Handsome Boy Modelling School – The Truth Featuring Roisin Murphy – Galt MacDermot #coverversion

“The Truth” has been on rotation in my collection for about 10 years now, and it’s a track I can keep going back to and find something new every so often – the hallmark of a classic.

“The Truth” is a cover of Galt MacDermot’s seminal piano soul composition “Coffee Cold” (which was featured on the 1968 version of The Thomas Crown Affair). Initially it was Roisin Murphy’s voice that drew me in to the track, but the tone, texture and musically of the music soon took the focus. It was while hunting down the samples used that I discovered “Coffee Cold.”

Handsome Boy Modelling School – The Truth

“The Truth” is taken off the 1999 album “So… How’s Your Girl?” which features performances from Roisin Murphy, Del The Funky Homosapien, Gran Puba, Biz Markie and others. If you’re in to breakbeak hip hop, it’s worth a listen.

“Handsome Boy Modelling School” was made up of Dan The Automator and (the legendary) Prince Paul (De La Soul. Wu Tang Clan, Fat Joe)
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Galt MacDermot – Coffee Cold

This is one of the rare instances where I have an equal amount of love for the original and the rework. I want both of these on vinyl, baldy.

Handsome Boy Modelling School

Umami – Sunny – Bobby Hebb cover version #coverversion Friday

This week’s cover is technically more of a remix, but it was so artfully and respectfully handled, that I just has to post it.

Umami is comprised of German Duo of Sam and Robert who put together a cracking rework of Bobby Hebb’s beautful acoustic soul record ‘Sunny’ which ranks very highly on my list of all time feel-good pop songs.

Umami – Sunny

“Sunny” has been covered by everyone from Jamiroqui and Marvin Gaye to Frank Sinatra (even a surprisingly tender version by Leonard Nimoy aka Mr Spock), and I’ve posted some of my favourite versions down below the original.

It’s always great to hear a classic rework make its way to the dancefloor.

Bobby Hebb – “Sunny” (1966)

Jamiroquai – Sunny cover version

Frank Sinatra – Sunny cover version

Marvin Gaye – Sunny cover version

Leonard Nimoy – Sunny cover version

Bobby Hebby Sunny album cover

Christian Scott – No Church In The Wild – jazz #coverversion Friday

Today’s cover version is a jazz inspired mind trip. Picture Miles Davis, Frank Ocean and The Roots all having a jam session, and you’ll get to where this track is at.

Christian Scott – No Church In The Wild

Trumpeter Christian Scott delivers a trumpet driven, jazz version of No Church In The Wild that would make Charles Mingus smile, and is perfect for this week’s #coverversion Friday selection.

Considering the inherent similarities between the origin and spirit Hip Hop and Jazz Music, I really shouldn’t be as surpised as I am. But damn son, I didn’t see this coming…

I didn’t want to pick something that people could already envision a jazz version of; I picked a song that had such a different vibe. I want people to be like, “Damn, I didn’t even know you could do a jazz version of that!” – Christian Scott

Christian Scott
Photo credit: Kiel Scott via NPR

As ‘No Church In The Wild’ is one of my Top Ten Track of 2012, I had high expectations of this cover, and Christian Scott delivers. The only way this gets any more awesome is if The Throne decide to record a version of their verses over this

Watch The Throne – No Church In The Wild

Jessie Ware – Do For Love (Bobby Caldwell #coverversion)

I grew up with ‘Do For Love’. My father had the Bobby Caldwell OG version in pretty frequent rotation on the old Blaupunkt turntable, and when I discovered the Tupac version as a teenager I played it to death., cos I was hardcore like that homie. This is a special song to me. Suffice to say, I’m sufficiently skeptical of covers of a song so near and dear to me. Jessie Ware treats the track with respect, leaving in enough of the original to allow some reminiscence while still adding enough of her own signature to make the version refreshing.

The sparse but never empty production complements the tone and emotion of the vocal track, resulting in a pleasing and thoroughly listenable record.

Jessie Ware Do For Love Cover Version
]Img credit: Jamie McKelvie

Jimi Hendrix All Allong The Watchtower (Bob Dylan Cover) #coverversion Friday

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another killer cover version. In some respects, they don’t get any bigger than this – Jimi Hendrix covering Bob Dylan.

For a long time I didn’t know that this was a cover version, I thought that it was a Hendrix original. Dylan penned the original in 1967 and the Hendrix Experience started recording his version just one year later and released it on the seminal Electric Ladyland, pretty weird for a cover version.

Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower

It seems that one of the biggest fans of the cover version was Bob Dylan. He praised the the Jimi Hendrix Experience version on on a number of occasions

It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”

“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way. – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan – All Along The Watchtower

Senor Coconut and His Orchestra – Around The World – Daft Punk Cover Version

Today’s installmenet of #coverversion Friday is easily the most fun track I’ve uncovered yet. Below you’ll find a picture of a Japanse CD that shows a German orchestra doing a cover of a song by a French electro brand who used a sample from an American composer to create one of the best songs of the last 15 years. I would love to figure out how to drop this Senor Coconut Daft Punk cover version in a live set, just to see people’s faces.

Senor Coconut And His Orchestra – Around The World

Daft Punk – Around The World

Jerry Goldsmith – The Rec Room

A few years back I bought the Discovered album – it is a collection tracks that Daft Punk has sampled over the years. Some of the tracks are very distinct and easy to recognize, like Cola Bottle Baby from Edwin Birdsong.

COLA BOTTLE BABY [HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGET] by EDWIN BIRDSONG on Grooveshark

This track, however is one that really shows the Daft Punk sampling chops. I have no idea how they Gladwelled the sample from the Rec Room.

Moonchild – Party (Beyonce Cover) #coverversion Friday

For me, the best way to watch a Beyonce music video is on a big screen TV with the sound off. It just makes more sense that way. Now, thanks to one of my new favourite Neo Soul bands ‘Moonchild’ I can even play a cover of one of her songs while I perv watch.

This is a cover version of Beyonce’s “Party” by Moonchild, and hot damn it if that keyboard bass doesn’t get me every time. I recently bought ‘Be Free’, Moonchild’s debut album, and you should too, it’s worth the tenner.

Mark Ronson ft Tiggers – Toxic #coverversion Friday

I never thought the day would come when I would post a Britney Spears song on this blog, but here we are. Today’s #coverversion Friday feature is Mark Ronson’s cover version of ‘Toxic’ by Ms. B.S.

it sounds like a sitar was fed in to a tree shedder


I’ve always held the opinion that this song is fantastic, and that the real tragedy is that she was the one who sang it. Produced by Bloodshy & Advant, the track was originally offered to Kylie Minoque who rejected it, and it sounds like a sitar was fed in to a tree shedder. Only in a good way.

Today’s cover version is by Mark Ronson featuring Tiggers take off the album ‘Versions.’ It’s a slowed down,funked up version with brass from the almighty Dap Band and a verse from ODB. Tiggers please, this track is the bidness.

And Here’s the original version of Britney Spears Toxic. As much as it pains me to say it, I love this song/.

britney-spears-toxic
P.S. For the record, I do think Britney Spears is capable of incredible feats – I mean, who else can make Vajayjay look bad just by getting out of a car. I’ve never looked at roast beef the same way since.

Florence + the Machine – You’ve Got the Love #coverversion Friday

I’ll be the first to admit it: most of the time disco remixes are shyte. This time however, we have an exception. Florence + The Machine deliver their take on the Candi Staton classic(circa 1986) and deliver a whopper for #coverversion Friday

I’ve heard of F+TM but never took the time to listen to any of their music because, well, it sounded like a girlie band. Just goes to show that the books and covers thing goes for bands and names too. Since listening to this fantastic cover version, I’ve become a fan.

 

A hat tip goes out to Rory21 for blogging about the Mark Knight remix. Classy late night progressive fare for the hands in air kids.

 

 

Who Is She (And What Is She To You) – #coverversion Friday

Let me start by saying that Bill Withers is the man. His ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation gets a helluva workout on my iPod on a regular basis. So it’s with this in mind that I can appreciate a tastefully done cover version of my favourite of Withers’ tracks – ‘Who Is He And What Is He To You’. Madelaine lends some Big Band flavour to one of the funkiest tracks I know and despite how cheesy the concepy sounds, it actually comes off pretty well.

For those who don’t know the OG version, here it is. Billy is a bad, band man on this track Dag gummit. Look out now!

 

Bill Withers

Joshua Ledet – It’s A Man’s World #coverversion Friday

This week’s sees one of my favourite James Brown tracks covered. Joshua Ledet, an American Idol contestant sings the you know what out of the classic “It’s A Man’s World”, making it all his own. Spine tingling talent, perfect for today’s cover version. It’s a shame that we was voted off the show. Predictable, but still a shame.

This is the second cover version by an American Idol contestant I’ve featured, the first was David Cook’s double cover – he covered Chris Cornell’s cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.

Watch David Cook – Billie Jean here



Other than this version, I also found a great house remix by The Sound Diggers back in December

Civil Twilight – Teardrop #coverversion Friday

This week’s Cover Version is courtesy of my friend Danille Moult who shared it with me a few weeks back. The song being covered is Massive Attack’s classic ‘Teardrop’ from the 1998 album Mezzanine. I must admit that after hearing so many disappointing attempts, I didn’t expect to find a Massive Attack cover that I actually enjoy. I’m a huge fan of the band and their sound, so their original material is almost ‘sacred’ if you will.

Despite sounding like a very polite vampire movie, the boys from Civil Twilight have done one helluva rendition – I’ve been listening to it on and off for a few weeks to see if it has staying power. I’m happy to report that the shine hasn’t faded, even after many repeats. And the best part is that now I have another quality band to listen to. The fact that the band is from my home town – Cape Town, South Africa – is just the icing on the cake. Thanks Danny 😉

Massive Attacj Mezzanine

BONUS – “Letters From The Sky”

After listening to their cover so many times, it seems wrong not to include one of their original compositions as well. “Letters From The Sky” is taken off the band’s album self titled album and was featured on the movie soundtrack to ‘I Am Number Four.’

The drumming on this track is hypnotic, and on the first listen I was instantly reminded of Live back when Ed Kowalczyk was still with the band. Definitely a good thing.

The Fugees – Killing Me Softly – #coverversion Fridays

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to dust of a classic track and throw in a modern interpretation. Except this time the interpretation is a classic in it’s own right. And even the first famous version is a cover version…

In 1973 Roberta Flack flack released “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and it (rightfully) took the Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female Performer and also took the Song of the Year Grammy. So suffice to say it was a big song.

22 Years later, a group called the Fugees covered the song with Lauryn Hill providing the lead vocal and their version went on to become of the biggest songs of the next two years and some might say of all time. It was featured on their seminal album “The Score.”

In my opinion, this a strong contender for “Best Song Of The 90s.” Listening to this track has a way of making me feel good.

The Writer

One of the things I about this song is the story behind it. Here are a few words from Norm Gimbel, the songwriter, on the genesis of the song.
“I came to California in the mid-sixties. I was introduced to the Argentinean born composer named Lalo Schifrin (then of Mission: Impossible fame). I ended up writing songs to a number of his motion pictures. I suggested we write a Broadway Musical together. He gave me an Argentinean novel translated into English from the Spanish to read as a possible idea. Suffice it to say, we never made a musical from the book — but in one of the chapters, the principal character describes himself as sitting alone in a bar drinking and listening to an American pianist ‘killing me softly with his blues.’ I put it in my ‘idea’ book for use at a future time with a parenthesis around the word ‘blues’ and substituted the word ‘song’ instead. Many years later, Lori Lieberman saw Don McLean in concert. I then wrote the lyric and gave it to Charles Fox to set to music.”

The Singer

Roberta Flack first heard “Killing Me Softly With His Song” on a flight from Los Angeles to New York City on which the Lori Lieberman original was featured on the in-flight audio program: scanning the listing of available audio selections, Flack would recall: “The title, of course, smacked me in the face. I immediately pulled out some scratch paper, made musical staves [then] play[ed] the song at least eight to ten times jotting down the melody that I heard…. When I landed, I immediately called Quincy [Jones] .

The Original

As hard as it may be to believe, the original is actually a country version, performed by Lori Lieberman.

Alex Clare – When Doves Cry #coverversion Friday

We’re keeping things in the eighties for this week’s #coverversion Friday with a rework of Prince’s 1984 hit “When Doves Cry” by one of my current favorite artists, Alex Clare.

I’m not really sure which genre to classify this cover version under. It seems to have emerged from the current wobble bass/ Dubstep phoneme but it’s so much more than that, with amen breaks and organic piano swirling around with synths to create a very modern rework.

Alex Clare’s strong, soulful vocal performance rides easy over production from Diplo and Switch. It’s an upbeat, high energy cover that won’t be out of place on a dance floor but still satisfies when listening only to Clare’s bluesy voice. In other words, a winning combination.

Keep and ear out for this one at all the trendy parties, hipsters are going to love it. Retro and Dubstep, it would like discovering a vintage iPhone.

You can also listen to the track on SoundCloud

Alex Clare The Lateness of The Hour

View all of the #coverversion Friday tracks here.