Miscellaneous Rumbles

Cover Songs?

1

I do write my own music/lyrics/songs, but I also do some covers.

I learn them to play and sing to my parents or to do at acoustic jams.

For those of you who learn covers to perform for others, or just for yourselves, what are the latest covers you've tackled?

For me...

Policy of Truth--Depeche Mode

It's Too Late To Turn Back Now--Cornelius Bros. and Sister Rose

It Never Rains in Southern California--Albert Hammond

Hungry Like The Wolf--Duran Duran

I'm Eighteen--Alice Cooper Band, (I learned this a couple years ago, but had to relearn lately for an upcoming jam).

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2

That's a wide range of genres/styles --

3

Yep,

I also do Jethro Tull, Stone Temple Pilots, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, K. Kristofferson, Ramones, J. Denver, Tears for Fears, etc., all depends on "which acoustic jammers" I'm hitting that day.

Next up that makes me a bit nervous, "Me and Mrs. Jones."

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4

I like the cut of your jib, indianation55. I like so many different genres, it's hard to stick to any one thing.

In my own bands, many of our cover tunes tend to be either oddballs or obscurities--

Sinister Purpose (CCR), Star Baby (The Guess Who), Hang onto Your Life (Bowie), Monster (B-52's), Lucifer Sam (Pink Floyd), I Put a Spell on You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins) etc...

One of my bands (The Exotic Ones) covered this and released it as a 45 on green vinyl not to long ago. It's the titular soundtrack cut from the B-movie of the same name.

Yes, that's yours truly on vocals and rhythm guitar. Never mind the theremin solo.

5

I resently learned "The Wind Crys Mary" by Jimi Hendrix. It has a very cool solo played almost completely with double stops. I also learned a couple of Joe Walsh tunes, "Life in the Fast Lane", and "Life's Been Good". I love Joe's style and idiosyncrasies, these are fun tunes to play.

6

I've been learning lots of Charlie Christian solos and a few folk songs of the Irish working in England.

This one in particular is a belter..

..and this is a heartbreaker..

They're very evocative of a certain time in Ireland. We're still a nation of emigrants, but more likely to be working in tech or medicine than digging ditches these days.

7

"This Is Yesterday" and "Spectators Of Suicide" by Manic Street Preachers.

8

Strictly guitar: I have had to "re-learn" the Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" and also "The Wind Cries Mary". Then just a whole of T-Bone Walker riffs to compliment my deeper dive learning to play Swing/Jump Blues and Jazz.

Acoustic for singing and playing: "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover", Springsteen's "A Long Walk Home", "Further Up On The Road", "Waiting On a Sunny Day", John Mellencamp's "Troubled Land", "Longest Days", "Don't Need This Body". Also U2's "Every Breaking Wave" and "Ordinary Love"

9

I dig the green slime, Rob. Lots of energy, great drum and guitar sounds, good rambunctious production.


As nobody else plays my songs, I don't feel much compulsion to play theirs - and since I haven't really played for money (in any significant sense) in decades, I can blithely neglet tickling audience's familiarity bone.

I'd like to be liked by audiences, but that's incidental to liking what I'm doing myself. If that's self-indulgent, consider me indulged. Too, it's enough work doing my own material in a non-embarrassing way: why would I try to do anyone else's? Or, as I generally put it, even our fans don't like us much.

That said, when I cover a cover, it's either to fracture it in an entertaining way (at least to me), or to make it into something else. On the novelty side, we can do a weird string of hoary hits using only the lyrics of "Pinball Wizard," from "Folsom Prison" through "Margaritaville," "Sweet Home Abalama," "Misty," and "Yesterday."

More seriously, we had an epic version of "House of the Rising Sun," but migrated to Em, packed with extended and alternate chords, and with melodramatic lyrics from the point of view of one of the residents of the House rather than the paying customers.

As for great songs to which I've sincerely paid homage, and played straight (though audiences appeared generally unmoved), I think of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (with a verse or two rewritten to evoke the meaning/s I preferred) and Patrick Kavanagh's immortal "On Raglan Road" (likewise). I'm probably not an expressive (or dramatic) enough singer to pull them off. But I meant the songs, and I tried.

In the past couple of years I've developed some seriously re-imagined Beatles covers as instrumentals, like "Eleanor Ribgy" and, with particular vigor, bombast, and venom, "I Am the Walrus."

As far as I'm concerned, "goo goo ga joob" just about sums things up.

10

My band is a cover band, but done in my style. I love doing songs that are not typically done by cover bands.

We’ve been working on “Aqualung” for quite awhile and now have it down. Some recent tunes are “Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go,” “Live and let Die,” Bowie’s “Starman”

11

In the past couple of years I've developed some seriously re-imagined Beatles covers as instrumentals, like "Eleanor Ribgy" and, with particular vigor, bombast, and venom, "I Am the Walrus."

Bonk (Bob And Monk), our 2 man band, does mostly originals, but we have our way with a couple of covers. Here we do unto Eleanor Rigby, with some vim, a bit of vigor, a side of bombast and just a pinch of venom.

My other duo, The Ratcatchers, do all covers, some old English folk, some Steeleye Span, Jethro Tull, a Peter Gabriel (Solsbury Hill), some Beatles ... one Tull song, Up To Me from Aqualung, we do as a jig, here (with a Slipstream intro). We should have done it faster, but this is the only video I have,

12

I do mostly covers, but a do a few originals as well. Latest covers tackled: I'm Not In Love -10CC; The Way You Look Tonight - Jerome Kern; Humble and Kind - Tim McGraw. These are only for the solo schtick. Duo hasn't played or practiced since the pandemic began.

13

i love doing solo acoustic cover versions in wildly different genres/arrangements. i was particularly fond of the After The Gold Rush take on "Everything Falls Apart" by Hüsker Dü and "Ace Of Spades" in the style of Johnny Cash.

14

the best revamp i've heard, though, was back in the 80s...a friend in the San Francisco open mike scene used to do "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" by Ted Nugent as an urgent, slow-paced near-country blues, plunking out the bass notes with a measured rockabilly thunk and singing in a deep baritone voice somewhere between Cash, Fred Neil, and Tim Hardin. people used to hurt themselves laughing. inspired!

15

Question: how do we embed youtube links in a post? I can't figure it out.

Like Proteus, I do covers only if I'm inspired to deconstruct/ reconstruct them in some way.

In between y last time around these pages and now I put together a group called Trampled Underground. I always thought Led Zeppelin were such strong collective improvisers; way more telepathic and intuitive than the Dead and on a level I'd say with the Miles Davis quintet of the '60s or any of the free jazz groups and projects I did in Europe. So I had this idea to take Led Zeppelin at their improvising best as a departure point treating the LZ book has raw material and put it into a free jazz context.

We did two gig s, well received, but we didn't have the time to really develop it or give it the thoughtful development it deserved. I also needed a violinist to take over the Robert Plant function of being the improvising foil /partner, but we ended up having to do the gigs as as a power trio.

We brought in some Middle Eastern elements as well though not where you think : Kashmir way too obvious a choice, but Black Dog , Four Sticks, yes. I think I have video of one of the gigs, I'll try to post it .

For fun i ve developed oud versions of In My Time of Dying, Thin Lizzy's Bad Reputation and VHs Hot For Teacher ;)

The only serious solo covers I did were Tagore pieces. That's a heavy undertaking because he is so revered, so iconic, so embedded in Indian and Bengali history and culture... and for many years ANY reinterpretation of his work had to be certified by a managing oversight board (Tagore himself would be turning in his grave at the thought of such stifling of creativity). Ultimately that all went away. Still, there is that weight to do it justice, so when I decided to take on Aji Jhore Raate I went deep. Over the course of s couple of years, I'd work on it in spurts: I listening to many many versions and interpretations, playing along with the minutiae of the vocal phrasing, seeing where they differed, where they united, what resonated with me personally. Understanding enough Bengali to better grasp the lyrics, their subtleties, their phonetics.

There were arrangement considerations as well: I found a lot of variations in the chord progressions under the melody , for example, and then there are unmetered and metered versions of the song: when it's metered, it's in 5/4.

At the same time I had to find a personal authentic voice to bring to the piece as well. I decided eventually on a bluesy, smokey , Hendrix /Trower type vibe in 5 that seemed to fit the yearning of the song. My take: Link

One if the standard interpretations I studied: Link

On the other side of the spectrum, sometimes I'll tackle one just because I'm curious to see how it works or I dig it (Then We Are Decided from JCS comes to mind) but once my curiosity's satisfied i may not do too much else.

16

I like the cut of your jib, indianation55. I like so many different genres, it's hard to stick to any one thing.

In my own bands, many of our cover tunes tend to be either oddballs or obscurities--

Sinister Purpose (CCR), Star Baby (The Guess Who), Hang onto Your Life (Bowie), Monster (B-52's), Lucifer Sam (Pink Floyd), I Put a Spell on You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins) etc...

One of my bands (The Exotic Ones) covered this and released it as a 45 on green vinyl not to long ago. It's the titular soundtrack cut from the B-movie of the same name.

Yes, that's yours truly on vocals and rhythm guitar. Never mind the theremin solo.

– Tartan Phantom

Brutha, you put it best at a Nashville Roundup a few years back, when you said, “Remember, covers are just somebody else’s originals.”

Hats off!

17

As nobody else plays my songs, I don't feel much compulsion to play anybody else's Proteus

I hear ya man, I've been mostly like this for a long time too. I enjoy covering a few tunes for my own personal enjoyment, or to have a few common covers in my repertoire to have something to easily play with other people, but probably 90% of what I play anymore are my own compositions.

I figured out something a long time ago, that the easiest guitarist for me to sound like, is me. It takes a lot of work to sound like someone else, and try as I might, I kind of sound like me trying to sound like someone else. Even if I can get all of the notes down, it's really hard to nail somebody else's groove. The band I have the best luck with is Led Zeppelin, but only because I've been playing Zeppelin for forty plus years.

On the flip side, it's effortless to sound like me, it just took realizing this before I could take advantage of it. How many times have we watched another guitarist noodling around with something that befuddled us? "Oh, it's just something that I made up", and you could tell that it was effortless for them. Then they ask you about some little diddies that you were absent mindedly playing, with a look of befuddlement in their eyes!

18

Question: how do we embed youtube links in a post? I can't figure it out.

It's actually easier than you think. No need for coding prefixes or embedding codes here.

Simply click "share" on the Youtube page, copy the direct link within, and paste it into your message.

That's it.

19

I have enough originals to do a 3 hour show without any covers. Yeah, I'm old and have been writing music since I was 16 and we do some of those songs I wrote back then. In saying that, we feel like people want to hear a cover occasionally so we incorporated...She's not there- The Hollies, Led Zep Medley of Immigrant song to Rock-N-Roll, Fire-Hendrix, Ace of Spades-Motorhead, Living after Midnight-Judas Priest, Running Down a Dream-Tom Petty. We have toyed with and actually gigged...I Ran-Flock of Seagulls, My Sharona- The Knack, Detroit Rock City-Kiss and others that I can't remember from Phish to Animals and other bands.

If I do a cover on a regular basis I can hang on to it but we don't stay with many for long before changing it up. I guess I know a few acoustic tunes like Over the hills and far away by LZ and some GreenDay stuff, but not enough to do an acoustic show unless it's my originals.

Proteus, I'm still a fan of your music and you did sell yourself a bit short on covers. You seem to do real well with the Barn-busters in Nashville.

Great job on Green Slime, Rob.

Love the videos, Bob H.

21

I can't sing a lick but have very eclectic tastes...so the last few songs I've learned...or are attempting to finish learning are.

There's a backing track without guitars on youtube to play along with

Because of stupid Tik Tok and I'm sucker for songs in 6/8 (this version and the '79 Aerosmith version)

The lick isn't hard but I find the timing surprising sometimes.

22

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by the Stones is a backburner song for me. I'd like to learn it at some point.

I've talked with other singer/songwriters who have told me they "never" do covers. What's the point? You've got to get your own music out there.

I agree to a point. The reason I do covers is so that other players in a song-circle can follow along with a song that is familiar.

I have "taught" other players several of my own songs as well. It's all good!

"Aqualung" and "Knock Three Times" and also, believe it or not, "Scooby Doo Theme" are some of the most popular covers I do with other people.

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23

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by the Stones is a backburner song for me. I'd like to learn it at some point.

I've talked with other singer/songwriters who have told me they "never" do covers. What's the point? You've got to get your own music out there.

I agree to a point. The reason I do covers is so that other players in a song-circle can follow along with a song that is familiar.

I have "taught" other players several of my own songs as well. It's all good!

"Aqualung" and "Knock Three Times" and also, believe it or not, "Scooby Doo Theme" are some of the most popular covers I do with other people.

...------

– indianation65

Can't you hear me Knocking is actually really easy, you can knock it out in 15 minutes at most ...it's just in an open G and you have to consolidate the sound of Keith and Ronnie into one guitar.

As far as covers...I never wanted to be in a band or even play live for anyone. Guitar is a good friend for depression and anxiety for me. I want to be able to play Bee Gees one day and Hank Williams the next. With your own music..."to get it out there"...you have to develop a pretty singular style and that's not for me. I've only bothered learning two solos note for note in my entire playing life, I'd rather see what I sound like over that progression.

Oddly, I don't write many songs anymore. I've been playing for 29 yrs and poetry was my minor in college...just don't have anything I need to say.

24

I can't sing a lick but have very eclectic tastes...so the last few songs I've learned...or are attempting to finish learning are.

There's a backing track without guitars on youtube to play along with

Because of stupid Tik Tok and I'm sucker for songs in 6/8 (this version and the '79 Aerosmith version)

The lick isn't hard but I find the timing surprising sometimes.

– shane kislack

I love the Jack White tune! Timing is clever on it. The key is he shorts the timing between the riff and when the verse begins by two counts, so the "hits" behind the vocals occur on 3, where instinct makes you want to hear it on the 1 of a following measure. When the verses finish on the drum fills, it goes longer than you think , by two counts, to catch up. But if you count it straight , it's all in 4 the whole way.

25

I love the Jack White tune! Timing is clever on it. The key is he shorts the timing between the riff and when the verse begins by two counts, so the "hits" behind the vocals occur on 3, where instinct makes you want to hear it on the 1 of a following measure. When the verses finish on the drum fills, it goes longer than you think , by two counts, to catch up. But if you count it straight , it's all in 4 the whole way.

– Mustafa Stefan Dill

Thanks. I really suck at rhythm bc I've played by myself my whole life...so counting is hard for me...so I rely on feel. But since you pointed it out, I'm going to spend some time without the guitar in my hand just counting and seeing what you explained.

Thank you much.


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