Sunday, 3 February 2008

Cover Lay Down

Occasionally I stumble on another MP3 blog which is so astoundingly good that I want to tell everyone about it. Can you see where I'm heading here?

Last night I happened to find the truly excellent Cover Lay Down blog. This US-based site showcases, "Folk covers of familiar songs" and "Reimagined versions of folk song". Now, this is so far up my street it's virtually living in my back bedroom. I have an unhealthy level of interest in cover versions and as regular readers will know, I'm an unashamed folky to boot. Have a look at Cover Lay Down - it's a fantastic site with some great tracks to listen to.

Inspired as I am by that swanky blog, I thought a nice way to accompany this hefty plug would be to post a couple of cover versions myself (that's not cheating, is it?).

First up is Christy Moore covering Woody Guthrie's The Ludlow Massacre. This emotive song tells the story of the 1914 Ludlow Coal Massacre, at which the Colorado National Guard attacked a colony of striking miners and their families, killing 25 people - including 12 children. A cheery story it may not be, but it's a startling song and needs to be heard. Also worth looking up is Ramblin' Jack Elliott's version (and Guthrie's original, of course). Christy's version comes from his first solo album, 1972's "Prosperous".

Whilst trawling through the Cover Lay Down archives yesterday, I came across Patti Smith and her sublime version of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. That reminded me of another excellent version of the same song.

In 1992, Tori Amos released the 5-track EP, "Crucify". Three of the five tracks are cover versions (Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones are the other two). As a whole, it's a fine record, but the standout track is easily Smells Like Teen Spirit, wherein Kurt Cobain's grunge megalith is transformed into a stark piano/voice ballad. It might not be genius, but it's not far off...

Finally for today, here's a slice of classic psychedelia from 1968. This is Deep Purple, from their very first album "Shades Of Deep Purple". Those unfamiliar with the Purple's first two albums may be surprised at the sound - it would be a while before they evolved into the rock behemoths behind Smoke On The Water and Black Night. Anyway, here they are doing a song by some band called The Beatles.

That's all for now, folks. Catch you again soon.

Artist web links:

Christy Moore
Tori Amos
Deep Purple

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