Haven’t done one of these posts in a long time, but really feeling like it’s time to give these guys the shout that they deserve. (And maybe you need a little something to listen to before the list goes up.) For starters, because not just anyone can take on the Midnight Rambler and do it justice.
What makes these guys such great cover artists? Well, you start with a southern boy with pipes to die for, (and Chris Robinson certainly has them) a definite requirement if you want to take on the likes of Mick, Joe Cocker, Stevie, Plant, etc. But you don’t do great Stones covers with pipes alone, and the band is more than up for the job. Brother Richie on guitar, and Chris on harp, do the Stones proud on this and many, many other Stones covers. (If i’m missing Mick and Co. at all here, it’s only because i’ve become addicted to the coke fueled live bootleg versions.)
Not everyone could do a convincing cover of Ann Peebles, took a Stevie Marriott to make a good go of it. But to take on both Ann and Stevie? Well done guys, i don’t miss either of them on this one.
So you’re Jimmy Page, you’re getting bored with itchy fingers sitting home staring at pictures of the queen, and you have few charity concerts you want to do to clear up your karma. Problem is, you’ve been spoiled rotten by having Plant as your vocalist, so what on earth do you do? You recruit the Crowes, of course, who do Bob proud. (Awesome Page solo on Heartbreaker, he must have had a lot pent up.)
So Dave Mason may not be so hard to cover, Joe Cocker a bit trickier. No problem. Actually betters both of them imho. The band kills it too.
Dylan? Southern classics? Almost too easy.
Deadhead Chris (yes, there is another one) does a beautiful cover of Comes a Time without the Crowes (who apparently aren’t Deadheads), although the opened for the Dead once (in Tampa on April 7, 1995) a few months before Jerry died. If it doesn’t have the poignancy and delicacy of Jerry’s cover, there’s a restrained sort of yearning that breaks my heart. (They’ve also played Sugaree with Phil Lesh a few times i think, but I’ll take Jerry hands down on that one.)