Friday, October 16, 2009

Gankin' from the Godfather.

After the success of our last covers post, I figured we'd turn it into an occasional series. (BTW - if you've got suggestions, email me or leave a comment.) This week we are sharing a number of artists covering the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown.

Just as we began with two covers of "Eleanor Rigby" last time, we're starting with two markedly different versions of JB's classic "I Don't Want Nobody." The first is by jazz guitarist Grant Green, whose laid back, muted version of the song pretty much exemplifies why he's a jazz-funk legend. In contrast, Randy California's version (from the aforementioned Kapt. Kopter & the (Fabulous) Twirlybirds) rocks hard. If Hendrix ever covered James Brown, I'm fairly certain it would come out something like this:

"I Don't Want Nobody" - Grant Green

"I Don't Want Nobody" - Randy California

Next up is the Blues Magoos' typically garage-y, blue eyed soulish take on "I'll Go Crazy." Structually, it's quite similar to JB's original. The prominence of the (Farfisa?) organ sets it apart, however, and the "you got to live" sections (with gang vocals) are particularly exuberant:

"I'll Go Crazy" - the Blues Magoos

The Kashmere Stage Band have certainly seen a revival of notoriety lately. Their material has finally been remastered and rereleased - deservedly so. Their version of "Super Bad" is brassy, fully orchestrated, but unrelentingly funky. Also, I love the organ solo near the end:

"Super Bad" - the Kashmere Stage Band

Gene Chandler's cover of "There Was a Time" is well known to Northern Soul fans and dare I say it, his amped-up version is even better than the original. Just try not to dance to this:

"There Was a Time" - Gene Chandler

And finally, we have Arthur Brown's manic version of "I've Got Money" (from 1968's brilliant--and vastly underrated--The Crazy World of Arthur Brown). Brown used to perform in a flaming helmet, but you don't need gimmicks to appreciate this:

"I've Got Money" - Arthur Brown

Enjoy and send me your suggestions for our next covers post!


Anonymous said...

hey, great post, loving some of the covers you posted... If i could suggest a theme for the next covers post it would be throat singing... bands like yat kha and bugotak covering the likes of joy division, captain beefheart and the the beatles.. some really great and unusual stuff :) PS. thanks for all the music, loving that church of anthrax LP.

Shayne said...

you're welcome, and thank you for the kind words.

I wish there had been another C.O.A. record, because I think it really brought out both cale's and riley's strengths.