Home

OVERDOSING ON COVER VERSIONS (2)

4 Comments

All the greats eventually get the full-blooded cover version treatment with singers and bands queing up to pay tribute to those who greatly influenced them. The late Leonard Cohen has had his songs covered more than most, including various compilation LPs over the years which have been commercially released or given away free with music magazines. There’s even been specially curated gigs at which some of the great and good have appeared on stage to pay tribute.

So many tracks to choose from, but I’ve gone for one which, in its original recording, is not much more than a gravelled voice and some backing oohs and aahs over a toy synthesiser with its cheap drum pattern:-

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song

The opposite tack was taken by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds who, in a drink and drug fuelled frenzy one day in a studio, eventually cut what became an infamous 33 minute version of the track in which all sorts of musical genres are eventually thrown in. It’s not for the faint hearted:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tower of Song (full length)

An edited version was made available for inclusion of the tribute/compilation album I’m Your Fan, released in 1991:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tower of Song (album version)

Here’s two more versions worth giving a listen:-

mp3 : Lloyd Cole – Tower of Song
mp3 : Martha Wainwright – Tower of Song

And finally, the daddy of them all in which Lenny C is given the shoegaze treatment:-

mp3 : The Jesus & Mary Chain – Tower of Song

Outstanding.

SO LONG, LEONARD COHEN

4 Comments

I’ve taken a break from t’internet these past two weeks – all the posts on the blog were pre-packaged in advance and the plan had been to get back into things over the weekend.

But I just can’t let today go past without paying a small tribute.

I came late to Leonard Cohen in terms of appreciating him. As I said on a previous post, I became aware of his work from about the age of 13 as a mate’s older brother insisted on playing his stuff all the time. I can’t say I was too keen….it was all a bit doom and gloom and let’s face it, the majority of the subject matters went right over my head at the time. But as a number of my own favourite musicians in the 80s began to name check him as an influence I re-approached his material with a fresh mind and discovered that I was indeed a fan.

I was lucky enough to have just about the best seats in the house to see him perform in a 3,000 capacity venue in Glasgow back in November 2008. It was a joyous, uplifting and wonderful evening during which he was on stage for well over 2 hours and performed 26 songs from right across his incredible career. I felt afterwards as if I’d just put the biggest possible tick on my bucket list.

I first heard of Leonard’s passing via a friend’s comment on Facebook. It’s not a medium I use all that much but I did leave the following words:-

“2016 can go and take a fuck to itself”

It’s hardly the most poetic few words I’ve ever come up with, but it is heartfelt.

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Democracy (live on Later, 1993)
mp3 : James – So Long, Marianne

The world is a sadder place today.

AN IMAGINARY EVENING WITH MUSICIANS

12 Comments


A guest contribution from xxxjim

DinnerParty-MAIN

Hey JC

This is a change from an imaginary compilation, but I’m pretty sure I could do one for almost every singer/band mentioned – now there’s a challenge!

Anyway, a comment made a while ago got me thinking. It was on a Wedding Present / Cinerama related posting and it was along the lines of David Gedge being someone that the commenter, paulb3015 would most like as a friend.

I know it’s never a good idea to meet your heroes but I still think it would be great to spend an evening in the company of these musicians. I guess they all seem quite approachable to me and the sort of people that have a lot of stories and would be fun to be around.

So I give you the eight musicians I’d love to spend an evening with, be it for a beer or two or a meal all round a table, shooting the breeze. Eight seems about the right number – enough that you’d get to talk to everyone but not too many that no one can hear what anyone else is saying. And it would have to be the right mix of musicians – not too many egos.

They are not necessarily my all time favourite musicians or my favourite bands – in some cases they are – I just think they are all interesting people. One thing a lot of them have in common is that they like to tell a story when you see them live – I know that it can be the same story every night but as long as it seems like it’s off the cuff, I’m happy with that.

I haven’t worked out a seating plan but obviously there’s be two seats reserved for Mr and Mrs Vinyl Villain.

Kristin Hersh

Her music has been a constant in my life since I was about 18 – I’ve kind of grown up with her. I’m not an obsessive fan but I do try and see her whenever she performs. One of only two famous people to reply to me on Twitter (not that I use it very often), which makes her an all round nice person. (The other one was David Gedge)

mp3: Kristin Hersh – Sundrops (from ‘Hips and Makers’ LP)

Colin Meloy

Because he seems like a good bloke – a lot of The Decemberists’ songs are stories and he spins a good yarn on stage so I’m sure there would be plenty to talk about.

mp3 : The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song (from ‘The Hazards of Love’ LP)

David Gedge

I don’t need to explain this one – I’m pretty sure that every reader of TVV would want to have a beer with David Gedge.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Give My Love To Kevin (acoustic) (from ‘George Best (plus)’ LP)

Leonard Cohen

I thought maybe Prince would be entertaining but I imagine everyone would just sit there dumbstruck thinking ‘Bloody hell – it’s Prince’ and no-one saying a word. Either that or he’d play ping pong with everyone and thrash them. But I thought it would be good to have an absolute megastar at the table, and someone much older – and someone who has been a hero of mine since my art student days. He’d bring a touch of wisdom to proceedings and his fantastic gravelly voice. And you never know he might feed us tea and oranges that come all the way from China.

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Slow (from ‘Popular Problems’ LP)

Viv Albertine

A year ago she wouldn’t have been a dinner guest but her memoir ‘Clothes, Music, Boys’ is great – the best music book I’ve read this year – better than Kim Gordon and better than Eddie Argos (seriously). And she seems like a nice person – and normal. And because I love this song which is one of my favourite songs of the year (even though it came out a while ago, it’s new to me).

mp3 : Viv Albertine – Confessions of a MILF  (from ‘The Vermillion Borders’ LP)

Gruff Rhys

Because he took a puppet around America to try and find a Welsh-speaking tribe of native Americans. And he made a powerpoint presentation about it. And an album. And he weaves it all into a great story. And obviously because he is a Super Furry Animal.

mp3 : Gruff Rhys – Iolo (from ‘American Interior’ LP)

Holly Johnson

The first pop star that I really idolized – about 10 years ago I saw him in a shop and I was too star struck to go and say hello. His memoir is also worth a read.

mp3 : Frankie Goes to Hollywod – Relax (7” single)

Nicky Wire

The second Welshman – he’d make sure that it wasn’t all back slappery and coziness. Plus, if all else fails we can talk about sport – and he can give my daughter tips on applying eyeliner.

mp3 : Manic Street Preachers – Europa Geht Durch Mich (from ‘Futurology’ LP)

Anyway, I hope you like it – and it’s the sort of thing that fits in well on TVV.

cheers

xxxjim

CBS 3337

1 Comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was, being just four years old, far too young back in 1967 to appreciate music.

I’ve also no idea what my folks were listening to back then either.  Thinking back to my earliest memories I can’t recall there being any records in the house. It wasn’t that they didn’t like music and I suspect it was more down to them bringing up three kids in a very small space that prevented them having any sort of collection. I do know however that when we went to a new house when I was 10 years old my dad did get a stereo complete with huge speakers high up on the living room wall….and there were plenty of records there as well but again they all seem, from memory, to date from the early 70s.

So I can honestly say my folks never exposed me to this early single from a Canadian poet turned musician.

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Suzanne

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – So Long Marianne

I became aware of the work of Leonard Cohen from about the age of 13 as a mate’s older brother insisted on playing his stuff all the time.  I can’t say I was too keen….it was all a bit doom and gloom and let’s face it, the majority of the subject matters went right over my head at the time.  But as a number of my own favourite musicians in the 80s began to name check him as an influence I re-approached his material with a fresh mind and discovered that I was indeed a fan.  Here’s some covers of the above songs:-

mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Suzanne

mp3 : James – So Long, Marianne

Enjoy. No really…..I insist.