I’ve mentioned before that I have a somewhat chequered experience with tribute albums.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a tribute album is where a bunch of cover versions of songs by acts who cite the writer as an influence are pulled together in one place. Sometimes it’s a load of songs which already existed, sometimes acts will be asked to record a cover specifically for the tribute, sometimes it’s a bit of both.
To my mind, perhaps as one would expect, they’re a bit of a hodge-podge, for every one decent cover you get three absolute clangers.
The first one I ever bought, I think, was the quite wonderful tribute to The Carpenters “If I Were A Carpenter”: 12 covers and I’d say that 10 of them are really good covers. Conversely, “Surprise Your Pig: A Tribute to R.E.M.” – who I love more than I love The Carpenters – has 17 tracks and maybe 3 of them are kind of ok.
I guess it depends on the quality of the source material, which is why it’s no surprise that “Holding Things Together -The Merle Haggard Songbook” has 24 songs and I’m struggling to find a duff cover amongst them.
Which is how I find myself typing some words that I honestly never thought I would on here.
Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s: The Grateful Dead with a song that doesn’t go on for as long as their doobies:
The Grateful Dead – Mama Tried
We’ll be returning to this album at some point.