Earworms 25 February 2013

Greetings earwormers, on this wonderful Monday morning – of course it’s wonderful, it’s my birthday – “17 in Kilmarnock (never gonna be there again)” – thanks, Eddi. This week, we have five cover versions and some Herefordshire Americana. Thanks to all our contributors, and keep them wriggling to earworm@tincanland.

Apologies if I’m slow to respond to comments, young’un is in and out of hospital at the mo so I’m dipping into the ‘Spill when I can.

Joel Frederiksen – Northern Sky
Normally I would run a mile from ‘crossover’ but these fellas’ voices are melted-chocolatey-gorgeous. Classical musicians covering The Holy Nick Drake? On an album interspersing Renaissance music with Nick Drake songs it works surprisingly well. – DebbyM

Eddi Reader – Never Going Back Again (Queen of Scots)
I’ve nominated this more than once on the mothership. I think it’s brilliant; Eddi relates her move south to England and manages to work in a Fleetwood Mac song both as subject and as part of the narrative. It sounds nice, too. – Zala

Jim Moray – Big Love
I am rather fond of the unexpected cover version. I’m also rather fond of slightly unconventional folk artistes. I think this covers both bases. – Zala

Kathryn Williams – In A Broken Dream
Elegantly spare cover of the 1972 Python Lee Jackson/Rod Stewart classic. I like the original, but I like this too. – Ali

Misers – I Got A Woman
The Misers and I are now big friends so, in case you like them too, here’s a country-tinged one from the new album that’s been going round in my head quite a lot lately. Can a Herefordshire boy sing Americana? You betcha. – tfd

Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way (Harold Melvin cover)
Jimmy Somerville gets short shrift for his falsetto and to some this cover is a sacrilege, but you’re dancing and singing along aren’t you? – tincanman

36 thoughts on “Earworms 25 February 2013

  1. Happy birthday, Ali!

    Joel Frederiksen: I’m confused – this is surely more than one chap but the ‘group’ is called Joel? Anyway, I like the second, higher voice more than the first. And it’s such a lovely song, it survives the (slight) reinterpretation.

    Eddi Reader: Did anyone hear her and Boo Hewerdine talking about the genesis of “Patience of Angels” on Radio 4 the other week? Interesting, thoughtful stuff. But I digress. I never much cared for Fairground Attraction, but she’s grown on me ever since. What a voice. (And of course her brother is Frank, the singer from Trash Can Sinatras, so I’ll always give her the time of day.) This is lovely and jaunty. Too short too – and I never thought I’d say that of any song!

    Jim Moray: I really like the original and this is great fun too.

    Kathryn Williams: I don’t really know the original (although this does sound vaguely familiar), but this is gorgeous.

    Misers: Well, this stands up fine in the company of all these covers of classic songs. Lyrically a bit reminiscent of First Aid Kit’s Emmylou. Yeah, like this a lot.

    The Communards: I kind of fall into the category of considering Jimmy Somerville to have been ‘a good, necessary, maybe even courageous thing’ whilst not really enjoying the sound of his voice. But there’s no denying this song’s catchiness. And actually, hearing it again now, I did really rather enjoy it (although possibly more for Sarah-Jane Morris’s bits than Jimmy’s).

    Fun set – thanks all!

    • Joel Frederiksen. I can’t stand classically-trained voices: ‘how to sing like no-one speaks’. These voices aren’t ridiculously well-enunciated, though, and I love the arrangement.
      Eddi Reader. Fun.
      Jim Moray. Very effective and evocative. Perhaps the vocals are a little OTT but I’ll forgive them.
      Kathryn Williams. Lovely voice. Another fine arrangement.
      Misers. Rather generic country-rock, both as a song and a performance. Apparently (heterosexual) men have a woman on their mind about every six seconds…..
      The Communards. They only ever had any value (in my world) as a means of taking the piss out of Ian Hislop on HIGNFY. Otherwise, no thanks. And, btw, I’m not dancing or singing along.

      Cheers Ali and All.

  2. Wasn’t sure who the singer was at first Zala, but as soon as I heard Big Love I said to myself, “Ah, that’s a moray.”


  3. Many happy ones, Ali.

    Not a great lover of covers. Many are only done ’cause the artist is short of material and perhaps a cover is a “filler”. ( ‘Yesterday’ springs to mind ). But there’s a few of these that hit the button.
    Having said that, I can’t get along with the first track. I hate “annunciated” voices. I’ll run a mile from Jake Thakray. I’ve never liked the song “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and not a lover of this version.
    Liked all of the others especially Eddi Reader and Jim Moray.
    A pretty good mix though, all the same.

  4. 1) I don’t know the original I’m ashamed to say but this sounds pretty good to me.
    2) Loved Fairground Attraction. Love Eddi Reader. Love this.
    3) Is this a Fleetwood Mac song? A bit melodramatic but I liked it.
    4) I have to erase the original from my mind in order to enjoy this on its own terms. If I try to compare them I miss the grit and the blues. If I don’t, it’s beautiful.
    5) In general just quite liked this. Always love that stop/start guitar bit though.
    6) I LOVE The Communards. I’m biased mind you because I used to know Richard before he was famous.
    The funny thing about their songs with Sarah Jane Morris is, as somebody else once commented, that she and Jimi sometimes sound like their both singing about the same bloke. This is a great bit of eighties pop IMO.

  5. “Northern Sky” – My, hasn’t he got a deep voice, that fellow at the beginning? It’s quite a nice version and not exceedingly false-sounding (as cassically trained voices often seem to me), but it doesn’t stick in my head.

    Obviously the jaunty familiarity of Eddi Reader‘s mostly-a-cover-version did (it is too short, Bish, I agree!), along with Moray‘s folkish take on more Fleetwood Mac.

    The Kathryn Williams track is splendidly languid. I didn’t know the original, but Sheddi did. Spotted it straight away, he did.

    The Misers are rather excellent, based on this showing. I like the references to famous Americana-idol-couples. Eek! Did he just rhyme “June” with “moon”?

    The Communards’ biggest hit is not new to me. It was part of my musical education. It even recalls a very specific (and quite mundane) moment. I have a feeling I might have owned the 7″. Maybe I still do. In fact – that moment – outside WHSmith’s – may even have been just after I’d bought te vinyl. It’s one of those songs that, while I know that it is a cover, it feels – to me – like the original.

  6. Happy Happy

    What a great set and the Communards bit I actually teach, well the video; plays with all sorts of great stereotypes in various ways–the female horn section and drummer, male piano player, high and low voices, etc–and helps talk about the arrival of Thatcher’s GB…I don’t know who charted higher, but at least in the US I think it is most often remembered by Thelma Houston. Almost all the rest is new to me and, as always, my appreciation.

  7. Happy Belated Birthday and best wishes to Munday Jr.

    Northern Sky is one of the three most beautiful songs ever, and I liked this version – I generally hate classical crossover stuff, but if anything, I wanted them to take this a bit further. But this has now raised the unwelcome spectre of a cover version by G4, and I’m feeling a bit spooked.

    Eddi – loved this, don’t know the original at all – pick of the week I think.

    Jim – yeah, liked this.

    Kathryn – didn’t think I knew this, then definitely recognised the first couple of lines, then didn’t recall any of the rest of it. Anyway, I like her voice and this was lovely.

    Misers were a bit straight for my tastes, but certainly sounded convincing. How many bands from Texas could do such a good job of sounding like they come from Herefordshire?

    The Communards – well, this will get me dancing a wedding disco, which has got to be a good thing (from my point of view, if nobody else’s)

  8. A bit late, busy day yesterday, sorry. I’m listening first and reading after, so sorry if I say the same thing as anyone else.
    The first makes me miss Nick Drake’s voice, but it’s a fine cover. I prefer the second cover from Zala, this is an improvement and no mistake. Did you know they re-played the programme about ‘She Moves Through the Fair’ on the radio on Saturday? I was walking the dogs on Rock beach, but my Mum said it was good.

    Didn’t know the original of Kathryn’s song, it’s good, especially like the string section, I am a sucker for a restrained string section.

    We listened to this Communards song on the radio on Sunday. It’s catchy and I don’t know the original. Goodness this week’s songs have made me realise what a lot of music I don’t know about.

  9. No time to listen, but

    (i) Also can’t believe Z didn’t know Rod/PLJ original.
    (ii) Lotsa Clayton family love being sent virtually for the Mundays for your b’day & S’s health, Ali.
    (iii) Long ago decided that Age Of Consent is all the Somerville I was ever gonna need. This chart-topper was bang-on my student days, so it does bring on some good memories in a kinda Pavlovian way, but the song itself irritates the crap outta me these days.

  10. Nice selection:

    Joel Frederiksen: Not mad on this, generally think Nick Drake is one of those artists that really can’t be improved on – find Joel’s voice a bit too overly dramatic (like Anthony Hegarty) and it doesn’t really suit the music.

    Eddi Reader: Whole thing sounded like incidental music from Jim Davidson’s Big Break, don’t think the Honky Tonk added anything to it. Would go so far as to say that I actively didn’t like it (sorry Zala!)

    Jim Moray – Now this is a good reworking, it really adds something to it, good atmosphere, great track.

    Kathryn Williams – now this is lovely…

    Misers – was expecting the Ray Charles song! Good tune though, like the mandolin texture.

    Communards – This version was a massive song when I was a nipper and I only found out a few years back that it was a cover – yeah, it’s 80’s cheese but it is bloody exciting Hi NRG madness still I think….

    • Have to confess I wasn’t keen on Joel Frederiksen either, Nick Drake is “awesome” as they say (well, my 10 year-old does, anyway). But I liked Eddi Reader.

  11. Joel Frederiksen – Northern Sky

    This really captured my imagination ! ! ! I love a bass voice and the openignwas fantastic and made me want to hear more. This really made me think of a musical theatre track it was ver theatrical ! ! !

    Eddi Reader – Never Going Back Again (Queen of Scots)

    This was a cheerful track ! ! ! I loved the cheerful arrangement and the girls voice is wonderful ! ! !

    Jim Moray – Big Love

    Banjos are always a hit with me ! ! ! They really remind me of the Shimasen a traditional Okinawan instrument and the sound of both of them is somehow primitive and directly emotional. I think that, often the less sophisticated and instrument the more emotional it is. This track with its unsophisticated instrumentation and arrangement is a great example of this. I loved it ! ! !

    Kathryn Williams – In A Broken Dream

    In some ways this reminded me of a James Bond theme. It has that 1970 decade feel to it especially in the opening phrases. It is a great song and she has a wonderful voice. I really enjoyed it ! ! !

    Misers – I Got A Woman

    Somehow this seemed like a little light relief ! ! ! It is was really familiar in its arrangement and motifs. But it managed to stay just outside become a cliché.
    You know exactly where you are with this track and it is really is an earworm ! ! !

    Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way (Harold Melvin cover)

    I really enjoyed this track. Of course I know the orginal, but I had never heard this cover before. I liked it very much, it was really fresh and I loved the brass section and the 1980 decade feel to the arrangement. Maybe this is my favourite this week ! ! !

    It was a great selection and thanks to Ali and everyone who sent in a track . . . I have an idea for one or two that may suit (or challenge ) Ali’s style ! ! ! I must send some earworms to our worm wrangler ! ! !

  12. Very glad some other people found something to like in the first track, too. Listening again here I realise how important the strings are to making it ‘click’ for me. Had to look up G4, though, barbryn – apparently they disbanded about 5 years ago, so you needn’t be too worried about a cover version from them!

    Loved both the Fleetwood Mac covers, too, but Kathryn Williams was just gorgeous with a capital G.

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