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Author Topic: When Covers Best Their Original  (Read 6307 times)
Malachi Irl
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« on: June 09, 2008, 11:41:08 AM »

My question is: Which covers have held a greater impact or endearing charm to you that in your eye out shined/clutched you better than the original?

This question is open ended. No particular genre. Electric, acoustic, blues, ballads et al.

I'll open with my fingerstyle preferred bias:

Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan. While I enjoy his work and this particular song...it is Martin Simpson's cover that is almost spellbinding to me.

My intent is that you would state your preferences and why (if you please) without being contested from other posters.
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flatlander
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2008, 01:38:00 PM »

Well I'll throw another Dylan song out although I'm sure I could come up with plenty of others. BTW no slam on Bob, I like the unique way he presents his tunes but "when I paint my masterpiece" as done by The Band. The Acordian really gives it that European flavor appropriate for the song. Anybody heard the the old Bill Haley song
"16 women" done by Danny Gatton? wow and so cool. But either of these 2 groups/players  could do up about any cover. There's tons of covered songs done better than the writer did them  or even the 1st popular version.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2008, 01:54:12 PM »

I dunno, but speaking of Dylan songs, when I hear Axel Rose butchering Knockin' on Heaven's Door, I think about tracking him down and doing some welcoming to the jungle for the sake of truth, justice and the American way.
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008, 02:17:37 PM »

OK, how about Dylan again and Jimi Hendrix's version of All Along the Watchtower?  Which one do you hear most often? 
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2008, 01:52:39 AM »

Watchtower is a case where they're both just great. Dylan pretty much did Hendrix's version from Before the Flood on. I just wish Hendrix would have bothered to get the lyrics before setting it down for all time. Oh well, minor details, I suppose.   
There's so many good covers, I don't know where to start. One's that cut the original, eh?
Three Dog Night - One, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Eli's Coming
Steppenwolf - Born to Be Wild
The Beatles - Mr. Moonlight, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Bad Boy, Twist and Shout
Allman Brothers - Statesboro Blues
The Clash - I Fought The Law
Joni Mitchell - Twisted
Talking Heads - Take Me To the River
The Band - Long Black Veil
Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World
Ry Cooder - Vigilante Man and a pile of others.   
 
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billchivers
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2008, 10:09:49 AM »

 +1 for Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World

Also, Joe Cocker's cover of "With a little help from my friends"

Bill
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2008, 12:03:26 PM »

Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog"
I still prefer Big Mama Thornton's original.

Cream's "I'm so Glad" 
Now there's a goldmine if you want to look at Clapton covers of famous songs. I think he put Bob Marley on the map for a lot of people with "I shot the Sheriff."
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 01:54:00 PM »

Definite  +1 on the Cocker cover of "Little Help From My Friends"!!!

Others that come to mind....
Clapton/Cream - "Crossroads" (Robert Johnson)
Led Zeppelin - "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (Joan Baez)
Lenny Kravtiz - "American Woman" (Guess Who)
10,000 Maniacs - "Because the Night" (Patti Smith)
Santana - "Black Magic Woman" (Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac)
Stevie Ray Vaughn - "Look At Little Sister" - (Hank Ballard & The Midnighters)
Talking Heads - "Take Me To The River" (Al Green)
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 03:07:36 PM »

Jimi's "star-spangled banner"

Fripp's "god save the queen"
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 04:41:41 PM »

If the question is what covers cut the originals then any cover of Bob Marley's songs is going to be inferior because they are among those few that cannot be improved upon, especially by white guys. Kravitz? American Woman? Really? I'm not even a fan of the Guess Who but Kravitz took all the meaning out of the song and made it about an ... American woman. Closer to travesty than great cover. Not quite as bad as Vedder's reading of the already abominable Last Kiss but getting there. 
A bunch of artist getting together to cover one of their favourites is a common thing recently. I've been collecting many of these CDs. I have several on Dylan, one on Leonard Cohen, a Greg Brown, The Band, Mississippi John Hurt, The Grateful Dead, Warren Zevon and many others. Warren singing Casey Jones, Elvis Costello doing Ship of Fools, My Morning Jacket doing It Makes No Difference. I could fill up a few pages of real good covers.     
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tuffythepug
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2008, 05:30:40 PM »

Pat Boone's version of "Tutti Frutti" is waaaaaaaaaaaay better than Little Richard's.   

Woodbadger:    I would respectfully dis-agree with you about "Black Magic Woman".  I still like Fleetwood Mac's version of this song better although I admit I may be the only one who thinks so.

Also, I believe that Eric Burdon and the Animals did the best version of "House of the Risin' Sun"

Credence Cleearwater Revival's version of "I Put A Spell On You" beats Screamin' Jay Hawkins

And even though I love Elmore James I think Stevie Ray Vaughan kicked it up a few notches on "The Sky is Crying"


 
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2008, 05:42:46 PM »

If the question is what covers cut the originals then any cover of Bob Marley's songs is going to be inferior because they are among those few that cannot be improved upon, especially by white guys.


Agreed, but I still maintain that without Clapton's cover, Bob Marley would have had a very different path to immortality.

And along these lines, do you really think the Talking Heads did a better version of "take me to the river"?
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 07:50:31 PM »


Agreed, but I still maintain that without Clapton's cover, Bob Marley would have had a very different path to immortality.

And along these lines, do you really think the Talking Heads did a better version of "take me to the river"?


Marley and his heirs may owe Clapton that. As for Al Green's Take Me to the River, like All Along the Watchtower, both of these versions are great but the TH version, especially the live one, is such a great guitar jam song, I have to give it the nod. Maybe if I was a singer, I'd prefer Al's.   
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 09:44:17 PM »

Ave Maria (Chet Atkins version)

Dylan's "You're gonna make me lonesome when you go" as well as Sting's "Every Little Thing She does is Magic" (Shawn Colvin's versions.)

The Byrds "Eight Miles High" (Leo Kottke Version)

 
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2008, 12:57:16 AM »

Wheels on fire by Dylan done by the Byrds. I shall be released by Dylan done by The Band
      Both of these songs seem like they were written for the Byrds and The Band. I can't think of these songs without hearing the Byrds and The Band.
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2008, 01:47:54 AM »

In the 80's there was a fairly obscure band, the Dream Academy, that did a song I always thought was called 'Life in a Northern Town' which I quite enjoyed.

Now, the pop-country station in town is playing a cover of that song by I don't know whom which sounds even better.

-Scott
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2008, 01:37:03 PM »

Woodbadger:    I would respectfully dis-agree with you about "Black Magic Woman".  I still like Fleetwood Mac's version of this song better although I admit I may be the only one who thinks so.
Tuffy,
I do like the Peter Green version. However, in compiling my list I was trying to come up with covers that, in response to the original question, bested the originals - which I took to mean, had more impact (play time, sales, audience exposure etc.)
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Ian (in Cedar Creek, TX)
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2008, 03:05:30 PM »

Tuffy,
I do like the Peter Green version. However, in compiling my list I was trying to come up with covers that, in response to the original question, bested the originals - which I took to mean, had more impact (play time, sales, audience exposure etc.)


Gotcha.   In that case I totally agree with your assessment.   No doubt that the version most people are familiar with is the Santana hit. 


Here's a puzzler for you:   Who do you think did the "best" version of "First Cut Is The Deepest" ?

Was it the writer,  Cat Stevens,  the first major cover artist, Rod Stewart, or more recently Sheryl Crow ????

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ducktrapper
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2008, 04:20:50 PM »

Rod Stewart's rendition gets my vote.
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Woodbadger
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2008, 07:35:25 PM »

What about the P.P. Arnold and Keith Hampshire versions????   whistling   

Based on MY criteria, then location is everything. In the UK (my country of origin), Rod Stewart --- in the U.S. (where I live now)  Sheryl Crow. 

Personal opinion....Sheryl Crow.

I am afraid that I remember and prefer the Rod Stewart of th Faces days...not the Tony Bennett parody that he has re-invented himself as (he says...ducking...as the arrows begin to fly  )
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Ian (in Cedar Creek, TX)
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"When you're tired, and can't do anything, don't do anything. And while you're not doing anything, practice" - Robert Fripp
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