Thursday, June 23, 2011

11 Best Covers: Conclusion

Another calendar month, another 11 Best in the books. Just to remind everyone for the umpteenth time, this wasn't an ordered countdown nor do I claim that these comprise the 11 best covers on an otherwise original-heavy LP. Instead, they're just 11 darned good examples. Here's the list:
Spoon - "Don't You Evah" (The Natural History)
Local Natives - "Warning Sign" (Talking Heads)
M. Ward - "To Go Home" (Daniel Johnston)
Uncle Tupelo - "Atomic Power" (Louvin Brothers)
Middle Brother - "Portland" (Replacements)
George Harrison - "If Not For You" (Bob Dylan)
The Low Anthem - "Home I'll Never Be" (Tom Waits/Jack Kerouac)
Red House Painters - "I Am a Rock" (Simon and Garfunkel)
The Pogues - "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" (Eric Bogle)
The White Stripes - "Conquest" (Patti Page)
Ryan Adams - "Wonderwall" (Oasis)
Again, the key factor here is that all these songs are functional contributors to an original LP. No gimmickry, just a means to an end.

This months wild card is brought to you by balls. Namely, the balls it takes to cover yourself. I can think of a few instances of this--Wilco and Sun Kil Moon, for example--but I'd like to turn your attention to Bob Dylan. First, there was "Girl From the North Country." One of the most celebrated of his early folks songs, Bob decided to call his pal Johnny Cash and throw together a new version for Nashville Skyline. (I'm not a huge fan of that latter version, but it's still cool in principle.) A few years later, Bob not only covered himself again, but the cover was the very next song on the album after the original. The inspiring ballad version of "Forever Young" is immediately followed by a springy, upbeat version. Technically, the latter version is called "Forever Young (continued)", but it stands on its own.

Here are the two self covers:



(God damnit, it pains me to do this but the only youtube I could find is the Super Bowl commercial that used the song, so it's abbreviated and remixed by that douchebag Will.I.Am. *shudder*)

3 comments:

Justin said...

-George
Thanks again for sharing your faves.

If I were to narrow down my list to three stellar covers, they would be:

New Pornographers -
Your Daddy Don't Know
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MfESZHY9Z4

Mates of State -
Long Way Home
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwOri_Tv1Zw&feature=related

Paul Simon -
Biko
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E1H4X_8yUU

George said...

Whoa, holy crap. Had no idea about that "Long Way Home" cover. Really enjoyed that version.

Thanks for these, Justin.

Justin said...

Glad you liked it!
Crushes (the covers mixtape) by Mates of State was on my best of 2010 list. Absolutely love that record. Sure you will too:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/crushes-the-covers-mixtape/id378017583