Friday, December 29, 2017

29 December 2017 - Girlschool - Fox on the Run

If Motorhead were all women, you'd have Girlschool.  That's not just me saying that. Formed in 1978, they're still around, playing punk-tinged metal, and sounding great doing it. 

This Sweet cover - a little more glam than their image - suits them well.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

28 December 2017 - Jennifer Ellison - Baby I Don't Care

If you are reading this from the UK, it's a pretty good bet that you already know who both Jennifer Ellison is.  You know that Jennifer won Hell's Kitchen.  You might even know her from Dance Mums or her turn in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.  Or, maybe you are a fan of Brookside and know her from there.

You are probably also familiar with Transvision Vamp, if you are in the UK. Led by Wendy James, the pop/punk/rock group were never all that successful in the US, but did have modest success elsewhere.  This song, in a punkier version, was their biggest hit in 1989, peaking at #3 on the UK Singles charts.  This version made it all the way to #6 in 2003, proving that the song itself - an anthem about showing, not telling, one's love for another - was compelling.  Sure, Jennifer Ellison is no Wendy James, but she clearly has fun with a fun song, and it shows. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

27 December 2017 - A "Changed The Locks" Special

You probably have never heard of Lucinda Williams.  I hope I'm wrong about that.  She's an amazing songwriter and performer in her own right.   However, her best known song is "Passionate Kisses", and that's because Mary Chapin Carpenter recorded an amazing cover of that song.

So, today, we're going to highlight a different song of hers.  "Changed The Locks" is about a person trying desperately to keep someone they have obviously been passionate involved with away, by any means necessary.  It's an achy, desperate song.  Here is Maura Tierney in the Showtime series The Affair singing along with it drunkenly (I assume she's acting drunk, and not actually drunk, but who knows how Method she went here).

It's also one of the most covered songs of all time.  Take this version by the legendary Johnny Cash.  Late in his career, he started covering everything.  This song didn't make it onto an album - it was cut from his American II - but it's still a great, grungy, Cash-y version of a song destined for greatness.

I think that this version, by Tom Petty, might sound very influenced by that Johnny Cash version.  The truth is, Tom was a guest on Johnny's album, and both of these versions were recorded in 1996.  If anything, this version turns up the bombast to 11 at points.  And it works.

You can't say New York band The Silos were influenced by anyone but Lucinda Williams.  This version predated them by two years.  However, this is proof that it is patently impossible to do an non-passionate reading of this song.

I have a confession now.

I am embarrassed to admit that I didn't know it was a Lucinda Williams song when I first heard it.  I thought it was a Kasey Chambers song, as I first heard her perform it on the radio program Mountain Stage - which you should also be listening to.  The way that Ms. Chambers owned this song should make that mistake understandable. As much as I've been praising Ms. Williams throughout this, it is this version that I find to be the best one.

This song - specifically Ms. Chambers' version - is a huge driver as to why I started this blog so many years ago in the first place.  I'm somewhat amazed I never posted this before.   That there are still great covers like this one still being made keeps reminding me that there are still more posts to write, and still more covers to bring you.  I intend to continue that for years to come.