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We’ve turned 4!

July 12th, 2012

Happy Birthday to us! It’s Versions Galore’s 4th anniversary and we’re celebrating this month by letting some very special guests behind the cover versions controls…

Today’s mix is from fellow blogger and musical aggregator La Dimension De Trastos. LDDT reminds me of what I like best about Southern Californian beach culture. A junction where tastes in funk, soul, jazz, psych, surf, punk, reggae and garage rock meet and mingle freely giving rise to (for better or worse) the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Paul’s Boutique, and many a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. Not that LDDT houses any of them mind you, but any given day you can be treated to such disparate selections from the The Sonics to Sister Nancy, Circle Jerks to Coxsonne Dodd and from Black Randy to Bill Withers to Bud Shank. Get the picture? All of this is then tied together with a little bow of witty commentary and jumping off points to find them. When I wake up and need inspiration for Versions, LDDT is my sugary breakfast cereal.

Here is his mix:

And here is what he had to say:

Lee Perry – Jungle Lion (Al Green’s Love & Happiness)
While not a straight forward cover, this is about as close as the Upsetter gets.

Lulu – Feelin’ Alright (Traffic)
Surprisingly funky, she definitely had her eye on Dusty in Memphis.

Ricky Nelson – Summertime (George Gershwin for Porgy and Bess)
Interesting in that it predates the Yardbirds by several years. Chicken or egg?

Tommy McCook – Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey)
No shortage of early reggae/ska covers of Bond themes. McCook was a sax player for the Skatalites, and the go-to guy for Duke Reid anong others.

Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents – Shake Some Action (Flamin’ Groovies)
Nice try to duplicate the Motown sound. What’s it missing? The Funk Brothers. What the hell, an “A” for effort.

The Pioneers – Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Temptations)
As long as we’re on a Motown tangent, what if Norman Whitfield was Jamaican?

The Supremes – Come Together (The Beatles)
Proof that Isaac Hayes wasn’t the only one who stretched out on covers.

Horace Andy – Where Do the Children Play (Cat Stevens)
Classic Studio One. From Horace Andy’s first, a stone cold classic of the golden age.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves – Ace of Spades (Motorhead)
If someone would have told me about this one, I wouldn’t have believed it. Believe it. Instant cred for the kid.

Ricardo Ray – Sookie Sookie (Don Covay)
A song that’s been covered 14 million times. This one won out over Steppenwolf’s surprisingly good rock meets soul take.

Solomon Burke – Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan)
Seriously, he could sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and you’d think he wrote it.

Marcia Griffiths – Band of Gold (Freda Payne)
Before singing back up for Marley as one of the I-Threes. Sweet.

Celia Cruz – Yo Vivire (I Will Survive) (Gloria Gaynor)
You can’t hear this one without seeing Celia Cruz’s big ass smile. Azúcar!

Sharon Jones & the DapKings – Just Dropped In to See What Condition Your Condition Was In (Kenny Rogers & the First Edition)
An unlikely cover for anyone, but it works. Jerry Lee Lewis once said that he, Al Jolson, Hank Williams and Jimmy Rodgers were the only true song stylists. Someone needs to clue him into the Daptone mob.

Richie Knight & the Mid-Knights – Homework (Otis Rush)
Famously covered by the J.Geils Band, this sucker just sounds so creepy.

Jack O’ Fire – Branded (Link Wray)
The first time I heard this I had to pull over to find out who it was. From the amazing stable of Sympathy For The Record Industry.

Black Randy & the Metro Squad – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose (James Brown)
One thing that usually gets ignored when talking about the early L.A. punk scene is how varied and musically educated the bands were. Often seen as something of a court jester, Black Randy’s baddass back up band turned more than a few Krazy Kolored spike heads onto JB via this happening jam.

Kashmere Stage Band – Take Five (Dave Brubeck)
High School kids. Yes. And they beat out the Skatalites version.

The Viscounts – Harlem Nocturne (Earl Bostic)
I had to end with this one. Back in the day, a older friend told me that bands at his high school dances would always play this as their last song, enabling couples to get chummy without any worries about getting kicked out of the dance. So it was that I, along with other DJ friends at a popular watering hole, took it upon ourselves to end our last sets of the night with it. Prelude to grab ass.

More than anything else, these songs represent years as a serial lurker of music blogs. As someone who DJ’d before computers were commonplace, and before just about any song could be found in just a matter of clicks, I don’t take this shit for granted. I’m hugely indebted to the ersatz network of music blogs that I loiter around. Do yourself a favor, check out blogrolls when you see them. There’s gold in them thar links.

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PS Be sure to grab:
GUEST MIX N° 1 here…
GUEST MIX N° 2 here…
GUEST MIX N° 3 here…

We’ve turned 4!

July 9th, 2012

Happy Birthday to us! It’s Versions Galore’s 4th anniversary and we’re celebrating this month by letting some very special guests behind the cover versions controls…

Today’s mix is from someone I’ve interviewed and written about extensively; the talented designer and artist Steven R Gilmore. For those of you out there who were fans of 80s industrial music you may recall his work gracing the covers of Nettwerk artists like Skinny Puppy, MC 900 Ft Jesus, The Tear Garden and Chris & Cosey. Today he still continues his love of cold san serifs, decadent scripts, found imagery, eroticism and dark humor all arranged with the precision of a surgeon. Recent clientele include the likes of Dita Eyewear, Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Batman;The Dark Knight and, well, Skinny Puppy again. Steven is also a prolific painter who applies his same brooding sensibilities to canvas with a photorealism that borders on the eidetic.
In recent years I’ve gotten to know Steven quite well and, macabre sensibilities aside, a warmer, more good humored person I’ve yet to meet.

Here is his mix:

Here’s what Steven had to say….

“When Leopold approached me to do a compilation for the 4th anniversary of Versions Galore I have to say I was a bit flustered. How in the hell am I going to come up with anything when most of the bands I listen to do not do cover versions? So anyway, I ended up mining my brain for what I remembered from the past 30 years and this is the result of that excavation. Enjoy!”

01 A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan) – Bryan Ferry

02 Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Neil Young) – Saint Etienne

03 You And Your Sister (Chris Bell) – This Mortal Coil

04 Mad World (Tears For Fears) – Gary Jules

05 Psyche (Killing Joke) – Nouvelle Vague

06 Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores (John Cale) – Bauhaus

07 The 15th (Wire) – Fischerspooner

08 Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash) – Wall Of Voodoo

09 Kites (Simon Dupree And The Big Sound) – 39 Lyon Street / Associates

10 Dear Prudence (The Beatles) – Siouxsie And The Banshees

11 Baby I Love You So – 12″ Version (Augustus Pablo) – Colourbox

12 Money – That’s What I Want (Barrett Strong) – The Flying Lizards

13 Daddy Cool (Boney M) – Placebo

14 Final Solution – Club Mix (Pere Ubu) – Peter Murphy

15 I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye) – The Slits

16 Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley) – Dead Kennedys

17 Mission Impossible (Lalo Schifrin) – Lizzy Mercier Descloux

18 Save It (Mel Robbins) – The Cramps

19 Walk On By (Dionne Warwick) – Stranglers

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PS Be sure to grab:
GUEST MIX N° 1 here…
GUEST MIX N° 2 here… 

PPS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, be sure to drop in and grab Gilmore’s alternate cover art….


We’ve turned 4!

July 6th, 2012

Happy Birthday to us! It’s Versions Galore’s 4th anniversary and we’re celebrating this month by letting some very special guests take over the cover versions controls…

Had the odd pleasure of meeting today’s cover mixtress DJ Dia recently at a photoshoot we were both working on for a handbag company. In between takes and model-gawking we rapped about the genius of 60s electronic composers, 70s sci fi flicks and 80s cartoons. It also turned out KSPC gives this woman some much deserved airtime in the form of not one, but 2 shows: the Synthdactyl Program and The Songs for the Whippersnapper Show
ODing from obscure pop culture overload, I immediately offered her a guest spot.
I expected eclectic and needless to say she did not disappoint.

Here is her mix:

Here’s what DJ DIA herself had to say about it….

“I have two shows on KSPC, The Songs for the Whippersnapper Show and also the Synthdactyl Program. The Songs for the Whippersnapper Show has been on the air for about a decade now, it’s on 11am-1pm on Sunday and is a mash of kooky fun & clean music. I always try to throw in a bit of everything, it’s like a variety show for your ears. The other show, which has been on for two summers now, is the Synthdactyl Program. It is on from 8pm-10pm on Fridays and is two hours of analog synthesizer music. I play mostly luscious non vocal vintage synthesizer tracks, but will throw in some oozy pieces from current talented artists. So this playlist is a product of both shows. You can listen to KSPC on 88.7fm or online at”

Todo Na Mera Dil (Borderline) – Alisha (Madonna)

Yellow Ribbon – Atons (Dawn feat. Tony Orlando)

Not Your Steppin’ Stone
– Barbi and the Kens (Paul Revere & the Raiders)

It Had To Be You
– Disco Orchestral (Priscilla Lane)

Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)
– The Do-Re-Mi Children’s Chorus (John Fred and his Playboy Band)

モデル (The Model)
– Hikashu (Kraftwerk)

Bicycle Built for Two (Daisy Bell)
– IBM 7090 Computer (Harry Dacre)

Love Me Tender – Electric Samurai (Elvis Presley)

Lord Love A Duck – Jason Crest (The Wild Ones)

Singin’ In The Rain – Just Water (Gene Kelly)

Summertime – Klaus Wunderlich (George Gershwin)

Bus Stop – Los Géminis (The Hollies)

Needles & Pins – The Nutty Squirrels (Jackie DeShannon)

Ain’t She Sweet – Pete Drake (originally composed by Milton Ager 1927)

Boogie Wonderland – Pink Lady (Earth, Wind & Fire feat. The Emotions)

Moving Right Along – PJ Pooterhoots (Kermit the Frog & Fozzie Bear)

The Windmills of Your Mind – Screaming Thing (Noel Harrison)

ボニーとクライドのバラード (The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde) – Sheena & the Rokkets (Georgie Fame)

Oh, You Pretty Things – Simon Park (David Bowie)

Halloween I – The Splash Band (John Carpenter)

Rock Around The Clock – Telex (Bill Haley and His Comets)

California Dreamin’ – 386DX (The Mamas & the Papas)
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PS Be sure to grab GUEST MIX N° 1 here…
PPS Thee VERSIONS GALORE 4TH ANNIVERSARY GUEST MIX series will continue next week…


We’ve turned 4!

July 5th, 2012

Happy Birthday to us, it’s Versions Galore’s 4th anniversary!
I am pleasantly surprised we have endured this long. Last year for our 3rd we did a special little mix for everyone, but this time around we’re going to get our feet (ears?) wet this week by turning over the cover controls to some very special guests. Some are from fellow bloggers we follow and respect, and others, neoptism be damned, are from some very talented friends.
Which leads us right into our first guest: fellow blogger Marco On The Bass. For us children of the late 70s/ early 80s the energy and culture of 2nd wave, punk-infused Ska left an indelible impression on us. MOTB is a one stop hub for music and features about those golden years as well as current revivals in rocksteady, ska and other things UK & Jamaican.
Always glad to see someone still carrying the torch for 2-Tone.

Here is his mix:


And here’s a what Marco had to say about his contribution:

The Back Stabbers – The Professionals
Belize’s The Professionals morph The O’Jays 1972 Top 10 Philly Soul hit “Backstabbers into horn-drenched reggae that retains its ominous warning.

Baltimore – The Tamlins
The Tamlins were a 70’s Jamaican reggae vocal group that gained wide attention for their Sly and Robbie produced dub reggae version of the Nina Simone lament about inner city life in Baltimore

Heart-Shaped Box – Little Roy
Aging Reggae lifer Little Roy (with help from UK producer King Fatty) finds the sweet humanity hidden inside one of Kurt Cobain’s darkest songs making it bob and weave its way into your memory.

You’ll Never Find – Dub Pistols
U.K. reggae/club collective Dub Pistols pay homage to John Holt’s reggae cover of Lou Rawls 1976 R&B hit by sampling Rawls singing the memorable chorus and Holt’s killer bass line.

Cupid – Amy Winehouse
Ska aficionado and noted Specials fan Winehouse recorded a soulful rock steady version of the Sam Cooke classic that mines its sadness while remaining eminently danceable.

It’s a Shame – Alton Ellis
The Stevie Wonder penned Motown hit for The Spinners, about a man who complains about a lover “messin” around on him, was memorably covered by Jamaican reggae and rock steady innovator Alton Ellis in 1971.

Sugar Sugar – Bigger Thomas
Long running New Jersey ska and reggae band recorded a poppy dub/reggae version of the 1969 hit recorded by the fictional TV show band The Archies. Ron Parker, the Father of Bigger Thomas guitarist Steve Parker was in the studio band that recorded the original providing a perfect musical symmetry.

Cecilia – Suggs
Madness lead singer Suggs recorded a Sly & Robbie produced pop reggae version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, which pays homage to St Cecilia, patron saint of music.

Golden Years – Special Beat
Early 90’s 2-Tone ska super group Special Beat, featuring Ranking Roger of The Beat and Neville Staple, Horace Panter and Lynval Golding of The Specials recorded this never before released ska demo version of David Bowie’s hit from the Station to Station LP.

Orgasm Addict – SKAndalous All-Stars
The SKAndalous All-Stars were a late 90’s U.S. ska super group featuring members of The Slackers, The Skatalites, Mephiskapheles and Stubborn All-Stars who recorded an albums worth of 3rd wave ska covers of punk classics including Buzzcock’s paean to onaism.

Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) – Los De Abajo
Mexico City-based Latin ska band Los Del Abajo recorded Spanish and English language versions of the Fun Boy Three track featuring a guest appearance from Specials and Fun Boy Three front man Neville Staple.

Strawberry Fields – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
Argentine ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs recorded a 60’s styled Jamaican ska version of The Beatles “Strawberry Fields” sung in English and Spanish that features Blondie’s Debbie Harry as well as horn lines worthy of The Skatalites.

Tu Gotnisht (Do Nothing) – King Django
New York ska legend and trombonist King Django (The Boilers, Skinnerbox, Stubborn All-Stars) recorded an all Yiddish-language album of klezmer meets ska and reggae songs including this faithful cover of The Specials “Do Nothing”.

Fast Car – Wayne Wonder
Jamaican vocalist Wayne Wonder puts a Dancehall reggae spin on Tracy Chapman’s narrative tale of generational poverty.

For The Turnstiles – Bim Skala Bim
Boston’s Bim Skala Bim, who were one of the first American ska bands to emerge in the early 80’s, recorded a sublimely soulful reggae version of Neil Young’s rocker.

Live And Let Die – Byron Lee
Jamaican music pioneer, producer and leader of The Dragonaires was a fan of The Beatles, recording reggae versions of many of their most popular tracks. He later recorded this incredibly soulful version of Paul McCartney & Wings theme song for the James Bond movie of the same name.

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – The Ska-Dows
The Ska-Dows were one of the many U.K. ska bands that sprouted in the wake of the 2-Tone explosion. Signed by Chas Chandler, bassist of The Animals to his Cheapskates Record label in the late 70’s, the band recorded a rollicking ska version of The Animals hit from 1965.

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G Spotting

July 2nd, 2012

If there ever were a Grammies of cover versions, no doubt Nouvelle Vague would clean house every time (at least in this house anyway). However the big underdog I’d be crossing my fingers for would be Will Holland better known as Quantic, whome we’ve featured here a few times putting his latin spin on likes of Portishead and Mr. Scruff. So here’s one that I’ve been keeping in the rainy day vault ready to feature for a while: Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo who reconstructs gangsta chronic classic Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang, by Dr. Dre (with Snoop Dogg), into a slow and low latin/cumbia rendtition.

Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo – Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang


PS Those of you in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub who were asleep during the 90s, got the original G for y’all on the wall…

Flashback Friday:Getting The Led Out

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

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?

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

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

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

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…


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

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

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

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…


Obstacle Course

May 30th, 2012


I feel bad. I haven’t bothered to keep up with Interpol since Turn On The Bright Lights, an album easily listened to a 1000+ times. Yet never bothered with the sophomore. Maybe it was the fear of potentially diminishing the debut’s unexpected spark. I know they caught a lot flack back inthe day for sounding a little too much like Joy Division, but then there’s only so many times one can listen to Closer or Unknown Pleasures. However Bright Lights, a fine album in my opinion, satiates that JD jones nicely.
No mate having Joy Division purists be damned.
Today’s feature Obstacle 1 was released in 2002. Has it really been a decade already? Interpol ushered in our new milleneum of new sounds (good riddance grunge, I never liked ye) but seem to have been fairly quiet since. However they’ve hardly been forgotten, as evidenced by the roundup of several Obstacles below.
Top cover by far is a heavy duty dub/reggae version from Tiger HiFi. Close second is the Tokyo based Icelandic expat Lily and Fox, armed only with a Japanese koto and a voice that sounds like raw honey. Further out is an all acapella cover from Washington State’s Mosaic Whispers, a classical cut from the ubiquitous The String Quartet Tribute to… and lastly, music for 1-Ups; an 8-bit Game Boy hacked rendition from Kunal Anand.

Tiger HIFI – Obstacle 1
Lily and Fox – Obstacle 1
Mosaic Whispers – Obstacle 1
The String Quartet Tribute to Interpol – Obstacle 1
Kunal Anand – Obstacle 1


Young At Heart

May 25th, 2012

Neil Young is one of those musicians, that ironically enough, I lump in the same category as Johnny Rotten (AKA John Lydon) of The Sex Pistols. Someone whom I have immense respect for as a musician and a cultural force, but try as I might, I honestly can’t stand the sound of their voice. The dynamic is as such that I can only stomach his work when it is covered by someone else; The Pixies, Saint Etienne, whomever, just not him.
Heart Of Gold, great example. Beautiful piece that, but I’d rather sit in a cave all day listening to Charlie The Iceman’s ARRGHHHHRAWWRREHHHH version, than having to endure 30 seconds of Neil’s unfortunate warbling.
Well as much fun as singing along with unfrozen cavemen sounds, here’s something that’s probably a little easier on the ears; two funk/soul covers from the foxy Betty Lavette and Daptone’s “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”, Charles Bradley. Also in that same vein is a vintage soulful reggae cut from Honeyboy (AKA Honey Boy).

Bettye LaVette – Heart Of Gold
Charles Bradley – Heart Of Gold
Honeyboy – Heart Of Gold


PS For the more dj minded members of Thee Versions Galore Fanclub, if you can believe it, I managed to track down a Heart Of Gold re-edit. You know where to look…

Jungle Brothers

May 23rd, 2012

When my dusty digital fingers are not sifting through cover versions, you can usually find me dancing around like an idiot, with my dachshund, to the sound of bronze age acid house/house (circa ’85-89), of which I’m a dyed in the smiley face T-shirt fanatic.
So you know what made my week? Stumbling across Adam Cruz & Eddie Nicholas‘ brilliant and rather percussive, leftfield human beatbox and conga cover of acid house classic Time Marches On by Jungle Wonz (AKA house music godfather Marshall Jefferson with Harry Dennis on vocal duties.). FYI Sharp eared fans of Kraftwerk take note of a certain non-stop rhythmic accoutrement running throughout.

Adam Cruz & Eddie Nicholas – Time Marches On


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Fanclub with only a cursory knowledge of mid-80s Chicago House, got the original on the wall for you…

Fly Robin Fly

May 20th, 2012

God hates disco apparently as another 70s icon, Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees, hustles his way into the great nightclub in the sky.
While I can’t say I was ever a big Bee Gees fan, they were however the indelible soundtrack of my youth, whether I listened or not. When the one-two punch of both Saturday Night Fever and Grease hit the theatres there was nary a grocery store, resaurant, dentist office, bad parental party or AM radio that didn’t succumb to the falsetto sounds of the chesty, satin wrapped trio.
Wel with that here’s the mysterious but brilliant GrandMagneto with a totally spot-on reggae/rocksteady rendition of Night Fever.

GrandMagneto – Night Fever

Enjoy! (and RIP Robin…)

Flashback Friday:Cure-iosity killed the…

May 18th, 2012

Apparently we’re doing back to back Flashbacks.
Though yesterday’s somewhat tragic post was a bit unplanned, today’s proper Flashback Friday revisting of The Love Cats by The Cure was inspired by a recent jazzy electronic soul version by Kinny. Kinny shares space with the likes of Alice Russell, Belleruche, Nostalgia 77 and more on the utterly excellent Tru Thoughts label, which has gotten into the awesome habit of breaking new artists via some uncommon sounding downtempo covers.
So even though we featured a bunch of ace versions in our original post, we did miss quite a few. For example a slow and sultry one from Katrine Ottosen, an Iggy-influenced cut from Supergrass sideproject The Hot Rats, 2 rockabilly-ish renditions from the Hot Rocket Trio and Boppin’b and a short and silly speed organ version from Germany’s Boy Division.
Oh and the indie darlings The Futureheads, they did one too.

Kinny – The Love Cats
Katrine Ottosen – The Love Cats
The Hot Rats – The Love Cats
Hot Rocket Trio – The Love Cats
Boppin’b – The Love Cats
Boy Division – The Love Cats
The Futureheads – The Love Cats

Check out the original Love Cats post here…