I’d forgotten about this little hit song of Dave Edmunds, “Slipping Away.” It’s got a lot in common with one of ELO’s last hit songs, “Don’t Bring Me Down.” That song and this Edmunds production by ELO’s Jeff Lynne set the stage for a decade of constipated production jobs by Lynne for already established tight-ass artists Edmunds, George Harrison, and Tom Petty. I don’t necessarily dislike the records Lynne produced for these artists, man, get these guys some bran muffins!
You may recall my feelings on the brilliance of this hopeful song, which I once declared as being impossible to screw up. I may need to retract that statement, and not because of this pedestrian version by Candystore. It’s the following version that’s turned my head—and stomach:
Mention of Jim Ford and Joe South recently reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write something about Dallas Frazier, who is another one of those artists who was adept at blending country and soul. Frazier is the man who wrote “Mohair Sam,” which was a big hit for Charlie Rich.
This is the record that is part of Rock Lore, because the time the Beatles met Elvis, he was obsessed with it and supposedly played it constantly during their visit, even playing along on the bass. I’d never seen this clip before today, but here’s Rich singing it on Shindig in 1965:
He looks so uncomfortable there, but here is singing it again during his ’70s phase.
He was one of the biggest stars in Nashville at that time, and he’s gotten much less stage-shy. Nice shirt.
While researching some performances by the briefly reunited McGuinn, Clark & Hillman I stumbled across this cover of “Almost Saturday Night” by Gene Clark and Carla Olson. As some of you know, I feel The Byrds are one of the most difficult decent ’60s bands for me to like (although I tend to like the Gene Clark-sang jangly hits best). As some of you also know, I don’t readily tune into country music. I do, however, love Creedence Clearwater Revival and indentify with sufferers of Fogerty Syndrome. This laid-back country cover of a solo Fogerty song I discovered through Dave Edmunds‘ balls-to-the-wall cover is very good despite all the hazards, for me, that went into its making. That suggests that the song may be impossible to screw up. I think it’s a combination of the comforting chord progressions, the harmony lines, and the identifiable themes expressed in the lyrics. Have you ever heard a bad cover of “Almost Saturday Night?” Could you imagine one?
Are there other songs you can think of that can’t be screwed up, no matter who covers them and in what style they are covered?