We’ve all got opinions on cover versions. Not all of them useful or legitimate, of course.
For instance, one of those sardonic and conceited know-it-all engineering ‘but arty’ types at uni once declared quite without irony – in front of what he believed to be a captive audience – that covers of Dylan’s songs are invariably better than his own. My involuntary response was an Edna Krabappel ‘Ha!’, which caused him to look me up and down with affronted puzzlement in much the same way he might a whiskered cross-dresser that had just walked up to him and laughingly widdled on his shoes.
Largely, our preference for one cover over another comes down to those old chestnuts of taste (or lack thereof) and subjectivity.
Creedence’s Heard It Through The Grapevine might well be a bit tasteless, but I like it. Same goes for Fairport’s Si Tu Dois Partir, which my co-Gibleter Rob Peacock rather sneered at quite recently.
There are exceptions, though. Examples that cut through all that “oh, but it’s subjective” business, upon which we can all agree.
Johnny Cash’ version of Nine Inch Nails’s Hurt is, on the one hand, harrowingly brilliant. All Saints (whom somebody seems to have allowed to reform despite there surely having been a law passed to prevent that from happening), on the other, will forever be remembered for producing one of the foulest piles of stinking feculence in the history of everything with their defilement of Under The Bridge. These two are rare samples of the incontestable.
Which makes the scope for the new regular Floyd’s Giblet feature that I’m introducing at unnecessary length pretty much limitless: and, more importantly, easy for us to execute with the minimum of effort.
‘Cover of the Week’ is pretty self-explanatory i.e. we hurriedly think of a cover that we might either love or loathe (or even feel indifferent towards if we’re really struggling) and write some smart-arse words to go alongside a YouTube video or audio clip of said cover. And that’s it, really. Oh, and versions of traditional songs, hymns and that sort of thing are allowed, too.
We’d love to hear your suggestions, and even have you write for us – so if you’ve got a cover you feel particularly strongly about and feel inclined to share your thoughts on it, do let us know, whether that’s through the comments board below, via Twitter (@roryffoulkes or @peaky76 or even the newly created @FloydsGiblets) or smoke signals.
Anyway, I’ll kick off this off, shall I?
I was tempted to go with Jefferson Airplane’s cover of Wooden Ships – one of Crosby, Still and Nash’s very few decent songs – merely on the basis that I listened to it for the first time on Spotify driving home last night, but there’s not really much to say about it. It’s alright, I guess, and occasionally takes off. Much like the original, really.
So, I’ve gone for Woody Guthrie’s House of the Rising Sun instead. It’s not that I’m being pretentious and contrary in choosing Guthrie’s version over the more famous Animals hit version. It’s just that Guthrie hits the spot with his ironic, tongue-in-cheek take on the song for me in the way that the rather overwrought and unthinking Animals version – much as I like it in its own way – doesn’t. You may well disagree.
Here goes, then…