Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sid n Susie

Today in Music History:

In 1982, While standing next to his car, Rod Stewart was mugged by a gunman along Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard.
When we were/are young and dreamed of being rock n roll stars, what do we do when we finally get our first guitar, bass or drums. We learn a few chords and immediately start trying to learn some of our favorite songs of that time. We have certain artists or groups that influence us and we yearn to play their stuff. Even legends such as The Stones or The Beatles started out by covering stuff by the people that influenced them. It is a rare person who picks up a guitar for the first time and starts writing their own material. We are inspired by the music we love, to pick up a musical instrument and learn how to play. So I am never surprised when successful artists will choose to do a whole album of material that is not their own. Artists such as the Ramones, Rush, David Bowie, Metallica, John Lennon, Joan Jett, Dwight Yoakum, Def leppard is getting set to release one and oh well, I could go on and on, have all recorded an album of cover songs. This annoys some people, they want new stuff or they think that the original is perfect and how dare anyone cover it. Cover albums are routinely treated as secondhand and second-rate artistic goods. Which I think is unfair, personally I love it. I like to hear someone's take on someone elses stuff.
Matthew Sweet and Susanna HoffsWhich brings us tothe subject for today. I routinely cover the "old stuff" here on rockin' and I recently got a good listen to the new duet album celebrating 60’s pop music by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs called Under The Covers Vol. 1. Billing themselves as Sid n Susie they recorded the album at Matthew's home studio in the Hollywood Hills. The two were acquainted with each other from their work in the Austin Powers movies as the band Ming Tea in the films. Director Jay Roach happens to be the hubby of Susanna. The two have chosen well known and obscure tracks from the 60's. The last track, Run to Me, is technically from 71, but it fits perfectly here. The first time through was a pleasant listen and as I queued up the disc again I really got into the whole sixties feel of the album, actually giving me a semi groovy feeling. At 47 Hoffs sounds and looks as stunning as she did in the eighties. I have to give them kudos for tackling songs like The Kids are Alright and Monday Monday. No easy feat for anyone but the original artists. Cinnamon Girl is dead on and doesn't deviate much from the original. The lesser known gems on the albums tended to be my favorites, as you all well know, homercat is all about reviving the oldies for a new generation. Maybe I'm just a sucker for sixties nostalgia, but these are great songs with melody and harmonies to spare, not to mention hooks to die for, and Hoffs and Sweet cover them with real care and affection, their respect for their material and love of the material eminates from every track. If I had to say anything negative it would be that the Bob Dylan cover seems out of place on this album for some reason. Yes it's a sixties cut, but it seems to interrupt the flow of the rest of the music. Maybe that was intended. My favorite was Different Drum, sorry Linda but Susie nailed it. Their version of The Kids are Alright really pulled me in too and that's a toughie to pull off. Sunday Morning sounds as if the song was written for Susanna to sing it, she really makes it her own and egad, I prefer this version over the Velvet Undergrounds(I know I will get lynched for that comment).
Track Listing
1. I See The Rain (The Marmalade)
2. And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles)
3. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)
4. Who Knows Where The Time Goes? (Fairport Convention)
5. Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young And Crazy Horse)
6. Alone Again Or (Love)
7. Warmth Of The Sun (The Beach Boys)
8. Different Drum (The Stone Poneys)
9. The Kids Are Alright (The Who)
10. Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground)
11. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Neil Young And Crazy Horse)
12. Care Of Cell #44 (The Zombies)
13. Monday Monday (The Mamas And The Papas)
14. She May Call You Up Tonight (The Left Banke)
15. Run To Me (The Bee Gees)

A ’60s pop primer of sorts, Under The Covers Vol. 1’s 15 songs span a wide range of genres – from rock to folk to pop – but all have that unmistakable ’60s vibe. Homercat gives it 3 1/2 tail wags(four tail wags if you take out the Dylan track) and I read somewhere that the two are primed to do a volume of 70's covers. Homercat will buy it without even seing a track listing.
For your groovy enjoyment, sample this, then buy.

I See the Rain by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

Buy It

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