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jody franklin
multidisciplinary artist
cover songs
spasmsproject wrote the article "Cover Songs: Does validity equal authenticity?" in the new issue of MungBeing. She poses the question "are covers art?," and discusses the question with writers and radio DJs. This got me thinking of some of my favorite cover songs, ones that I like better than the originals.

"Lola" - The Raincoats
How can anyone do a Kinks song better than the Kinks? The Raincoats do a note for note replication, but the breathy, husky female voice that rings like Nico, adding a touch of camp, plus the pounding, tribal drums, make this song one of the best punk rave-ups of all time.

"Shipbuilding" - Robert Wyatt
Maybe I'm just a sucker for his high, wavering, emotional yet smooth vocals, but this version is superior to the one recorded by author Elvis Costello.

"Everybody's Talkin'" - Harry Nilsson
British folkie Fred Neil was an excellent songwriter, but other musicians seem to be able to breathe new life into his songs. This is one of the catchiest tunes ever.

"CIA Man" - Sun City Girls
Somehow these guys manage to make it raunchier, sloppier, more stoned-out sounding than the Fugs.

"Wichita Lineman" - Glenn Campbell
He did a number of Jimmy Webb songs, and this was the best of the lot.

"Wax Minute" - Michael Nesmith
How does he hit those high notes? Penned by Richard Stekol, who I know not a thing about.

"Zappa Medley" - Camper Van Chadbourne
Camper Van Beethoven teams up with Eugene Chadbourne to deliver this bad acid trip of a strung-out, strung together epic: particularly effective is their sampling of "Let's Make The Water Turn Black," propelled by Chadbourne's frenetic guitar and menacing elfin vocals. If you survive the full song without suffering a psychotic break, you're one of the lucky ones.

I have tons more, but I'm tired. What are some of your favorite covers? Are they better than the originals?
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nalidoll From: nalidoll Date: August 8th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

I have a weird "thing" for covers.

If you will be patient, I will even upload some of the ones I have that I lurve dearly, as soon as I get a spare minute. I believe in sharing the joy.
molasses From: molasses Date: August 8th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Richard Stekol sings his "Sittin On The Shitter"

ltmurnau From: ltmurnau Date: August 8th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like Kraftwerk covers - e.g. Big Black's version of "The Model" and the Balanescu Quartet's renditions various other bits. But they're not as good as the original.
starchy From: starchy Date: August 8th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was going to mention "The Model." In my opinion, not only is Big Black's version far more listenable, they manage to create a direct criticism of Kraftwerk's sensibility, their inanity, and their inexplicable popularity. Maybe you have to be as much of a grumpy ol' (OK, young) curmudgeon as myself (or Steve Albini, presumably) to get all that out of it, though.
wailaki From: wailaki Date: August 8th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Sea of Love" by Tom Waits
molasses From: molasses Date: August 8th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sook-Yin Lee wrote Knock Loud but I like Neko Cases version better

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