How to Do a Cover Version

There’s a certain amount of mutual appreciation about today’s selections.

When I first started this blog, I decided that the main thrust of it would be to document every pop record that I ever bought, in the order I bought them, a la that scene in “High Fidelity”, and to reclaim a few songs back that many would consider to be Guilty Pleasures. I introduced an arbitrary starting point, that being the first pop single record that I had either bought for myself or cajoled someone into buying for me.

The reason for this, was that were I to start any earlier than that, I would be talking about records I owned by Basil Brush, or The Wurzels, amongst others. I owned a few bits and bobs like that, mostly “comedy records”, by the likes of The Barron Knights or the aforementioned Wurzels, who both dealt in “funny” versions of popular hits.

Now I’d planned to stay well clear of them, but on Friday night, as I was waiting to be served at the bar, the original of today’s choice sprang to mind. Then I remembered that a much cooler band had released their version of it as a limited edition 7″ single, available only on their 2005 tour, or via their website.

It was too perfect a choice for me to miss up. So I ordered myself a pint of Hawkes’ Urban Orchard cider (and darn yummy it was too, as were the following six) and resolved I’d post both versions of the song that had enticed me so.

So here’s the cover version:

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British Sea Power – I Am A Cider Drinker

and…brace yourself….here’s the original:

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The Wurzels – I Am A Cider Drinker

The more observant of you will have spotted mention of British Sea Power’s “Remember Me” up there on the 7″ sleeve, and felt the cold finger of fear brush down your spine when you realised what that meant. Yes, on the same limited edition release, The Wurzels returned the favour. So, for the sake of completeness, here’s the original:

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British Sea Power – Remember Me

and…no, I mean it when I say really brace yourself this time….the cover version:

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The Wurzels – Remember Me

I’ve always loved the video for the original, and I think we might need it to cleanse the palate after that, so here you go:

More soon.

Name That Tune

The news this week that there is to be a third a series of “The Trip”, the wonderful, semi-improvised comedy where Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden play exaggerations of their public personas, had me rushing to my DVD collection to dig out the first two series and indulge me in some prime binge watching.

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, in the first series Coogan is commissioned to write a new column for The Observer newspaper, about a tour of restaurants in the north of England. Coogan’s girlfriend decides not to come along, so Coogan invites Bryden (although you are reminded from the very off that he is by no means the first-choice replacement) to join him. The pair spend the entire series bickering and attempting to undermine and humiliate each other throughout, generally through displays of one-upmanship by way of their impressions . The second series very much repeats the same trick, only this time the backdrop is the slightly sunnier Italy.

It’s a lot better than I’ve made that sound. Look:

And then there’s this classic scene (the actual clip doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, so this is one of the unused takes, which seems to have escaped the majority of those commenting under the clip):

But this is what brings me to today’s musical selection:

Of course, Coogan and Bryden are not the only ones to do impressions of the great man:

And then there’s this chap:

He’ll never make it.

By now I would hope you realise where I’m going with this. So, to 1984 and this, which features the man himself with some specially recorded vocals:

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Madness – Michael Caine

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I very much doubt that it has escaped your attention, but today is Valentine’s Day.

Saint Valentine (or Saint Valentine of Moonpig.com, to give him his full title) is of course the patron saint of both chocolatiers and gullible people.

Anyway, I thought I should post something suitable for the occasion.

I’ve given The Beautiful South a bit of stick for their choice, and delivery, of cover versions on here recently, so I thought I’d try to rectify this today. You know, provide a bit of balance.

As I’ve said before, I loved The Housemartins, and much of The Beuatiful South’s early output, and I think Paul Heaton’s lyrics are genuinely witty, sharp, incisive, often political, all qualities I look for in a lyricist.

Truth be told, I don’t think this morning’s choice is necessarily one of his better songs; but released as an extra track on their “The River/Just Checkin'” CD single, what it does have, however, is one of the greatest song titles ever:

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The Beautiful South – Valentine’s Day Wank

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Two or three days after I posted my Country music edition of the Friday Night Music Club, it occurred to me that I’d made a glaring omission.

So let me put that right, right now.

I have several versions of tonight’s tune and I’ve been torn as to which to post here: the version from their MTV Unplugged album?  Or the live version released as an extra track on the “Bang and Blame” CD single? Maybe the live BBC studio version recorded on “Later…with Jools Holland” that features on the “At My Most Beautiful” CD single? Or how about the live version recorded for The Bridge School Benefit releases, where Neil Young pops up? Somewhere I’m sure I have version where Bruce Springsteen joins them on stage, but I can’t seem to find that, so it will have to wait for another day.

That’s all of them I think, which is lucky as I’m bored of typing the word “version”.

I was plumping for the Bridge School Benefit version (gah!), when I read this:

“Stipe has claimed that he did not even write the whole lyric down, that he “just had a piece of paper with a few words. I sang it and I walked out.” The following day, the hastily improvised take was deemed good enough and it was not re-recorded…Stipe has said at concerts that it is his favourite R.E.M. song.”

Yes, he has:

But then again, he says that a lot:

Hey, a guys’s allowed to change his mind about what his favourite R.E.M. song is, particularly when you wrote them all. Lord knows I change my mind often on this very subject, and I’ve written hardly any.

Anyway, if they deemed the one-take original version good enough to go on “Out of Time”, who am I are to argue? Here it is then:

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R.E.M. – Country Feedback

More soon.