Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.
Overdose || Cover: Supersuckers || Original: AC/DC
Friday December 3rd, Magnetic Eye Records will release the 2LP Best of AC/CD [Redux], featuring 13 cover versions of classics by the Australian hard rock band. The choice cut of the experienced musicians of Supersuckers was already shared last month – their cover of Let There Be Rock‘s Overdose is a heavy, excellent tribute, where you can hear for 6 minutes that they are true AC/DC fans.
Burning House Of Love || Cover: Jesse Dayton || Original: X
Austin, Texas musician / actor / record producer Jesse Dayton published his memoir Beaumonster last month, which reportedly reads like a who’s who of American music, including stories about his encounters with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson. A companion album of the same title, out via Blue Élan Records, features 10 cover versions of songs by bands discussed in the book, including Supersuckers’ Born With a Tail (he played guitar on a few of their albums), as well as X’s Burning House of Love (he toured with the band).
Runaway || Cover: The Ragged Roses || Original: Del Shannon
New Belgian roots band The Ragged Roses combine the rock ‘n’ roll spirit of the 1950’s with the attitude of modern roots gunslingers. In November they released their debut album Do Me Right, containing self-written original songs and a successful cover of the biggest hit by American singer Del Shannon.
Queen Of Eyes || Cover: Spygenius || Original: The Soft Boys
On their new album Spygenius Blow Their Covers, out digitally and on CD via Big Stir Records, the UK pop combo – Peter Watts, Ruth Rogers, Alan Cannings, and Matt Byrne – plays 13 gorgeous reinventions of The Monkees, Gene Clark, Squeeze, Madness, Traffic and more. Focus track is Queen Of Eyes, originally by The Soft Boys, which Spygenius wear like a second skin: “This song is also here because of the burgeoning friendship between Spygenius and (Soft Boys bassist) Matthew Seligman that was so cruelly cut short by his passing early in the COVID-19 pandemic. We miss him very deeply.”
Let’s Stay Together || Cover: Night Owls || Original: Al Green
On their latest single, out digitally and on 7″ vinyl through F-Spot Records, Blake Colie (drums), Roger Rivas (keys), Dan Ubick (guitars, percussion), and Dave Wilder (bass) give The Reverend Al Green’s classic ballad a Jamaican twist.They wanted to create a more upbeat, bouncing version, but thanks to Destani Wolf’s vocals, the intimacy that makes the song so beloved is preserved.
Trains Across the Sea || Cover: The Unsacred Hearts || Original: Silver Jews
David Berman (Silver Jews, Purple Mountains) passed away over two years ago, but we’ll never forget the American musician / singer / poet and his songs full of wisdom, beauty, pain, hope, and humor. New York City rock band The Unsacred Hearts, longtime devotees, have released their Shine Out In The Wild Silence EP as a tribute, featuring 5 interpretations of some of Berman’s most immediate pieces, including Trains Across the Sea (from Starlite Walker, 1994). Out via Wild Kindness Records and Totally Real Records.
Make It Rain || Cover: Gov’t Mule || Original: Tom Waits
On Heavy Load Blues, their first-ever blues album, southern blues rock quartet Gov’t Mule plays an even mix of originals and revered covers of the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Junior Wells, Ann Peebles, Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Animals, and Tom Waits. Cool to hear how the rattling abrasive original version of the latter’s Make It Rain (from the Real Gone album) is translated into a blues song. Heavy Load Blues is out digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP through Fantasy Records.
I’m In Love With A Girl || Cover: The Starkwells || Original: Big Star
Spanish musician Javier Miramontes has been a fan of Alex Chilton and devoted to Big Star all his life. Via Hurrah! Música he released the digital single #2 last week, with a cover of Nightime (from Third) by his new band Howdy, and a cover of I’m In Love With A Girl (from Radio City) by his previous band The Starkwells.
Fortune Son || Cover: Rise Against || Original: Creedence Clearwater Revival
American punk band Rise Against released a new EP, Nowhere Sessions, via Loma Vista Recordings. In addition to live versions of four tracks of their latest album, Nowhere Generation, they play punk rock versions of Misfits’ Hybrid Moments, and CCR’s Fortunate Son, which they already played in their early basement days.
Hard Lovin’ Man || Cover: Stop Calling Me Frank || Original: The Fleshtones
We recently saw The Fleshtones mark their 45th anniversary with a Spanish language version of Cliff Richard’s We Say Yeah, but they are also being covered themselves. On a new 3-track EP, out digitally and on 7″ vinyl via Rum Bar Records, garage rock / party band Stop Calling Me Frank performs their Hard Lovin’ Man, with active contributions by Fleshtones’ Keith Streng & Count Peter Zaremba.