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Archive for August, 2012

Ital Breakfast

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I love Blake Edwards films;The Party, the Pink Panther series, and today’s subject, Breakfast At Tiffany’s. What I especially love however are his soiree scenes. The man is veritable auteur of party antics and behavior. His conducting of straight guests and bumbling pratfallers has all the precision and wit of a Rube Goldberg contraption. Not surprisingly I am also big fan of his chief composer Henry Mancini, the king of versatile cover versions. One can take any of his tunes, and all are malleable, like today’s example, Moon River, and there are literally dozens of easy listening, folk/acoustic, rock, bossa nova, indie and funk/soul renditions. Which leads us to Moon River and reggae. Not quite sure why musicians of the latter took to Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme, other than the fact Jamaicans have always been fanatical for American film and really know how to take a classic love song and rework it into some real Kinsgton style soul. Of which we’ve got six dynamite classic reggae, rocksteady and ska covers of Audrey Hepburn’s finest from The Jubilees, B.B. Seaton, Alton Ellis, Greyhound, Byron Lee & The Dragonaires and Johnny Arthey Orchestra (AKA Reggae Strings).

The Jubilees – Moon River
B.B. Seaton – Moon River
Alton Ellis – Moon River
Greyhound – Moon River
Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Moon River
Johnny Arthey Orchestra (Reggae Strings) – Moon River

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub with a mega crushes on Audrey Hepburn, but can’t understand why they always had to bring in a vocal double for her singing parts, got her version of Moon River on the wall for you…

Treehuggers

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Strawberry Switchblade. I’ve always had a soft spot for this unsung 80s duo. Back when I was a wee teen dabbling in goth I came across a pic of Rose McDowall & Jill Bryson on the cover of UK new wave pin up mag Smash Hits. No need to hear them. With their Siouxsie in overdrive makeup, Victorian outfits and almost Yayoi Kusama level of fetish for polka dots, their image fluttered deep in my stomach, AKA that telling midpoint between my brain and my trousers. When I finally got my black mittens on the vinyl I gave the lace and eyelined covered album a whirl. Despite their early Jesus and Mary Chain veneer and black lipped Scottish sneers I was supremely pissed to discover on first listen that they were decidedly way more Strawberry than Switchblade, in fact they were straight up synth pop. That said I smartly resisted the urge to turn the record into a UFO and after repeated listens the somewhat sad sublime lyrics and undercurrents of Velvet Underground influence would eventually win over my head, while the sugar coated cooing went to work melting the soles off my creepers. Though they had a huge push from John Peel, major label love from Warners and production via Bill Drummond (KLF, Echo & The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes) Strawberry Switchblade would burn out after only one album and a handful of singles. Despite being the next best thing since sliced kamaboko in Japan, they barely charted in the UK and to this day are often unfairly punished with the ‘one hit wonder’ tag.
Gone but certainly not forgotten, Jill is now a painter and Rose keeps a somewhat low profile in the music world collaborating with the likes of Primal Scream, Coil (RIP), Psychic TV, Boyd Rice and other esoteric projects. The Strawberry’s pyscho-sweet Victorian look lives on in the Japanese Lolita Goth subculture (which it predated by 2 decades) as well as being the subject of numerous articles in trendy style rags and much fawning over by the kiddies of today on Tumblr. And for those of us cover collecting geeks their version of Dolly Parton’s Jolene is a classic (at least around these parts it is).
And so speaking of covers we have Los Angeles’ Dum Dum Girls who wisely pay tribute to where tribute is due with a sweet, spacey lo-fi indie rendtion of Strawberry Switchblade’s Trees & Flowers.

Dum Dum Girls – Trees And Flowers

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub with a penchant for polka dots, got the original and bonus rare versions on the wall for you…

Superstitious Behavior

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

For the most part I don’t consider myself superstitious about anything; No black cats, no ghosts, no bigfoots, no ufos and no books involving talking snakes and zombie messiahs (though when put that way that last one sounds kind of rad). I do however have a few borderline one that are probably more a case of bad OCD than anything else. ‘Fours’ of anything are to be avoided (Japanese bad luck number), when pumping gas the final tally has to be rounded up (i.e., $60 instead of $59.82), and I’ve been known to get all kind of Joan Crawford-y about ball point pens being in the house. Anyway those are my weirdo quirks. What are yours?
I do know of one person who IS superstitious, and that’s Stevie Wonder. No ladders. No broken glass. Hell the man even hates “Thirteen month old bab(ies)”, as all outlaid in his classic Superstition.
Today we got a cauldron of Versions Galore handpicked cautious folk. Leading with faves, I’m really digging a rare Jamaican funk/reggae cover by Blooblo, a lo-fi funk version from the always brilliant Yesterdays New Quintet, a ‘far out there, man’ psychedelic one from ‘the Quad-father’ Hugo Montenegro, a lounge/Vegas version from Mel Torme, and what sounds like what happens when you mix too much Colt 45 and Robitussin from Dimthings.
Next set I’m loving is a set of soul sister Superstitions from the Saigon Show Band, Shirley Scott and Estelle.
And last, but certainly not least, the remaining are handful of of funk and soul renditions that give old Stevie a run for his braid beads.

Blooblo – Superstition
Yesterdays New Quintet – Superstition
Hugo Montenegro – Superstition
Mel Torme – Superstition
Dimthings – Superstition

Saigon Show Band – Superstition
Shirley Scott – Superstition
Estelle – Superstition

Sergio Mendes & Brasil 77 – Superstition
Peter Nero – Superstition
Fred Goodtaste (AKA Fred Bongusto) – Superstition
Ahmad Jamal – Superstition
Charles Kynard – Superstition
Leon Spencer – Superstition
Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass – Superstition
Quincy Jones – Superstition

Enjoy!
LS

PS Bonus Stevie beats for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, you know where to look…

 

Cloudy Future

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

So today’s post I actually put to a vote by asking a handful of friends: When a band re-visits one of their classics in a new fashion, is it still considered a ‘cover’? Instead of lenthy postmodern replies laden with nerd words like ‘meta-narrative’, the response was more a resounding ‘Fuckit, it’s like YOUR blog dude’. Hurrah for the yes-friends! Which of course means hurrah for you as I’ve got 2 covers of Little Fluffy Clouds from The Orb by The Orb. And how very Orb (AKA Alex Paterson)-like, being the consument techno/ambient prankster that he is, to not only re-interpret (twice!) his best known track but to take the piss as well. First up is Grey Clouds which The Orb substitutes Rickie Lee Jones’ cloud chatter with cockney comedian/alter ego Alan Parker on Britain’s lovely weather. And next is someone I’m sure Patterson has been wetting his baggy Balearic trousers to work with his whole life; genius reggae producer and 53 cards short of a deck mad man, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Similar to the Parker track, Perry’s ramblings replace Jones’ but over a radically reworked version. Incidentally Rickie Lee Jones was titillated at being sampled on the original version, and called off her record companies attempts at suing The Orb for unauthorized samples.
Oh and Orb aside we’ve also got a fun, and rather dramatic sounding classical version from the eponymously-named Instrumental.

The Orb feat Alan Parker – Grey Clouds (AKA Little Fluffy Clouds)
The Orb feat Lee Scratch Perry – Golden Clouds (AKA Little Fluffy Clouds)
Instrumental – Little Fluffy Clouds

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub still wondering what the skys were like when we were young, got the original on the wall for you…

Shedding Tears

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Time to bust out your largest bangles, silk blouse and hoop earrings and prepare to cut a rug for the husband and wife team of Linda and Cecil Womack (better known simply as Womack & Womack) who undergo the cover treatment today. We got 4 Versions heavy vetted (sorry Elton, Sugababes, and, ugh, Joss) renditions of their 80s R&B hit Teardrops.
Not sure whether to laugh or dance at /with Germany’s normally indie rock Hank, who turns out a fun short n’ cheeky disco version. Speaking of indie there was a brilliant take from hipster darlings The XX, who slow theirs to a somber and soulful early Cure-like number. Broken Beat/Future Jazz always gets top billing around here and Wah Wah 45s’ Max Cole is no exception with his dreamy downtempo duet with Lucy May. And lastly if those were all too straight forward for your tastes there was also a very abstract electronic version by Becoming Real. Dance-able? Perhaps if you’re Crispen Glover (who, incidentally, works out at my gym).

Hank – Teardrops
The XX – Teardrops
Max Cole (Feat Lucy May) – Teardrops
Becoming Real – Teardrops

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub pondering how a man wearing a flip-flop as an accessory (see Cecil’s right shoulder above) could ever sound sincere, got the original and a re-edit just waiting on the wall for you…

Top Of The Pops

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Up to my receding hairline with the day job, so today’s entry is going to be both pithy and brief:
Public Image Ltd (PiL) were a million times better than the Sex Pistols. Fact.
• Got 5 leftfield/experimental/odd indie cuts of PiL’s postpunk pièce de résistance Poptones; Tropics Of Cancer (sweet, lo-fi, bossanova-esque, Japanese-ish), The King Of Luxembourg (atmospheric, Eno-ish), A Group (weird, slow torch song-eque), Jared Louche (dark cabaret-like) and China Girl (experimental/8bit-ish/also cute).

The Tropics Of Cancer – Poptones
The King Of Luxembourg – Poptones
A Group – Poptones
Jared Louche – Poptones
China Girl – Poptones 

Enjoy!
LS

PS Hipster kiddies of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who weren’t even close to being born in 1979 (let alone ’89) and thus needing some necessary street cred to go with those Acne slim cuts and fancy cardigans from Opening Ceremony, got the original on the wall for you 🙂

Scream Team

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Dubstep, at least up until the last couple years, has been defined by it’s sparseness. A slow, raw plodding beat, heavy but simplistic bass line and punctuated by the occasional echoing atmosperic stabs. But despite being a big fan of both dub and electronic music, to me it always sounded half-finished rather than well measured, and that 98% of it lacked of any kind discernable soul. Fast forwarding to now, and we can see it has evolved, not without mixed results, and bloomed into it’s inevitable mainstream incarnations. On one hand you have the meretricious Scrillex whose brand of “Dubstep” (and I can’t make those quote signs big enough) seems only to cater dance music to fans of Insane Clown Posse. On the other, you have the soulful Jame Blake. Up till very recent, Blake had cut his teeth with a handful of minimalist dubstep singles before smartly deciding to change tack. With songs like Limit To Your Love and today’s feature, The Wilhelm Scream, he’s wisely used that sparse electronica as a tool to finally craft some poignant, almost tear inducing soul. Fun fact: Blake’s Wilhelm is actually a clever re-working of his own father, James Litherland’s song Where to Turn.
And speaking of soul we start with my top Wilhelm pick today. No stranger to covers (especially not around these parts) are The Bamboos, who’ve eschewed the usual inspired funk instrumentals by enlisting hot n’ nerdy Aussie vocalist Megan Washington for a brilliant Stax/Motown-sounding version. Also soulful is London’s Kwabena Adjepong AKA Kwabs, who with his smooth looks and even smoother voice could easily be the next Mozez or Aloe Black. Someone out there throw that man a record deal. Got two acoustic versions via the Fleet Foxes and Awning. And lastly there were three standard sounding cuts (in the Blake-ian sense) from StellaLePage, Vows, and Tapioca and the Flea.

The Bamboos (Feat. Megan Washington) – The Wilhelm Scream
Kwabs – The Wilhelm Scream
Fleet Foxes – The Wilhelm Scream
Awning – The Wilhelm Scream
StellaLePage – The Wilhelm Scream

Vows – The Wilhelm Scream
Tapioca and the Flea – The Wilhelm Scream

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub screaming for the original, got that, a handful of live cuts and his father’s original source material up on the wall…

Slippery People

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

So I finally joined the 21st century and got Netflix On Demand, which, btw, is utter shite.There are a few gems in there however not the least which is Breaking Bad, of which I’d also been sleeping on up until about two weeks ago (yeah yeah I gotta join this decade as well). Anyway watching poor Walt go down the rabbit hole, all I can hear in the back of my head is the War song Slippin’ Into Darkness. I’m sure we’ve all had our moments, I know I certainly have. Though my demons probably stop a little short of cooking meth and literally dissolving the competition (I once ate cupcakes everyday for like an entire month. Just call me the Heisenberg of Sprinkles). Anyway I’ve just cracked into Season 4 of BB so Shhhhhh, don’t anybody spoil anything.
So where was I, oh yeah, the 70s multi-ethnic latin funk combo War. Slippin’ into today’s covers I’m going to lead with with a rare Afro-Rock version by Nigeria’s The Funkees. I also have a nickel bag of funky reggae and dub renditions from Carl Bradney, Sly & Robbie, Black Uhuru and Nonalinians. And as for the rest, Ramsey Lewis, Cleveland Eaton & The Kats, Dayton Sidewinders, Nafro, Tony And Reality and Beggar & Co. they’re all funkier than 19 yards of chitlins, with sardines and onions on the side.

The Funkees – Slippin’ Into Darkness

Carl Bradney – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Sly & Robbie – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Black Uhuru – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Nonalinians – Slippin’ Into Darkness

Ramsey Lewis – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Cleveland Eaton & The Kats – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Dayton Sidewinders – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Nafro – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Tony And Reality – Slippin’ Into Darkness
Beggar & Co – Slippin’ Into Darkness

Enjoy!
LS

PS For those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub not wearing leather vests and pumping black power fists during the 70s, got the original on the wall for you…