Thursday, February 28, 2013

From blues to folk to rock - cover songs

Son House - Death Letter. I don't know the year of this live performance—probably the 60s. I always thought Son House was from waaay back and didn't realize he was performing right up until the early 1970s. I once wrote and performed a now-embarrassing tribute called Son House Played the Blues that railed on social injustice for underpaid musical innovators. I was really young. The sentiment was true.

The White Stripes - Death Letter cover. Jack White naturally gravitates toward Son House's rhythm-guitar style—emphasis on the driving rhythm. Adrenaline-rush explains the over-the-top nature of this performance. When thousands of people are staring at you, you have to give them a show. The studio version on their second album, "De Stijl" is in fine form.

Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie - When the Levee Breaks. I'm sorry about the intro ad and terribly irritating images. Ironic copyright law won't allow this song to be posted as a video in the U.S. Just hide your screen, listen and enjoy.

When the Levee Breaks (Kansas Joe McCoy... by reggaematicltd

Led Zeppelin - When the Levee Breaks cover. In some kind of copyright mystery, Led Zeppelin's music is all over the YouTube place. I hope the McCoy and Minnie estates saw some royalties from this cover, albeit with some altered lyrics.

The Staple Singers - This May Be The Last Time. This haunting gospel chorus would later touch something deep inside a young guitarist in a British blues band.

The Rolling Stones - The Last Time (sample/cover). Ultimately this would be covered in orchestrated form by Andrew Oldham, which would lead to a copyright lawsuit against The Verve. Don't ask—it's very complicated. Maybe this article will help. It hurts my head and I doubt The Staple Singers were beneficiaries in any way. Don't quote me, but the most expensive legal teams usually win on these things.

Tom Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster - House of the Rising Sun. This is considered the oldest known recording of this traditional, which inspired numerous covers during the 60s folk-rock period.

Nina Simone made The House of the Rising Sun her own, as she was apt to do...

...which inspired Eric Burdon, who was a big Simone fan, to cover it with The Animals. There's something about this song that really gets under the skin to the heart of some dark matter.

Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning. Perhaps the coolest song ever. Listen to Howlin' Wolf—so much heart and soul, it's almost overwhelming. This is one of those songs that alters your brain waves in dreamlike ways.

The Yardbirds, young musical prodigies from (surprise) England, thought so too.


Anonymous said...

thank you for being YOU!

Miss Lisa said...

I gotta be me! :)