin’ Home Baby)
11 Acorn Lane – Comin’ Home Baby
Frank Popp Ensemble – Comin’ Home Baby

Mod/Soul Jazz/Soul/Freak Beat
The Peddlers – Comin’ Home Baby
Sexteto Electronico Moderno – Comin’ Home Baby
Madam Laos In House Showgirl Band – Comin’ Home Baby
Downliners Sect – Comin’ Home Baby
Attila Zoller and Claus Doldinger Group – Comin’ Home Baby
Barron Knights – Comin’ Home Baby
Big Six – Comin’ Home Baby
Booker T. & The MG’s – Comin’ Home Baby
Buddy Rich – Comin’ Home Baby
Bunnys – Comin’ Home Baby
Casey & His Group – Comin’ Home Baby
Claus Ogerman – Comin’ Home Baby
Danny Gatton – Comin’ Home Baby
Death Dealers – Comin’ Home Baby
Harry Stoneham & Johnny Eyden – Comin’ Home Baby
Herbie Mann – Comin’ Home Baby
Jan Akkerman – Comin’ Home Baby
Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson – Comin’ Home Baby
Johnny & The Hurricanes – Comin’ Home Baby
Kai Winding – Comin’ Home Baby
Klaus Doldinger – Comin’ Home Baby
Luther Johnson – Comin’ Home Baby
Madam Laos In House Showgirl Band – Comin’ Home Baby
Mark Wirtz – Comin’ Home Baby
Moe Koffman – Comin’ Home Baby
Monty Alexander – Comin’ Home Baby
Muddy Waters – Comin’ Home Baby
Paul Nero’s Blue Sounds – Comin’ Home Baby
Quincy Jones – Comin’ Home Baby
Sadao Watanabe – Comin’ Home Baby
Sergio Mendes – Comin’ Home Baby
The Ernie Freeman Combo – Fever/ Comin’ Home Baby
The Funky Muchachos – Comin’ Home Baby
The Kingsmen – Comin’ Home Baby
The New Apocalypse – Comin’ Home Baby
The Nocturnes – Comin’ Home Baby
The Soulful Strings – Comin’ Home Baby
Trax Four – Comin’ Home Baby


PS Cool cats and kitties of Thee Version Galore Facebook Fanclub, got the original(s) and a bonus bit for you on the wall…

Can I Kick It?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Here’s another of Detroit’s beloved enigmas, the incomparable Moodymann (AKA Kenny Dixon). Like a lot of the electronic musicians from those parts, he takes in a bit of his hometown’s soul, funk and disco DNA and infuses it with classic house and Mo’ city techno. He is also known to be quite outspoken and can often be heard extolling the virtues of vinyl (of which he is a vocal member of the Vinyl Preservation Society) and keeping the black in techno and house. While his reputed sanctimonious demeanor can make him come off as electronica’s Ian Mckaye or Steve Albini, Kenny is not without a sense of humor either, as evidenced on tracks like Untitled.
If ever Moodymann had a #1 single it would arguably be I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits. And in a stroke genius Leech, from Portland’s utterly excellent Ecstasy records imprint, re-crafts I Can’t… into a Chic-inspired reggae number.
I can’t kick this feeling indeed.

Leech – I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits


PS Potential Moody converts of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got the original on the wall for you. For Moody disciples, got you a re-edit (also on the wall)…

Chak Therapy

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I Feel For You by Chaka Khan is one of those songs that is so strong on it’s own, so ubiquitous, that people hardly recognize that it was actually a cover in the first place. The original was in fact a semi-obscure track by Prince from his 1979 debut album. However it wasn’t until Khan had plucked it out of semi-obscurity in 1985 and , with a little help from Melle Me added the much recognized, oft parodied ‘CHH-CHH-CCHHHHHHAKKKKKA KHAN’, that anyone sat up and took notice. Lucky for her this would revitalize her career from a from a once celebrated 70s disco diva to an 80s pop-funk queen, hence why I’m running with the Chaka illustration above.
Today is somewhat of a quickie so I only got 2 covers for you: a light n’ breezy Burt Bacharach-inspired bossa nova cut from Japan’s Noriko Yamamoto, and an loaded with funk acapella rendition from The Flying Pickets.

Noriko Yamamoto – I Feel For You
The Flying Pickets – I Feel For You


PS Fun bonus original-original and re-edit for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub. You know where to look…

Serious Moonlight

Monday, June 18th, 2012

I don’t usually feature too many submissions, as most of them come in the form of live YouTube covers of smooth jazz or Katy Perry pushed by publicists who’ve never actually read the site (“Dear Pitchfork…”). But here is the rare one that came in the inbox that I did like: Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield covered by the rather prodigious, as well as irritatingly handsomeNick Grey. He’s managed to pull off taking what is normally a cheese piece of 80s pop and transforming it into a cool 80s new wave/synthpop track. If I had to make a Venn diagram, I’d say it it’s at the sublime intersection of early OMD, early Modern English and Cut Copy.

Nick Grey – Moonlight Shadow


PS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who honestly want to be subjected to the original, got it on the wall for you…

Smokin’ Aces

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Back in the day, before Sean Paul or Damian Marley in the Top 40 charts, chances are if you had any reggae in your collection it was Bob Marley’s Legend and the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. While the former is pretty much background music for kush-ball dropouts and sorority girls making friendship bracelets on their semester abroad, the latter was an excellent glimpse into the early 70s transitional period of Jamaican music. It was an eclectic mix of nascent roots reggae and dj/toasting genres, as well as the last swan songs of the winding down ska and rocksteady era. It was there you could hear Desmond Dekker & The Aces croon their second best known track (next to The Israelites) 007 (Shanty Town).
Shanty‘s protagonists and Kingston’s original gangsters, rude boys, were of a then recent bygone era where legions of unemployed and angry youths took to a sharp look of tailored black suits and ties, white shirts, dark shades and pork pie hats. While outwardly they may have resembled the CIA or James Bond, their main source of kicks was more along the lines of Spaghetti Westerns, Clockwork Orange or Boyz In Tha Hood; robbing, stabbing and shooting each other as well as innocent bystanders, over territorial (yard), drug and even soundsystem disputes. Despite how quaint Desmond Dekker and his contemporaries like Alton Ellis, Prince Buster, and even pre-Chris Blackwell The Wailers may sound now, rocksteady and ska was their equivalent of NWA back then (despite pleas in their music for the contrary). By the late 60s/early 70s the rude boy sound and culture started to slow, giving way to the more spiritual, introspective, as well as political, roots reggae and Rastafarianism. That bit of history aside, The Harder They Come soundtrack was really the gateway drug for a lot of us looking to dig deeper into something a bit more frayed, more authentic, than Jamming or One Love.
Besides tracking down plenty of covers of 007 (Shanty Town) I am also proud to put the ‘version’ in Versions Galore today with several proper versioned cuts as well. Playing favorites is a 1969 Spanish cut from Las Cuatro Monedas (re-named Buena Suerte), Jamaican music pioneers Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, turn out a classic rocksteady-era cover, the Beverley’s Crew make a mean (and rare) dub cut, a mento rendition ala Stanley Beckford, I’ve always had a soft spot for second wave UK all-girl ska act The Bodysnatchers‘ version, and lastly  speaking of ladies a nice sluggish drone-y indie one from The Duke Spirit (BTW tip of the had to Jonder for that last one).
And speaking of version here’s a set of fun versioned cuts from Dennis Alcapone, Screechy Dan, Joseph Cotton, Winston Francis, Mike Brooks, Invisible J, Ambelique and Betti Mac.
Next is a mixed bag of straight ahead ska covers from LoLo,Natural Rhythm, No Sports, Trevor T as well as a spate of recent versions from acts that I loved but sadly should have called it quits a long time ago during their prime: The Specials, The Selecter, The 1995 incarnation of Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and Ken Boothe.

Las Cuatro Monedas- Buena Suerte
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – 007 (Shanty Town)
Beverley’s Crew – Shanty Town Dub
Stanley Beckford – 007 (Shanty Town)
The Bodysnatchers – 007 (Shanty Town)
The Duke Spirit – 007 (Shanty Town)

Dennis Alcapone – D.J. Roll Call (Shanty Town riddim)
Screechy Dan – Panty Town (Shanty Town riddim)
Joseph Cotton – Ship Sail (Shanty Town riddim)
Winston Francis – Dance Floor (Shanty Town riddim)
Mike Brooks – Blam Blam Blam (Shanty Town riddim)
Invisible J – My Boo (Shanty Town riddim)
Ambelique – Shake That Thing (Shanty Town riddim)
Betti Mac – Oh Daddy (Shanty Town riddim)

LoLo Sings Rocksteady – 007 (Shanty Town)
Natural Rhythm – 007 (Shanty Town)
No Sports – 007 (Shanty Town)
Trevor T – 007 (Shanty Town)

The Specials – 007 (Shanty Town)
The Selecter – 007 (Shanty Town)
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – 007 (Shanty Town) 1995 version
Ken Boothe – 007 (Shanty Town)


PS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub it’s REWIND MI SELECTAH! as we got the original and some other fun bonus versions on the wall for you…


Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Despite what you see above, Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, it’s titular track Maniac is actually by Michael Sembello. However I’m running with an image of the hotness that was (and still is!) Jennifer Beals instead of bearded weird-o Sembello. Did I mention weird-o? Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:

Maniac was (originally) about a serial killer who stalks his victims in New York City.The song’s performer and co-writer Michael Sembello recalls that an early version of the chorus was:
He’s a maniac, maniac that’s for sure,
He will kill your cat and nail him to the door.

At the suggestion of the record’s producer Phil Ramone, the lyrics were rewritten to describe a girl with a passion for dancing. The lyrics became:
She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before.

Oooo Kaaay.
Anyway if anyone was born to cover Maniac, it’s Ms perpetual hot pants Peaches (with Moullinex from the always amazing Gomma label) with an electro-disco cut.

Moullinex feat. Peaches – Maniac


Good Karma

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

I was kind of appalled at the amount of mediocre note-for-note and acoustic renditions (AKA the lazy man’s cover) of Karma Police, by Radiohead, I had to sift through this time round. Around 80 plus versions (official or otherwise) of flushworthy cat litter to which a full 99% of which sounded like girls shilling for an American Idol nomination or boys whose eternal venue will be the freshman dorm hallway. Musical mediocrity is a crime whose punishment should be fully meted out ala John Belushi/Animal House style wherin the artist get’s bludgeoned with their own instrument.
Whining aside however I was able to glean a good handful of great Versions-worthy leftfield covers of Karma Police. #1 spot, as usual, goes to a brass band; east London’s funky Brassroots whose trombone led cut has had me dancing around Baggy Trousers-style for the last few weeks. Norway’s answer to Portishead, Flunk, churn out a moody downtempo rendition. Most reggae/Radiohead fans are already probably familar with the Easy All-Stars version but trumping them IMO is Japan’s Audio Active who dub theirs into sonic oblivion. For jazz kanoodlings no one quite tops The Bad Plus whose intensity always sounds like they’re on the verge on snapping their own instruments. Also somewhat in a jazz vein is Jon Fuhrer & Russ Flynn whose blissful surf-inflected guitar & bass version I’m really digging. Hooked on classics are pianist Christopher O’Riley and The String Quartet Tribute to… folks.
And lastly, going a little further, out is an adorable lullaby cover from Rockabye Baby! (Michael Armstrong) and an acapella rendition from the now 30 year strong rotating cast of The Brown Derbies.

Brassroots – Karma Police
Flunk – Karma Police
Audio Active – Karma Police
Easy Star All-Stars – Karma Police
The Bad Plus – Karma Police
Jon Fuhrer & Russ Flynn – Karma Police
Christopher O’Riley – Karma Police
The String Quartet Tribute to Radiohead –Karma Police
Rockabye Baby! (Michael Armstrong) – Karma Police
The Brown Derbies – Karma Police


Flashback Friday:Sun Worshippers

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Speaking of Gilles Peterson (and to somewhat a lesser degree, Fela) is today’s Flashback Friday: Everybody Loves The Sunshine By Roy Ayers.
Here’s one that we missed the first time around that Gilles has been recently caning like a Chinese dissident; an electro flavoured Brazillian version from A Bossa Eletrica (entitled Sob A Luz Do Sol)

A Bossa Eletrica – Sob A Luz Do Sol (Everybody Loves The Sunshine)

Check out the original Everybody Loves The Sunshine post here…


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub re-upped the original and the remixes/re-edits on the wall for you too…

Up For A Fight

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Buried under mega mega deadlines as of late but managed to squeak out a quickie for all y’all. Two covers of Roforofo Fight by the late, and very great, afrobeat don Fela Kuti. A trans-Atlantic afro-latin affair with the Gilles Peterson led Cuban outfit Havana Cultura Band and a cosmic disco/deep house cut from Boulder’s(!) The Motet.

Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura Band – Roforofo Fight
The Motet – Roforofo Fight


PS Members of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub still struggling to even pronounce ‘Roforofo’ got the original and for the dj’s, a nifty re-edit. You know where to look…