Mar 252010

Have ever fantasized about putting together an album of cover songs that would represent something about where you’re coming from musically, spiritually, or whateverly My close personal friend, Townsman andyr, and I have long joked about recording a “solo” album of covers that mean a lot to us but that we could not realistically see convincing our bandmates rallying behind. We’ve had some success in getting our bandmates to cover songs that would fit the model, such as R.B. Greaves‘ “Take a Letter Maria,” but bandmate chickenfrank, in particular, quickly catches onto how corny a path we would lead the whole band, if we had our druthers. That’s cool.

These songs we joke about adding to that album have never been set in stone, but they share core musical values from our AM radio-informed youth, especially an abundance of chooglin’ rhythms and quick I-IV-I chord progressions, such as the hook in the chorus of The Box Tops‘ “Soul Deep” (and Nick Lowe’s “Skin Deep,” for that matter). Billy Swan‘s “I Can Help” definitely makes the track list. We have never formally discussed what would be on our joint solo album, but I’m pretty sure it would be done in the slavish manner of Dave EdmundsSubtle as a Flying Mallet.

For us, mind you, this covers album would not necessarily be a collection of our favorite songs but a representation of a particular aspect of our collective tastes. (Other musical influences we might cover would be left to another project, such as the equally long-discussed Clash cover band, The Magnificent Seven, which would play exclusively a rotating set of 7 Clash covers.) Your personal covers album can be organized according to whatever principles your heart desires.

So think about it – and andyr and I will too, in the course of this thread: What 10 songs would make up your personal covers album?


  27 Responses to “Your Personal Covers Album”

  1. Mr. Moderator

    By the way, check out the pictures on the wall behind Greaves, at the 1:36 mark in this video: do I see the RTH Townsman and Townswoman?

  2. Mr. Moderator

    andyr, to kick this off, if we’re going to nail down our solo-duo covers album we’re in agreement on “Soul Deep” and “I Can Help,” right? Where do you stand on Maxine Nightengale’s “Right Back Where We Started From” and The Four Seasons’ “Let’s Hang On”? Do they make the cut for the solo-duo covers album, or do they need to go on my actual solo covers album? What about The Doors’ “Land Ho”? Should I save that for a covers album with chickenfrank? If you’re into that one I think we need to keep toying with the idea of doing it as the full band – I don’t want to cut chick out of that action.

  3. We definitely reach on “Soul Deep” “I Can Help” and “Let’s Hang On”

    I’ll need to think a little more on “Right back”/ I love the song but maybe we should do an actual motown song

    I’ll do “Land Ho” anytime/anywhere

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Yeah, I just don’t want to cheat chickenfrank out of the joy of “Land Ho.” Let’s see if we can convince the band to do that one.

    For Motown songs your offlist suggestion of “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” is a KEEPER! That’s my favorite Motown song. Can we stop at one Motown track, or do we need to also get working on our follow-up solo-duo album, in which we re-create a Temptations vs Supremes showdown album? Think of all those stomping Supremes songs that have been shot down in our band. Bastards!

  5. Suddenly Last Summer-The Motels
    Nights on Broadway-Bee Gees
    Enjoy The Silence-Depeche Mode
    The Endless Sea-Iggy Pop
    Go To The Mirror Boy-The Who
    Superman-The Kinks
    Lazy-David Byrne
    Romeo’s Distress-Christian Death
    The Stranger-Billy Joel
    I Am The Resurrection-Stone Roses

    I have covered all of these songs live, and they will make a fine album one day.

  6. Mr. Moderator

    Go, kilroy! THAT’S what I’m talking about, Townspeople.

  7. mockcarr

    Go To The Mirror is an EXCELLENT name for that project.

  8. This is without regard to how many times these songs may have been covered or to my ability to pull these songs off. They are also not necessarily my favorite songs but rather songs that I think could sound cool as covers and songs that represent my current musical world view.

    When You Were Mine – Prince
    Change Reaction – Robert Hazard and the Heros
    Capital Radio – The Clash
    Magnet and Steel – Walter Egan
    Gypsies Tramps and Thieves – Cher
    Two Winters Long – Irma Thomas
    Mercy, Mercy – Don Covey
    Any Way You Want It – Dave Clark 5
    Just Like Romeo and Juliet – Mike and the Messengers
    Either Hush or Now by the Plimsouls
    Kick Out The Jams – MC5
    Cry for Love – Iggy Pop

    As an aside, Mod, I listen to the Head’s version of Take a Letter fairly often, and I’m a big fan of that Maxine Nightingale song (and many other early 70’s, WIFI 92 style, disposable pop songs). Let me know if I can be of service when you and the Velvet Foghorn start recording your project.

  9. DUDE! Cry for Love is on my list of songs to cover in the future. It’s awful 1986 production can not obscure what a great song it is at it’s core.

  10. i forgot these bonus tracks:
    Eyes Without a Face-Billy Idol
    You Are Always On My Mind-Elvis
    Maneater-Hall & Oates
    New Dawn Fades-Joy Division
    Teenage Riot/L.A. Woman medley

  11. Mr. Moderator

    andyr and I have been doing a lot of work offlist. This is a highly personal covers album we’ve got in the works, and you don’t need to see the Two Virgins-like discussions better left on the cutting-room floor.

    So far we’ve agreed on the following:

    Soul Deep (Box Tops)
    I Can Help (Billy Swan)
    Let’s Hang On (The Four Seasons)
    Too Busy Thinking ’bout My Baby (Marvin Gaye)
    Red Rubber Ball (The Cyrkle) – lot of history between us on this number!
    Sookie, Sookie (Steppenwolf’s version)
    Lonely Too Long (The Rascals)

    Three more slots left. Lately we’ve been trying to determine which song from the American Grafitti soundtrack gets included. More to come.

  12. Amen, shawnkilroy! That is an unfairly maligned song. But I don’t think you can say enough bad things about the production.

  13. BigSteve

    I’ve got to admit, I’ve never understood the affection for I Can Help. Is it the sentiment of the song, admittedly admirable, that people love so much? The production always seemed kind of weedy to me.

    My tracklist comes from songs I’ve already recorded cover versions of. There are more, but I’ve cut it down to album size.

    Harold Dorman, Mountain of Love
    Bob Dylan, Quit Your Lowdown Ways
    Beach Boys, Angel Come Home
    Randy Newman, Golden Gridiron Boy
    Nick Lowe, Heart
    Kinks, Till the End of the Day
    King’s X, Looking for Love
    Catherine Wheel, Fizzy Love
    Capt. Beefheart, Yellow Brick Road
    Richard Thompson, A Heart Needs a Home
    Traditional, The House Carpenter
    Lulu, To Sir with Love

  14. misterioso

    shawnkilroy, this one’s for you:

    Simply fantastic.

  15. Land Ho would be a blast to play. It has a great guitar sound. You guys forget that so many mid to late period Doors songs have one of those “indian eggshell mind” slow speaking middle breaks that would be impossible to pull off without laughing. Land Ho has a slow break that is dreamy and silly. Damn Poets!

    I can’t believe you and AndyR didn’t list Magic Mountain by Eric Burdon!?! Is that too perfect to ruin? I will not be playing that with you. I’ll be in the audience dancing in a B.O. reeking dashiki.

    Great topic.

  16. Thanks Misterioso!
    i love it!

  17. Mr. Moderator

    I’m thankful we still have 3 spots left. chickenfrank, you’re right, “Magic Mountain” needs to be the centerpiece of our “solo” album. Pull out your dashiki!

    The jazz-poetry breaks in so many of those fat-era Mr Mojo Risin’ Doors songs we talk about covering are problematic.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    Robin Gibbs’ skin-tone ensemble in that clip you provided misterioso is PRICELESS!

  19. misterioso

    Yes, it really is something to see. But the amazing thing to me is seeing the Bee Gees, about to metamorphose permanently into something else altogether, functioning as a real, and good, band. Very impressive.

  20. bostonhistorian

    Good call on Harold Dorman’s “Mountain of Love” BigSteve. I’ve been trying to get a friend of mine to play that for years, along with Eugene Church’s “Pretty Girls Everywhere”.

  21. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, gosh. I’m afraid my list of must-do covers would extend across multiple discs. Still, here it is — along with my fan club-only special Kinks covers CD. Which, come to think of it, would not be recorded or issued on disc. Rather, Phish-style, it would only be performed once, in a trampled corn field in rural Vermont, and become the stuff of rumor and legend.

    All of these songs are tunes I’ve either covered live, tried to, or desperately wanted to.

    The Dirty Jobs – The Who
    Day After Day – Badfinger
    King Of the Night-time World – KISS
    More Today Than Yesterday – Spiral Starecase
    Did It In a Minute – Hall & Oates
    Riff Raff – AC/DC
    In My Own Time – Bee Gees
    Lick and a Promise – Aerosmith
    Against the Sun – Eggstone
    Wah-Wah – George Harrison
    Look Out Joe – Neil Young
    Paperback Writer – Beatles
    Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
    Neverland – Db’s
    Woman from Tokyo – Deep Purple
    The Shame Just Drained – Easybeats
    Good Times – Easybeats
    Jet – Wings
    Clean Money – Elvis Costello
    Let Yourself Go – Elvis Presley
    Shine On – Humble Pie (with Nixon’s Head)
    Hook Me Up – Johnny Guitar Watson
    Makin’ Love – KISS
    Your Number Or Your Name – Knack
    My Feet Are Off the Ground – Knickerbockers
    Misty Mountain Hop – Led Zeppelin
    Compared to What – Les McCann & Eddie Harris
    Help You Ann – Lyres
    I See the Rain – Marmalade
    Pleasant Valley Sunday – Monkees
    Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
    Let’s Eat – Nick Lowe
    I Want to Build a Jumbo Ark – Nick Lowe
    I Want You Bad – NRBQ
    My Love – Wings
    Hi Hi Hi – Wings
    Rocks Off – Rolling Stones
    Street Fighting Man – Rolling Stones
    Live With Me – Rolling Stones
    Mr. Skin – Spirit
    Mr. Window Pane – The Stairs
    Loose – Stooges
    Cowboy Song – Thin Lizzy
    Love Parade – Undertones

    Special Kinks Covers-only Performance
    See My Friends
    House In the Country
    Father Christmas
    Sitting On My Sofa
    Where Have All the Good Times Gone
    Do You Remember Walter?
    I Need You
    Got To Be Free
    I’m In Disgrace
    God’s Children

  22. hrrundivbakshi

    Whoops — “Loose” should be “No Fun.”

  23. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Mod — I’m serious about wanting to do a cover of Humble Pie’s “Shine On” with you and the Nixon’s Head gang. You guys should road trip down here and we’ll lay it down!

  24. Mr. Moderator

    That would be fun. Can we do the “Sad Tale of Shakey Jake” as the b-side?

  25. hrrundivbakshi

    No sir! No flabby jam songs allowed. I, and I alone, as executive producer of this session, will select the winning B-side for this project! Expect the unexpected!

  26. misterioso

    Taking this as an exercise in What Are Your Favorite Songs and/or Songs In Your Mind at the Moment:

    Loving Cup—The Rolling Stones
    Candy and a Currant Bun-The Pink Floyd
    Right Down the Line—Gerry Rafferty
    She’s Your Lover Now—Bob Dylan
    St. Dominic’s Preview-Van Morrison
    Is That Love?—Squeeze
    George McCrae-Rock Your Baby
    The Whole of the Moon-Waterboys
    How Many Friends—The Who
    And Your Bird Can Sing-The Beatles
    Stranger Song—Leonard Cohen
    If You Really Love Me-Stevie Wonder
    I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight-Boyce & Hart
    Hocus Pocus—Focus
    Stroll On-Yardbirds
    This Is Where I Belong—The Kinks
    What Goes On-Velvet Underground
    Yellow River—Christie
    I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody’s Got a Thing-Funkadelic
    Midnight Caller—Badfinger
    I’m on Fire—Dwight Twilley
    Run To Me-Bee Gees
    Poor Side of Town-Johnny Rivers
    Lipstick Vogue—Elvis Costello
    I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)-James Brown
    I’ll Be Around—Spinners
    Lady Friend-The Byrds
    I Got a Line on You-Spirit
    Run of the Mill—George Harrison
    Girls School—Wings
    Gimme Some Truth—John Lennon
    Back Off Boogaloo—Ringo Starr
    Driver’s Seat—Sniff ‘n’ the Tears
    I Got By In Time—The Jam
    Someone Saved My Life Tonight—Elton John

  27. damn! you guys are the coolest!
    glad to know ya.

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