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I work too hard, baby, that's why I look so beat. I strain every nerve in my attainments, tryin' to make my poor ends meet - Gabriel Brown, Got No Money Blues

Author Topic: Great covers  (Read 12696 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Great covers
« on: March 18, 2004, 09:11:11 AM »
Hi all,
I was thinking recently, in the wake of the discussion on originals versus recreations in Country Blues of the whole concept of "covers", and how sometimes the cover can be so strong and distinctive that it doesn't really suffer at all by comparison with the original recording of the same song.  If I relate it back to my high school days, Gladys Knight and the Pips had a hit with "I Hear It Through The Grapevine" which was great, but then Marvin Gaye did his version, which took it to a whole new level.
Anyhow, I got to thinking about Country Blues covers which I think are exceptionally strong, and came up with the following--
  *Johnny Shines's "Ramblin'", after Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues".  Johnny Shines' singing on that number is incredibly good.
  *Larry Hensley's "Matchbox Blues" after Lemon's song of the same title.  Hensley comes up very strong.
  *Johnnie Temple's "The Evil Devil Blues" after Skip James's "Devil Got My Woman".  Johnnie's weird duet with Charlie McCoy and eerie vocal make this one really distinctive.
Any other favorites out there?
All best,
John

Offline outfidel

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2004, 11:10:21 AM »
Mance Lipscomb's version of "Jack o' Diamonds"
Son House's acappella version of "John the Revelator"
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Offline frankie

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2004, 04:03:19 PM »
I've really been entertained lately by a lot of the performances on Blues Up The Country, a Vestapol video.  One that knocks me out every time is John Jackson doing Blind Blake's "That'll Never Happen No More".  He just takes it and runs off with it, showing just how much he's musically his own man.  It's got some truly slippery licks in it!

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2004, 01:02:57 PM »
Howdy:

One cover I really like is Ernie Hawkin's cover of Blind Blake's "Chump Man Blues" off "Mean Little Poodle". Dave van Ronk also did a great cover of this tune, but Hawkins version adds some great up-the-neck single string work in D during the breaks. This version really opened my eyes to things that could be done in this key.

All the best,
Alex

Offline blueshome

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2004, 01:31:27 PM »
How about the numerous covers of Booker White's Shake 'em Down - especially Tommy McClellan, Big Joe Williams, & Bo Carter's eccentric version?

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2004, 10:19:50 PM »
Howdy:

On the subject of covers, this thread reminds me of one of the most interesting CB covers I ever heard. A band called Climax Blues Band did a cover of Robert Johnson's Come on in My Kitchen. They start out doing an acoustic slide style then gradualy morph into a heavy electric version then back to acoustic. Really effective.

Check it out if you get a chance. The album is called "Tightly Knit"

Alex

Offline Bob B

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2004, 02:14:44 PM »
Hi all

In terms of great covers let's not forget Weenie's own country blues maestro, John Miller.  His cover of Teddy Darby's " Built Down on the Ground" --the beautifully funky "I Never Cried" is just terrific.  His treatment of Robert Wilkins "Dirty Deal"--"Dirty Deeds" has that dandy bassline and tasty single string riff.  On top of the great arrangements and musical savvy, John has a real feel for the music and is a down to earth guy.

Great Days

Bob

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2004, 06:45:31 PM »
I'll second that motion, Bob, and add his version of Rolling Log Blues to the list. Which so far you have to catch live in person. Just splendid.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2004, 11:26:06 AM »
Thanks, Bob and Andrew, for the good words.There are so many great tunes out there, I think there are a lot of possibilities remaining to be examined in this area.  Just remembering to continue to listen to the music and look for songs that are strong and that suggest other treatments seems crucial.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2004, 03:19:39 PM »
Hi all,
I just heard a performance recently that made me want to re-open this thread along the lines in which it was started.? I heard a recording recently by Dr. Ross of "Shake 'Em On Down", that was on a blues anthology CD that one of my students burned, and it was sensational!? I don't know a lot about Dr. Ross, but he was a post-War, one-man band type of performer, I think out of Detroit.? He played the guitar left-handed, I believe (don't know if upside-down) and played harmonica on a rack.? Anyhow, his performance of "Shake 'Em On Down" is so great, it has the qualities I like best in post-War electric Blues--it is really rough, a one-chorder, rockin' rhythm, really raw, "country" singing and harp-playing.? I have to ask Jay where he got the recording because I am absolutely stuck on it.? Find it if you have a chance--it's great!
All best,
Johnm
Edited to add:? Whoops, I forgot to mention that on this particular cut, Dr. Ross is joined by a piano and bass, so he is not strictly doing a one-man band performance on "Shake 'Em On Down". ?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 08:58:54 AM by Johnm »

Offline Slack

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2004, 03:58:38 PM »
Hey John,

Dr. Ross has really got that Groove Thang goin', Man o Man..

Arhoolie has a CD they bill as his earliest and best here, that includes "Shake em On Down":

http://www.arhoolie.com/titles/371.shtml

Looks like 30 second Real Audio sound samples of all the cuts.?I did not listen to all of them - but the ones I did listen to really cook.

cheers,
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 02:29:42 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2004, 06:23:19 PM »
Hi John D,
Thanks for the heads up, and you are dead on the money--grooving was not Dr. Ross's problem!  I will definitely have to get that CD.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2004, 08:02:28 AM »
Hi all,
I recently ordered the Dr. Ross CD on Arhoolie that John D posted the link to two posts back.  I've had a chance to listen to it once and it is sensational, with lots of other good and surprising covers in addition to "Shake'Em On Down".  I will post a review as soon as I get to know it better.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2005, 05:37:32 PM »
Hi all,
I've been thinking about a great one for a while--Robert Pete Williams doing "Louise".  He takes it to a completely different level.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rockdale

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Re: Great covers
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2005, 05:39:59 PM »
Hey,

   I'd like to add one of my favorite covers to this list....

            Lightnin' Hopkins doing Slim Harpo's "Scratch My Back"

      That's all for now.
      Kenny

 


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