These are the songs that have been inspiring us this month with some features from artists we've had the pleasure of performing with.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
This track is originally by the Ramones and got the treatment by Red Hot Chili Peppers as part of a B-Side in 2003. This version is a dramatic shift from the punk song the Ramones put out, with the chili's slowing the tempo considerably and emphasising the grooves that although there were not prominent in the original. This track has a summery reggae inspired feel that helps offset the political undertones of
the lyrics that contain aspects of Americas meddling in Cuba.
The Fabulous Flames
Originally a Neil Diamond song this track has been transformed by the Fabulous Flames into a reggae masterclass, I defy anyone to listen to this version of the song and not crack a smile. I came across this song completely by accident, I visited a local independent coffee shop with the gimmick of playing vinyl records all day and this song came on, I was so enamoured with this version I got the owner to play it again for me!
Leo Moracchioli & Mary Spender
Originally by Tracy Chapman, this track needs no introduction really everyone has heard it at one point or another, and if you haven't then where have you been? This version is performed by two well regarded music Youtubers. Leo Moracchioli who is known for his weekly, usually Heavy Metal, covers of famous pop songs and, Mary Spender A singer songwriter who has a show called Tuesday Talks, were she talks about the trials and tribulations of trying to make it as a working musician and interviews other notable musicians. This cover isn't radically different from the original to be honest, but there is something in its softer, stripped back delivery that really works for me. Mary's vocals really help to convey the bittersweet hope of the lyrics. Hopefully that comes for you too!
The Civil Wars.
Originally by Michael Jackson, this version is radically different from Jackson's rendition. This version shuns all of the production and pizazz of the original and instead opts to be a Male/Female duet accompanied by a single fingerpicked guitar. Its raw, beautiful and very effective and a great stepping stone for listening to more of the civil wars material!
A Bad Mashup
OK... OK, I admit it! I may be stretching the idea of a cover somewhat in this one as this is a complete recontextualisation of all of the contributing parts, but my god is it good! This is a mashup performed live and encompasses a plethora of songs, including Michael Jacksons Bad, Bad Romance by Lady Gaga and Bad Blood by Taylor Swift. Hopefully thats got you intrigued, I emplore you to check it out, if for nothing else then at least the phenomenal instrumental and vocal performances contained within!
This track was originally from The Editors debut album 'The Back Room' in 2005. in 2008 R.E.M. Were invited to play at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge and as is usual for the occasion chose this song to play as a cover. This rendition was performed acoustically with percussion, two acoustic guitars and an acoustic Bass. Michael Stipes vocals sit on this track nicely and have a wide vibrato which helps convey the emotion of the lyrics, and the percussion is used effectively throughout, overall a solid cover and well worth your time!
Johnny B Goode
I can’t remember how I came across this version but I can remember being completely confused by it to begin with but that’s the fun of a cover if you’re going to make it your own!
You can hear Tosh’s solo’s in almost every Bob Marley song and his arrangement of this classic song by Chuck Berry makes everything about it that little bit more fun.
Having already been a fan of Eric Gales it was a nice surprise when I bought one of his albums and found this Stones classic on it! It’s been given the classic powerful blues edge that Gales is known for and features some extremely nice guitar playing.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Queens of the Stone Age
This one is a highlight for me from the Revamp: The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin album. The was Queens of the Stone Age have encapsulated the eeriness of their own sound and managed to integrate it in to this song makes it one of my favourite covers.
Originally by Robert Johnson, this live track is one of the best examples of how a power trio should play. The original version can be found online and features just a guitar and vocal which has influenced almost every blues player ever and having Clapton and co put their stamp on it makes it even better! The playing on this is phenomenal.
Romeo & Juliet
This track was from The Killers’ Abbey Road sessions back in 2007 which appeared on their Sawdust album. I’ve never been a huge fan of Dire Straits but this version of this song does everything right for me. I also saw The Killers play this live when I saw them in 2017.
Psycho Killer is one of the weirdest ‘pop’ songs in terms of arrangement and structure but I’ve always liked the Talking Heads version and this is a modern(ish) rock take on this classic song.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
Originally done by Judy Garland in 1939 for the classic film, Wizard of Oz, this song has stapled itself to be one of the best songs of all time. However I've gone for a beauty of a cover from a large Hawaiin man with a name that's not only fun to say but almost impossible to say. It's instantly recognisable from the opening Ukulele chord progression. It's one of the only two songs I know on Ukulele.
In my opinion the best cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic. The band Taking Dawn unleash their metal style and drop the tuning from E Standard to D Standard and the outro riff is HUGE! Very well produced and despite its heavy side, doesn't take away the majesty of the original.
Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Nope...not Feeling Good. Muse have done more covers than you probably realise. I wanted to choose 'House of the Rising Sun' but it's not on Spotify so whatever. This is just as cheesy as the original but has an element of prog rock which Muse never fail to emulate.
Sound of Silence
Perhaps the biggest cover of the decade? No one expected this to be as good as it was. Simon and Garfunkel created a haunting and harmonious song about something we can all relate to. Metal band, Disturbed, did something unthinkable and proved Metal has its place in the mainstream with a cover that has so many dynamics and haunting crescendos towards the end.
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
This! This cover is hilarious but so damn good. We all love it and all I can say is, just listen! But then compare it to the original by Radiohead...it's SO different.
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
Why it's taken me this long to pick a Led Zeppelin song I will never know. And a lot of people don't know this is a cover. First composed by Anne Bredon, then made in to a single by Joan Baez, THEN Led Zep got their hands on it and did what they do best, make everything so much better! Starts with Jimmy Page and insane acoustic fingerpicking style gradually building up to some of the best vocal work the world has seen. I could spend a very long time talking about Led Zeppelin, but listen to playlist instead.
This track was originally by the American R&B group Blackstreet. Alice Jemima is a producer/singer songwriter from here in Devon, she takes this well known track and strips it back with sparse electronic drums, soft piano and subtle guitar. To top off this arrangement is an intimate vocal performance that feels like she is singing the song directly to you. Nathan and Sam had the pleasure of seeing her perform live at the BBC introducing showcase at the end of last year. Definitely an artist worth taking note of.
Don't You Want Me
The Stone Angels
This track started out as a bit of a joke on behalf of Dan who a couple of years previously had learnt it as part of his college course. Surprise, Surprise it turns out that with a bit of distortion and the occasional, completely necessary, pinch harmonic we had the basis of a riff that we all agreed kicks ass! Heavy enough to keep the rockers happy but cheesy enough to keep the wine moms dancing too. We feel like we've struck a good balance with this track. Hopefully you do too!