There are plenty of novelty Country records and cover versions knocking around which I wouldn’t dream of wasting your time with.
But this one is rather fine, so I will.
Back in 1992, Heavenly Records released an EP, all proceeds from which went to the Terence Higgins Trust, and which featured three bands from the label’s roster performing a cover version each of three singles by British pop act Right Said Fred.
Ask people what Right Said Fred’s only #1 single in the UK was, and chances are they’ll say that it was I’m Too Sexy. It wasn’t, of course, for that single had the misfortune of being out at the same time as Bryan Adams’ power ballad bohemoth Everything I Do (I Do It For You), which spent sixteen consecutive weeks at #1, six of which were spent keeping I’m Too Sexy at #2 (which in itself is a record they jointly share with Father Abraham and the Smurfs’ The Smurf Song which was kept off the UK #1 spot – mercifully – by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John’s You’re The One That I Want in 1977).
As you would expect, I’m Too Sexy features on The Fred EP, performed by Saint Etienne, a band I adore, but whose cover versions I approach with an air of caution. Have you ever heard their version of Bowie’s Absolute Beginners? It’s probably my favourite Bowie song, and so when I saw the Etienne boys and girl had covered it I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to hear it in all it’s undoubtedly glorious kitschness, only to be massively disappointed when I finally tracked it down.
The same is true here; s’alright. Not great. Bit of a let down, if I’m honest.
The second track which features is not-very-fondly-remembered Fred hit Don’t Talk, Just Kiss performed by the rarely-remembered-at-all Flowered Up. When I say “not very fondly remembered”, everything’s relative. It’s not as cringeworthy as You’re My Mate, which is possibly one of the worst records ever released by the polished domes of RSF, but ever.
And when I describe Flowered Up as “rarely remembered” I say that with a huge amount of sadness, for I have an enormous amount of affection for them.
But if you happened to listen to Steve Lamacq’s show on 6Music on Thursday this week, when he dropped their ruddy fantastic It’s On, in all it’s pan pipe and what-it-would-sound-like-if-Shaun-Ryder-was-a-Cockney glory, and heard the largely dismissive response it got from his listeners, you may question my judgement.
Anyway, their cover here is absolutely stonkingly great, but it’s not Country so it’s not in.
Which leaves me with, you’ll be pleased to hear, today’s tune.
Give it a couple of goes, and you’ll realise that The Rockingbirds have really taken Right Said Fred’s only #1 single and made it their own:
See? Bloody magnificent.