‘Spill Weekly Song Challenge #20 – Collectibles

You all know the rules by now…

So. Last week I received a parcel from Amazon. Nothing very weird about that – I’m forever buying sh*t off the interweb. The package comprised two CDs: a best of Al Wilson (ordered following a discussion about “Do what you gotta do”, written for him by Jimmy Webb, triggered by amylee’s recent covers post); and “Roaring The Gospel”, a rarities album by James Yorkston.

The weird thing is that each CD contained a track closely associated with Tim Buckley: “The Dolphins” and “Song to the Siren” respectively. “What are the chances?!”, I thought to myself (not that I have quite such a twee internal monologue going on – although it’s not far off…).

I then got to thinking about how I have multiple versions of both these tracks on my iPod: “Dolphins” by Fred Neil, Tim Buckley, Trash Can Sinatras, Al Wilson (now); “Song to the Siren” by Tim Buckley, This Mortal Coil, Sheila Chandra, Sinead O’Connor, James Yorkston (now)… In the case of the latter song, in particular, I pretty much collect different versions of it. I never cease wanting to hear new (to me) interpretations. And I’m rarely disappointed by them.

So, after all that preamble, my question is/questions are: Is there any one song you ‘collect’ alternate versions of? What is it about that song that makes it so special? Which is your favourite take on the song (so far)? And why?

If I’m thinking about “Song to the Siren”, I dunno what makes it special to me really: the haunting melody, the pain and yearning in the lyric, the mythic metaphors and archetypal allusions… Call me pretentious, but it feels bigger, more universal, more important than any other song I can think of. And it’s just so goddam beautiful. My favourite take, although it’s a close call, is This Mortal Coil’s. Because it is the version I first fell in love with, I guess. That said, Liz Fraser does some very odd things with the line that should be: “Were you hare when I was fox?”…

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190 thoughts on “‘Spill Weekly Song Challenge #20 – Collectibles

  1. With you on Song To The Siren, bish; it’s in my funeral instructions that my coffin is to disappear from view as the Cocteau Twins version plays!

    But that means you’ve already nabbed my first-thought nom.

    I’ll have to have a think . . .

      • I do collect songs called Evangeline, and have many more than three, but they’re all different songs…OK! I go for G L O R I A because I certainly have three of those.

      • Why Evangeline, TFD?

        And have you acquired the Stan Rogers one (composer, Robbie MacNeill)? That’s the only one that Sheddi and I have between us (on MP3) that is just called “Evangeline”. I’ve got a Cajun number called “Evangeline Special” by the Flatville Aces and I keep thinking of a Love and Money song, but that’s called “Looking for Angeline”.

      • The only song called “Evangeline”* that I know is The Icicle Works’ one. It’s a bit silly but I’ve always quite liked it:

        *OK, I know The Band and Mary Gauthier songs too, but only thanks to RR/the ‘Spill!

    • Why do I like this version? Well, duh; but also, it’s because TP has developed the song into a way of interacting with the audience. For a start, it’s a well-known song but he’s obviously doing something different with it, adding to the story, so that intrigues them. Then he makes a joke at the expense of his own stoner image – “you smell like marijuana” – so that amuses them. Then he makes the actual gig they’re at part of the story – “we’ve got a show tonight in [name of city]” It’s about them! They’re in the song! And to top it off he gets them to show off their knowledge of the song by playing a part themselves – “the wind began to sing her name!” Even if you don’t like TP you’ve got to admit that’s pretty smart.

      This is an audience recording – I looked for the 1999 Hamburg one, which I have on DVD, but nobody’s uploaded it.

      • TFD – I’m totally with you. TP & the Boys did just the act you’ve described here last time. And the thing was the more the crowd got into it (& wewere shouting are asses off) the better the band got, the better TP liked it & the whole thing kept repeating till everyone ( band included I’m guessing) was blissed out. And there was this strong herbal smell during it too. Odd.

      • PS The Fillmore one from 1999 is good – that’s where Gloria complains that it’s not very politically correct to accost a strange woman in the street and start asking her questions…

      • This is fantastic, tfd. Reminds me, from my own musical home turf, of Bobby Womack’s Preacher or Roy Ayers’ Poo Poo La La. Indeed, I remember seeing Roy Ayers doing a good half hour, essentially, of comedy, by way of an extended introduction to the band. But what’s great about this is how tight the band stays while TP does his extemporising.

        [No, I’m sorry – forgive me but, for me, what’s really, really great about this is how much TP looks like a blond version of Tottenham’s Ricky Villa from the early 80s:
        http://www.footballdvds.org/images/villa.jpg ]

    • Well, I’ve always liked the one by Emmylou Harris that’s on The Last Waltz, and then I got one by Mary Gauthier that I also liked a lot and then i just thought “I wonder if there are any other songs called Evangeline?”. Last time I mentioned it some very lovely RRers put some in the box for me, but not the Stan Rogers one so could you pop that one in for me please?

  2. This won’t come as a surprise to some folks around here, but my “collectible” is “She Moves Through the Fair”, a folk song that isn’t as traditionally traditional as all that. My first version is still one of my favourites (I think that that first (conscious) hearing is important to set up the interest in the first place). It’s by All About Eve. The only accessible Youtube video was a clunky 3D animation, which I decided to spare you. You’ll find a streamable mp3 at the link.

    But, any way, you’ll find more details on my obsession at The Knife and Fork Factory. It’s an incomplete ocumentation of an obsession, but that’s in part because there are so very many versions, and I haven’t finished writing about them all yet.

    • That’s a great one Zalamanda, I do like that song, very much and the AAE version is of course lovely, the Anne Briggs and Fairport ones are good too.

      • Two splendid versions there. I’m rather fond of Hazel O’Connor’s version (quite percussion-heavy), and Joe Brown’s, and I was pleasantly surprised by Boyzone’s! Shane McGowan’s version is great, but that’s one I haven’t written about yet. I supose I’ve started to be more interested in the unexpected versions.

    • I didn’t really say why I like the All About Eve version (apart from them being my bestest and most favourite band, of course). I didn’t say it here and I didn’t say it on the Knife and Fork Factory, either.

      First, it was the first version I can recall hearing (it may be the first version I did hear; although my father had an interest in folk, it veered more towards Joan Baez than any of the classic British folk stuff). That’s significant.

      And then there’s its subtlety. It is a quiet oasis on the debut Eves album; straight after it comes “Wild Hearted Woman”, which makes use of the full band. But SMTTF is just Julianne’s voice and some sort of drone instrument. It’s almost – but not quite – a cappella.

      And of course there is Julianne’s voice, which I think is stunning, in a non-trained sort of way. And this song realy showcases her singing.

      Why do I like the song itself? There’s a story – I’ve always loved stories – but it’s a bit ambiguous, and you can interpret it in a number of ways. The words most often used (the “modern” lyrics) are derived from a poem that was based on one or more traditional Irish songs, so there’s a strong literary feeling there. The ghostly element – not in the original poem – is a bonus; ghost stories are great fun, and this one’s not a scary ghost. And it’s a love story too.

      • Excellent explanation of why you like AAE’s version, although I think the way Julianne sings it owes a lot of Sandy Denny, it was the first version I heard too and the atmospheric accompaniment appeals to me too. The Fairport one seems a bit mundane in comparison, I do like a bit of ethereal and ghostly too.

        The Knife and Fork factory article is very interesting :-)

  3. Ace challenge, bishbosh. I particularly like the Robert Plant version of Song to the Siren. I once had a dream where the song belonged to some mermaid people, one of their folk songs. I may have listened to it too often.

    I was pondering the best version of Gloria the other day, think it’s the Doors for me, but it’s not my favourite. I think, as it was my favourite Cure song for ages, I will plump for ‘A Forest’. I spent a long time trying to get other versions of it by the Cure and only found a live version.

    I like this version by Bat for Lashes

    but the Nouvelle Vague version is okay too.

    • Oh, I was thinking about Gloria too, beth. (Van, not U2.) No prizes for guessing my favourite version.

      bish, are we posting our favourite version, and is that therefore the artist/band that can’t be duplicated? Or is it the song itself?

      • Beth – I’m putting the tribute in the RR Dropbox (do you have DB?) not all are good – but it’s interesting – did you hear Cowboy Junkies doing 17 seconds?

        where was that thread about good covers bands – cowboy junkies can take a song and make it special, in their own way.

      • Just listened thru all those NME covers – really like the version of “Cut Here”, perhaps because it was after my time Cure-wise so I have no real attachment to the original. Too many of the others sound like someone unnecessarily fannying around with (pop) perfection – although I quite In Between Days. And Primary.

      • Cut here is an amazing mid/later period Cure song – I was going to do a very long post about it for Apology songs last week – (he’s saying Sorry to Billy McKenzie who committed suicide.. soon after they last bumped into each other) but never quite got around to writing it out – but wordy recommends – who needs them, eh?

        I have it on the Greatest hits Box set – so probably wouldn’t have heard it either – but I’ve so missed the uniqueness of the Cure that I’ve brought the last two albums on vinyl! – his words still give me a thrill that few others can achieve… the music isn’t quite as in sync as it used to feel though.

        those covers are a bit ‘NME’ aren’t they – but I always find this sort of thing interesting.

    • forgot to say, The Cure’s original is my favourite, I like other versions, but it was the original that caught my ear and it’s still the one I want to hear. I’d feel disloyal to Fat Bob if I chose another. Now, covers which have improved upon the original is another topic altogether…

      • saw the Cure live a couple of years ago, but I wish I’d been at Bestival with Roger back in the band. Really missed the keyboards at wembley, even though the encore of A Forest was still good.

      • I’d not heard the song before as far as I remember (which, let’s face it – not very far) and now I can’t decide whether I prefer TMC or the Czars. Damn you, ‘Spillers!

      • Ha ha, honestly, tfd, I have yet to hear a bad version. Sinead’s is perhaps my least favourite that I’ve heard (and I ADORE Sinead), but they’re all great.

        Check out Sheila Chandra’s – a bit like TMC’s but ‘warmer’:

    • Never heard that before – that’s very special.

      Are the words really “were you hare when I was fox?” I always thought Liz sang “were you here when I was fossil?” And the lyric site I just checked says “were you here when I was full-sail?” Wonderful song, anyway.

      bishbosh – do you have Billy Bragg’s Dolphins in your collection? http://www.we7.com/#/song/Billy-Bragg/Dolphins

      • Liz certainly doesn’t sing “were you hare when I was fox?”, but others definitely do. But then, she tends to garble (in a lovely way) whatever she sings, innit.

        No, not got Billy’s version – and can’t seem to get that link to work from work. Will check out this eve…

    • That’s a lovely, lovely version. I went to see John Grant at the RFH a few weeks ago – did I mention? OMG (as the kidz say), I was in tears for about three-quarters of the evening. Just a stunning voice. And the relationship between him and Midlake is really sweet. I had loved the Queen of Denmark album but it really took flight live – his voice was incredible.

      • *grump*

        [mumbles in a stroppy-teenager-styleee]

        I flippin’ missed John Grant in the end at Halifax Minster a fortnight ago, despite having a cherished DsMam pass for the evening. Still sulking (at least until this Saturday, when the West Yorkshire Spill Mini-Social happens at Wilko Johnson’s Holmfirth gig).

      • Sorry DsD. Maybe he was rubbish in Halifax… but I doubt it. Queen of Denmark the song, predictably, was extraordinary and got a (deserved) standing ovation. And I hate standing ovations. But even songs that hadn’t stood out for me on the album sounded amazing live. Great concert. Made me think I ought to check out some Czars stuff actually. Any recommendations, anyone? He played a few of their songs, one of which was called Paint the Moon, I think. It was lovely.

        Ooh, here it is:

        It was better with Midlake backing him…

      • I think “Goodbye” is probably the best, most cohesive Czars’ album but there’s lovely moments on all of them. I dropped most of them for ejaydee a while back. I’ll see if they are still there.

  4. Looking forward to having a good listen to all these later. Loving all the comment notifications flooding into my inbox – makes me feel dead popular!

  5. Hmm…good topic..two songs spring to mind immediately.
    1. Modern Lovers- A plea for tenderness.

    This song was never released at the time the band existed, surfacing first on a live version in the early 1990s. The studio versions, like the one above, still await official release.
    It puts the ram in ramshackle but the sheer visceral power of Jonathan’s pleadings as he gets warmed up are way above what is normally found in recordings. It was , apparently, quite common for him to be in tears when he performed songs like this live.
    Suburban, teenage angst personified.

    2. Rather more cheery this one.
    Hawaiian Cowboy.

    First encountered this song in …surprise Hawaii and was immediately entranced both by the thought that there are such a thing as Hawaiian cowboys and also the sheer tongue twisty cheerfulness of the song.

    He wahi lio Lehua kou inoa lâ
    Hanohano wale `oe Hawai`i lâ
    E like kou holo `ana me ka `ô`io lâ
    Ke kolo, ke kuli, ke ku`i kolo iho `oe
    `Auhea wale `oe te wahine holo lio
    Pua nani a`o Hawai`i lâ
    Aloha i ka Hawaiian cowboy

    It goes. Not to hard, apparently, if you are a native speaker. I’ve got about 6 versions now, sadly my favourite, by the Ho’op’ii’i brothers is not on Youtube but the So one is almost as good.

    I came across this while looking for a version and thought I’d sling it up as an example of one of the things I love most about Hawaii. They know how to have big fun ! *

    * Might seem strange coming from a confirmed miserabilist like me but I do like to see other people having a good time.

  6. A tune that I appear to have multiple versions is ‘Califonia Soul’ especially since the death of Nick Ashford last month and the Funky 16 Corners post in tribute (anyone for a spot of latin?).
    I love the Marvin & Tammi original, The Charles Stepney arranged Marlena Shaw version as well, but I would have to go for the Gerald Wilson Orchestra version :

    • You’ve taken care of one of my potential choices there, Al – I had the Marlena Shaw, Marvin+Tammi and 5th Dimenson versions before picking up some more from Funky 16 Corners the other week. It really is a great tribute to Nick Ashford (and to Val Simpson, of course, but not so poignantly) because it’s such a great lyrical line it can work in a number of moods.

  7. I do not have a particular song I collect versions of but I do collect Japanese cover version of western classic songs.

    Some of the ones I have are rather funny, and some are really rather good.

    Shonen Knife are one of the bands that make really great cover versions, They take a great song and put their character into it.

    Three of theirs that I really like are Top of the World, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head and Daydream Believer but there are many others.

    The one I would like to share with you is Day Dream Believer. It is such a happy and optimistic song and their versions of it really captures the spirit of the song for me

    I hope you like it!!!

  8. The thing with jazz is you can collect by default. For example, I love Body and Soul but it’s more down to its status as one of the essential standards that I have six versions of it on my iPod and probably others on vinyl, In much the same way, as a soulhead, I’m going to acquire variants on certain tunes that would have got passed around the same recording stable before being associated with one particular group or artist – Heard It Through The Grapevine a case in point, no less loved for the fact that I haven’t consciously sought out several versions of it.

    I nearly chose Ain’t No Sunshine (five great versions, led out by Bill Withers’ original, the Jackson 5′s haunting version, plus Lyn Collins’ deep soul, reggae from Ken Boothe, and Roland Kirk, rasping the vocals through his flute) but I decided there was still a degree of osmosis to those acquisitions, whereas Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released was a song I loved, as a 10-year-old Tom Robinson Band fan, long before I got very familiar with Dylan himself. I also came to know it very well by Nina Simone and, no offence to Christy Moore, it represented my favourite part of a 2-hour concert of his in Liverpool when his accompanying guitarist was given one song to sing. And of course, Bob’s version in rightfully in there – it may be my favourite now – but for the purposes of this exercise, I’m turning to the glorious Judy Mowatt and her stirring version:

    Judy Mowatt – I Shall Be Released

    • Hey May1366. I should have said somewhere that, thanks (I seem to recall) to you and the ‘Spill massive, I have eight versions of “Blues Run The Game” on my iPod. Almost undoubtedly the most versions of any song I own.

      • I have several versions of Blues Run the Game too, again despite some great versions, I prefer the original of that too.

      • That’s a song I could see myself collecting. Funny how some songs, whatever your attachment to one particular version, you love hearing in other contexts, whereas others just seem wrong if anyone but the original artist touches them. And then there are songs you would collect if you knew anyone ever covered them…

      • Just been checking out a few more versions and I think I’m in complete agreement with Beth: every version is fantastic but each one’s going to send me back to Jackson C Frank. First listen I’ve had to a Spill favourite, Laura Marling, though, and I might try to come back to her at a time when (as this discussion has prompted me to do) I’m not spending all my money on versions of I Shall Be Released!

    • Is everybody else rushing to their collection to see what versions they’ve got? I have several, including Chrissie Hynde for some reason. (Which is really good.) Love this one!

  9. I’ve never made a conscious attempt to collect this but I have at least six versions of Dark End of the Street, including James Carr and I’d be quite happy to acquire more

  10. Believe it or not but I’ve never really thought about having the same song by different people as collecting versions.

    I think that Song To The Siren and She Walks Through The Fair are ones that I probably have the most multiple versions of as well.

    There is also a song that was mentioned a few weeks ago, Carole King’s Goin’ Back which I also have a few different people covering. I mentioned that in the context of The Byrds.

    I don’t think that I deliberately set out to get alternative versions of anything really.

    One song that I love and which I have versions of by different people is Bonnie Dobson’s Walk Me Out In The Morning Dew. I could mention the many versions by The Grateful Dead or the one by Robert Plant, but Jeff Beck’s cover on the Truth album is pretty good too.

    Here it is, with Rod Stewart (when he was good) on vocals.

  11. Why on earth would anyone want to collect multiple versions of the same song by different artists when you can accumulate multiple versions of the same song by the same artist?!
    ~ wanders off, scratching head, to listen to more of the Tivoli concert from April 14th, 1972 ~

    • That was the first thought that occurred to me, Chris – I have 50 versions of American Girl, which is a nice round number I think.

      • It depends how different the versions are, tbh, bish. I’m getting a bit bored of Sugar Magnolia – mainly because it was once a delicate little thing that gets rather trampled on night after night. But there are some songs that get fashioned as slightly different gems each night (e.g. Mr. Charlie – even though played every night of the tour, they’re still the last versions that Pigpen ever sang); and others that are never the same twice (Dark Star, The Other One, Playin’ In The Band, etc), so you go on a different voyage each time, with only a very rough map to guide you. It’s quite exciting.

      • I’m sure you’re right, Chris. I was being a little facetious. I think I may actually be a bit jealous of the passion you and tfd have for one (or two!) particular artist(s). It seems like a special thing – even if I don’t quite understand it!

      • I’ve just found a JG bootleg from 1963, Chris, where he’s playing folk songs with his first wife. Have you got it?

      • I wouldn’t listen to all 50 in one go, bish. But I listen to music in two ways – on shuffle, where it’s nice to hear American Girl from time to time, and a whole album at a time in which case I’m interested in the playing order and why they made the decisions they have. I do have 18,000+ songs altogether – only 10% are TP.

      • I’m more on the bishbosh level..

        I think ALL artist should only be given the chance to make two albums, an E.P, 2 x 12″ and 7 singles – plenty enough to be interesting and develop but not too much to get boring…*

        I’m incredibly impressed by others de(a)dication to their chosen artist… my lack of in-depth analysis makes me and my listening habits Petty!

        *(this reply was made in jest – please do not quote me on it)

    • :-)
      It all depends how prolific your favoured artists are!

      Eventually, you run out of obscure All About Eve B-sides (and album tracks) and you start wondering whether there might be any similar stuff; so you go in search of the originals of the ones that your favourite band covered… this is why I own a Cliff Richard compilation (Devil Woman), as well as the more successful zaladiscoveries of Jethro Tull, Trees and Mellow Candle. I haven’t bothered to get anything by Wham.

  12. This has stumped me a bit. I don’t ‘collect’ multiple versions.

    There’s “The snows they melt the soonest” by Anne Briggs or Dick Gaughan – hard to choose because they’re very different, but I have a bit of a thing for Dick Gaughan so I’ll go with that.

    Then there’s “In a Broken Dream” – I like the Python Lee Jackson version very much but I also have a Kathryn Williams version which is good. She sings a cover of “Hallelujah” which I like too, but I don’t have any other version.

    There must be more folky stuff but brain not functioning.

    Here’s Kathryn:

    Don’t tell Gordonimmel!!

      • Tam Lin, for instance – I have zillions of versions of that (possibly slight exaggeration there). For me Fairport’s is always the favourite though.

    • You don’t have Leonard Cohen singing Halleluja? The same Halleluja? I saw Cohen in interview (was it in “I’m Your Fan”?) saying something to the effect that he’d never understood the song himself until he heard Rufus Wainwright singing it (was he being characteristically playful?). It seems to be getting the same sort of attention that, say Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ gets: the old “I don’t like so-and-so, but I like this one song” routine. Which, when you consider the body of work, is a crying shame.

    • I jest of course. No can’t think of a proper answer to this one. There’s several songs I have multiple versions of but usually by accident.
      Turning the challenge on it’s head I always like to hear Sisters Of Mercy covers of other people’s songs which are usually well chosen and entertaining.

    • Sisters are fab at re-interpreting other people’s songs and making them their own. Jolene and Emma are probably my two favourites. For some reason I have lots of versions of Poison Door, by Ghostdance as well as the Sisters, I think it’s a bit of a crap song though.

      • Poison Door is quite good though probably not a classic. I guess it was a Gary Marx song then, I read somewhere that quite a few Ghostdance songs were ones he’d written for the Sisters before leaving.
        I would rate the Sisters’ Emma, Gimme Shelter and Knocking On Heaven’s Door as some of my favourite covers ever.

  13. Hmmm. Interesting. Scanning through my iTunes list of songs, I realise for the first time that there are literally dozens of songs that I have three or more versions of. But I don’t think I set out consciously to do that, except in the case of Sandy Denny’s ‘Who knows where the time goes’. Anyhow, my pick is ‘A change is gonna come’. Partly because it’s a great song, that I never tire of, despite some recent overuse. Partly because it’s very much how I feel right now, with the arsonists in charge of the fire brigade. It is a song that is covered in Dorian’s book, too. My choice of singer is Allison Moorer. She’s in good company, as Shelby Lynne’s younger sister, and Steve Earles’s wife. Nothing on You Tube is worth sharing,
    so here’s a link.

  14. As May says, it’s slightly different for jazz fans, as certain songs get played again and again; I have a particular fondness for different versions of Autumn Leaves, because the chord changes are rather lovely (my favourite is currently the one on Ahmad Jamal’s Live at Olympia birthday concert, not least because of the way it’s deconstructed so that it takes at least a minute before the tune becomes remotely recognisable) and Summertime (has to be Coltrane). But I don’t actually collect cover versions of a single song. Performances of music by a specific composer, yes – Krzystzof Komeda – but that’s not quite what the question asks…

    I’ve been trying to think whether I own more than two versions of any song that isn’t a jazz standard. The only one I can actually

    [Brief interlude while Mrs Abahachi shouts from downstairs "Help! There's a funny noise! Help!" and I have to sort it out - the freezer was objecting to three pots of chicken stock that hadn't cooled down properly]

    think of – and it’s not remotely something that I’ve actually collected – is Hey Joe. Hendrix, of course; Deep Purple; Patti Smith; and my favourite, the Make-Up.

    • Drat, Drat & double drat. This is what I get for working Tuesdays. Hey Joe Is without a doubt my collectible. I’ve just counted 41 version starting with Alice’s Garden & ending at Wilson Pickett. There’s five different takes from Hendrix but it all starts with the first one I heard. I was 17 & these guys were playing my local teen club & blew the place away with it.

      Hey Joe – The Leaves

      When JonD relaxed the rules & picked this for Criminals week I was beyond stoked. The thing is all 41 are covers. Now if you can find me a copy by Billy Roberts (which may or may not be the original but he had the copyright) I’ll be truly blessed. Darn you Aba! ( and I mean that in the most loving way)

      • I’m really sorry – especially as this was my ‘default ‘cos I can’t actually think of any other songs’ choice…

    • This is definitely one of those songs that’s been rewarded by multiple interpretations – the two I grew up with were by The Byrds and Jimi, but the latter’s take on it owed much to Tim Rose (see the discussion of Carole’s Walk Me Out In The Morning Dew). I knocked around years ago with a bunch of Tim Rose fans and, while I have overall fond memories of the music, the two tracks that I remember most clearly were Morning Dew and Hey Joe, so it’s fun to reunite them on this thread:

  15. I like this challenge but I don’t knowingly do this. Other than the afore-mentioned Blues Run the Game, I can’t think of any song I have more than three versions of (also excluding Bob Dylan covering himself).

    Avoiding the obvious Hallelujah, I’m going for another Lenny Cohen song that lends itself to different interpretations: Tower of Song. I don’t actually own the original, but have acquired versions by Robert Forster, Marianne Faithful and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and I’ve just enjoyed discovering takes by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Martha Wainwright.

    Cave’s is the barmiest. I was terrified when I first heard it, but I think it might just be my favourite:

      • The Pixies’ take on “I can’t forget” is my winner from that album, although there are loads of great versions on it. REM’s “First we take Manhattan”, for a start. And I’m kind of fond of Dead Famous People’s “True love leaves no traces”. In a rinky-dink kinda way.

  16. Don’t really go out to collect different versions of the same song. Seem to have accumulated a few versions of “Heroes” though: Nico, TV On The Radio, Magnetic Fields. Here’s the Aphex Twin remix of the Phillip Glass orchestral cover:

  17. More by accident than design, I appear to have at least seven versions of “My Funny Valentine” although, clearly, there must be a hundred others I don’t own.

    The ones I do are by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Costello, Etta James, Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan and Nico.

    I think I honestly like the Elvis Costello one best but this is the most startling.

  18. Got to say, apart from Brel, in the recordings I actually own, it’s unlikely I ever get beyond a brace.

    Here’s the exception; the original is the best though . . . and in a deadhead stylee, . . . I probably have 50 versions from the man himself.

  19. and in a deadhead stylee, . . . I probably have 50 versions from the man himself.

    Bollocks, just read back up the thread.
    Does this mean I have to sit with the weird kids now?

  20. OK, bish pinched my first thought with his header; I can’t use my second thought for reasons that will have to be withheld for a week or so; so it’s choice number three coming up.

    Yet again, I’ve got wrapped up in domestic and professional admin too much to pay this the attention you lot deserve, but picking up on a comment I did see from Carole, I actually normally avoid searching out alternate versions of songs I like, as the miss:hit ratio tends to be far to high for my liking.

    This next song, though, is an exception to that rule: the only version I’ve heard that I don’t like is the risible, limp, ScarySpice hit. Korn’s is OK, Willis is great fun, Cameo’s original is iconic, but here – yet again – is my hard-rockin’ favourite version of Word Up!

    Goodnight all. I’m sleeping for England at the moment: must be all this work I’ve got on!

      • Thanks, you two.

        At the end of the 80s, Gun (& then Thunder) stopped me from going completely insane at the lack of decent rock, when I couldn’t stand the LA hair-metal cock-rock that was dominating the scene.

        Gun shows were absolute bounce-athons anyway, but they had a habit of throwing in unexpected cover versions* as encores at the end of their shows.
        600 of us went so mental at first hearing Word Up! from them that Bradford Queens Hall subsequently had to shut down their rickety old balcony for good!

        *Killing In The Name Of, Pretty Vacant and Let’s Go Crazy were other memorable WTF?! moments. Ah, good times they were, when my clogs felt like they were coke-fuelled and spring-loaded.

        Back to the admin and the footy commentary . . .

      • Good call, DsD. RR is the sum of it’s parts. Dearth of reggae since GF retired & now it doesn’t rock as much as it should.

  21. As Aba has beat me to my old friend Joe I guess I’ll pick his sometime girlfriend ( no, not the one he shot). I have 11 different versions of Sweet Jane starting ,of course , with the Velvets. They’re all great so I’ll pick this version because it takes so long to build & the voices are so perfect.
    Here’s Two Nice Girls.

    • I should have mentioned one of the reasons I love this version is the Girls work in in Joan Armatrading’s Affection as a counter harmony. Really lovely.

    • I realised , after I posted, that the song I’ve probably got most versions of is Waiting for the Man.
      Thing is it’s probably my least favourite Velvet’s song. They just couldn’t stop doing it though and , being a bit of an obsessive where they are concerned, I’ve ended up with tons of versions.
      Then there’s Nico and Slaughter and the Dogs too !
      Why,Lord, why ?

    • I think my favourite “Sweet Jane” is still the Cowboy Junkies’ (which was the first version I heard) but I do seem to have aquired a few other versions. The Velvets’ was deliberate, but Mott the Hoople and The Imagined Village were just kind of bonuses. Two Nice Girls’ version is lovely, and completely new to me. The introduction of “Love and Affection” is so natural, it makes it hard for me to recall how the song goes without it.

  22. Hmm. I think i probably collect cover artists more than songs. The Four Tops, Linda Ronstadt, Stones, Nirvana, Government Mule, Joe Bonamassa, the Dead, etc.

    First thought for a song was Wang Dang Doodle – every time i nom it i post a few alternate versions – Howling Wolf, Pointer Sisters, Koko Taylor, the Dead.

    But i’m going to go with this one – Perfect original and two brilliant and distinct covers.

    And of course the Dead – is there anything they didn’t cover? Gov’t mule does a kickass version too, i love Warren Haines’ voice and guitar.

    Maybe i feel a Best Cover Artists Ever – Pt 2 post with Gov’t Mule. Hold that thought.

    Oh, shit, i just thought that i collect covers of this one too -

      • Hope you made it home safely Sakura!

        It was pretty bad down in my neck of the woods, and it took me 4 hours to get home!! It seems to have calmed down a bit now though, thankfully!

      • Thank you for your concern Panthersan and TFD!!!

        I am pleased you got home OK also!!!

        It was very bad earlier and the train was stopped for a while, but I got home OK thank you but it did take a long time

        It is the second bad typhoon this month and I am really fed up of them now!!!

        It does seem to be less wind now, so hopefully it will be OK tomorrow.

        Thank you!!!

        Love

        Sakura xx

  23. A wee bit blowy here, but here goes…..

    ….collecting different versions isn’t something I actively do, so it will probably have to be a garage rock standard like “Louie Louie” or a US punk standard like “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” that i’ve acquired multiple versions of by default.

    I think i’ll go for “…Stepping Stone” ‘cos I like a bit of the Monkees (unironically) and thought it was pretty funny that it got picked up by the Pistols and then adopted fervently by the US hardcore scene.

    Minor Threat – “Steppin’ Stone”

  24. I’ll second Aba and May’s comments about assembling different versions of songs more by accident than design.. two I can recall looking up explicitly to hear how the version was interpreted would be Youn San Nah’s delightful kalimba accompanied My favourite things (it takes a lot of courage in the jazz world to do a non-Coltrane influenced version of this, but I think her interpretation of the lyric is sublime), which I posted on the Spill a while ago, and this breathless quickie of Eddie Harris’ brilliant Freedom Jazz Dance, which I also have by Miroslav Vitous, Miles Davis, and The Don Ellis Big Band.

    Greg Patillo’s version isn’t necessarily my favourite but it is astounding if you’re into beatboxing flautists. Not a man to enter into a pip-spitting contest with.

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