Friday, September 10, 2010

B-Sides and Rarities

Before Kenny Rogers sang about Lucille and the Gambler, he fronted a band called the First Edition. Kenny Rogers and the First Edition's debut release was the psychedelic song "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," which reached No. 5 in 1968. In the summer of 1969, they had their second Top Ten hit, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town". This hit started the band in a folksy direction and that's all I'm gonna say about Kenny because this post is about Cake.

It's about Cake because they do a killer version of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town". When I first heard Cake back in 1996 I was blown away by the bands style. I loved how they blended hip-hop, country, new wave pop, jazz, and guitar rock into their songs. The speak-singing dead pan vocal style of frontman John McCrea made me a bigger fan. For some reason critics just love to hate this band and called them one hit wonders when The Distance came out. If you ask me Fashion Nugget is a brilliant piece of work. Many years later Cake is still around, much to the chagrin of the critics. But I digress.

I'm not sure when they actually recorded Ruby, as I had accidentally stumbled across a bad rip of it many years ago in some fan forum or someplace. Can't quite remember.  Imagine my delight when Cake released this B-Sides and Rarities album in 2007 to find a better quality version of the song, finally. In fact the album contains absolute genius versions of War Pigs and Mahna Mahna.  This collection of tunes may only be of interest to hardcore Cake fans such as myself but the three songs I have mentioned are worth the purchase price alone. Unfortunately the liner notes did not give us a clue to when the songs here were recorded. It has been said that a new studio album is currently in the works, due to be released in the autumn of 2010. Currently untitled, John McCrea describes the album's sound as "very different" from previous CAKE records, also indicating that he will be playing piano much more than usual. Obviously it is autumn and there is still now word about the new album. Until then enjoy these killer covers.

War Pigs
Mahna Mahna
Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
Buy it

Funny Toon


Sarah said...

I really enjoy blog. The music you have here, is making my day. I came across it when I liked one of your Cake songs on

Hope your enjoying the good life!