The Yearly Grovel: I always say that everybody should have a hobby, and Cover Freak is one of mine. It’s not a real expensive hobby, it’s definitely cheaper than golf. But there are expenses involved. I need to pay to register the coverfreak.com domain name, I need to pay the web hosting company, and I need to pay for the music that I post (at least the stuff that hasn’t been sent to me by bands or their publicists). There’s an orange button at the top of the left column that you can use to make a donation via PayPal. Over the course of a year that poor lonely button almost never gets clicked and so each year at this time I ask my audience to donate to help keep the lights on at Cover Freak. I’d like for each person reading this to please use that PayPal button to donate $2 to the cause. Even in tough economic times it’s a pretty modest request, less than a milkshake or a pack of cigarettes. If everybody donated it would be a big deal to me. And whether you stop by for the music or the writing I hope that if you’re visiting with any regularity you’re getting $2 worth of enjoyment out of the blog. Thanks for your support.
The sixth year of Cover Freak has been the most challenging. I’ve already self-indulgently whined about the challenges I’ve faced keeping the blog going and I’ve been touched by the encouragement I’ve received from the Cover Freak faithful. Despite my whining I do enjoy what I’m doing here and I appreciate the folks who come by to check out Cover Freak. Having conversations with people from around the globe is a very cool thing to be able to do. I asked what songs people liked the most from the last year and this is what folks requested. Thanks to everybody who took the time to let me know what you’d like to hear again.
Taut French Joel “We Will Rock You” (Queen)
I’ve been a big Queen fan since A Night At The Opera came out when I was in grade school. But I never really warmed to the brain-dead stomp of this song. It’s also just so horribly overplayed at sporting events. That’s why this contemplative acoustic version is so wonderful. It mines emotions that I never imagined were within the song.
Charles Angle “Let It Snow” (Vaughn Monroe)
Two different people requested this, which makes me seriously concerned about my readers. I wonder if Mr. Angle was drunk when he recorded this. He botches the lyrics, stumbles over the words that he does sing, and at one point just abruptly stops singing altogether. Freakette keeps asking me why they didn’t just do another take, and I just have to tell her that I wonder that myself. Many thanks to my friend John for rescuing this from a thrift store and sharing it.
Barb Jungr “Things Have Changed (Bob Dylan)
This is a serious contender for my favorite Bob Dylan song, and I’m not entirely sure why. There’s just something about it to that speaks to me. This is a nice jazzy version featuring some great percussion and a woman who’s a much better singer than old Bob.
Mathias “Substitute” (The Who)
This is another song that was suggested by multiple people. And I can understand why since it’s such a snappy syncopated take on the British Invasion warhorse.
Dick Haymes “Me And Bobby McGee” (Kris Kristofferson)
During the last week of August this year I had a nasty case of stomach flu. I was still able to post but I didn’t have time to come up with a theme for the week. Interestingly enough three of the five songs from that post were requested for this week’s post. I’m glad that the post was so popular, but it does make me wonder if I’m better off not having a weekly theme. I’ll probably still keep doing it though, just to keep myself challenged if for no other reason.
Dan Zanes “Drunken Sailor” (Traditional)
Dan Zanes is one of those rare people who makes music for children that doesn’t make adults cringe. That’s because there’s a high level of musicianship and a great love of music in everything he does. This version of the song uses traditional acoustic instruments (including a singing saw) to wonderful effect.
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women “Que Sera, Sera” (Doris Day)
Roots rock legend Dave Alvin and his band do a great job of breathing new life into this song from a more innocent era. The Guilty Women are an all-woman band that absolutely tears it up live, go hear them play if you ever get the chance.
General Store “Hold Me Now” (Thompson Twins)
Even in the 80s I just couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for the Thompson Twins. I much prefer this languid guitar version of their hit.
Shinehead “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson)
I love the reggae, love the Michael Jackson vocal tics, love the Morricone whistling. Just a really fun cover.
Jon Langford and the One Day Band “Rocket Man” (Elton John)
I had a request for anything by Jon Langford, so here’s a song he recorded for an episode of This American Life. He put together a band for one day using classified ads.