When I began playing out regularly back in ’99, heh sayeth the ol’ codger, I exclusively and almost adamantly played original songs. My thinking about cover songs was, hey those songs are already in the world if people want to hear what they already know they can put on the album and be satisfied right away. It was during the Keenan’s Open mic hosted by Orville Davis when he played ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’, the classic Procol Harum song that I understood what is enjoyable about hearing and playing cover songs. First off Orville is a honky tonk, country, and rock player which already affected how the tune was going to sound, no less felt or enjoyable but with his unique stamp. So the effect is twofold, 1. oh I recognize that tune (people like to feel comfortable) and 2. oh this is the live persons take/interpretation of that tune. Not being the brightest bulb in the house I launched into playing covers of music I really dug, Sparklehorse, Tom Waits, Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Elliott Smith…bands who are known but in my neighborhood, at that time, I was undercutting the positive effect of “oh I recognize that song!” (not among the musicians but the audience). A classic example of covers working is Jimi Hendrix version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”. Working, I might add, to such an extent that Hendrix version may be the better known.
Tom Waits is one of my favorite artists and he has penned some amazing tunes which became hits for those who covered them
Downtown Train- Tom Waits (original) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja2evWhGWHA
Rod Stewart (cover) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3GqxsU7hr8
Bob Seeger (cover) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcRsxsjUUAY Mary Chapin Carpenter (cover)
Sorry…I still like Tom’s versions best. I covered the Badfinger classic ‘Without You’ for a Valentines Day gig at Piano’s (158 Ludlow Street) but a lot of folks only know the Harry Nilsson cover.
I am going to be playing an event hosted by
Taylor Rich this Monday March 3rd at An Beal Bocht 445 West 238th St. in the Bronx featuring the songs of Cat Stevens and The Carpenters. I will be covering a Cat Stevens tune, ‘Trouble’
and a Carpenters tune ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’
Carpenters (original) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__VQX2Xn7tI Barry Manilow (cover)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkgsCMyn6nU
This will be Taylor’s launch of The Cover Collective, so c’mon out it’s gonna be a blast!
Thanks for reading and listening! -p
oh also…here’s NIN (Nine Inch Nails) and Johnny Cash cover
Hurt-NIN (original)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66GHz-H4k6M Johnny Cash (cover) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur8j4xWe_44