Which Reminds Me…

“Ruby Tuesday”, as mentioned in my last post,¬†was covered by Melanie:

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Melanie – Ruby Tuesday

…who is probably better known¬†for this:

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Melanie – Brand New Key

…which, well lookie here, who’d have thunk it, was “comedy” covered by….

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The Wurzels – The Combine Harvester

See how this all links together? It’s almost like I planned it…

Happy Holidays, George!

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More soon.

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Claps, Clicks & Whistles #14

A few months ago, I made a bad joke about featuring a record by whistler-in-chief Roger Whittaker on these pages, only to be rather taken aback by several requests to actually post something by him.

Well, there’s some more obvious songs by more obvious whistlers to post before I get to¬†Our Rog.

Like this lot for example:

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Whistling Jack Smith – I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman

That song managed to reach the giddy heights of #5 in the UK charts back in 1967. The true identity of the actual Whistling Jack Smith has remained something of a mystery; the whistler here is believed to be John O’Neill, a trumpeter and singer with the Mike Sammes Singers, who are known to have performed on the recording.

However, just like when Black Box hired Katrin Quinol, a French Caribbean model, to become the face of their 1989 smasheroo “Ride on Time” rather then just admit they had sampled Loleatta Holloway’s¬†single “Love Sensation”, or like when that girl mimed at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing¬†Olympics, or every record that Milli Vanilli were ever involved in: when it came to performing on Top of the Pops, actor Coby Wells was used to mime the whistling, and later toured as the public face of Whistling Jack Smith.

Coby Wells’ real name was Billy Moeller, who was the brother of Tommy Moeller. You know Tommy Moeller, right? Lead vocalist, guitarist, and pianist¬†with Unit 4 + 2..? Yes, that Tommy Moeller.

Here’s their most famous moment:

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Unit 4 + 2 – Concrete and Clay

Many of you will know that Dexys Midnight Runners front man Kevin Rowland¬†released an album of controversial cover versions which contained that song. Actually, it wasn’t so much the cover versions which were¬†controversial, more the covers of the album, “My Beauty” and the singles which were released from it:

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Kevin Rowland – Concrete and Clay

(“Pssst! Kevin!! Kevin!! You didn’t tuck yourself in properly when you came out of the Gents!”)

So controversial was his choice of clothing, that the audience pelted him with bottles of…erm…liquid when he appeared on stage at the Reading Festival to perform tracks from the album¬†back in 1999. But they did the same to Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler back in 1988, so he was really just carrying on a rock ‘n’ roll tradition.

And speaking of dubious cover versions, let it not be forgotten that “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” itself got worked over in 1977:

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The Wurzels – Farmer Bill’s Cowman

And yes, the Quality Control desk is closed tonight.

More soon.

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.