Under the Covers

Well hello there!

Even though the weather over here in New York City isn’t very pretty, there is still a feeling that Summer is imminent. The rain may be falling pretty heavily, yet there seems to be a little bit of warmth pushing through. I couldn’t be more excited to ring in Summer; a time of warm weather, swimming pools, barebcues and other forms of merrymaking. So in celebration of a summer that seems only days away let’s listen to some music! Today we have a tribute to some of my favourite covers. Some old, some new…all lovely. I really could have gone on forever with this list, but I managed to shorten it to just a few of my all time faves. Please enjoy!

“Failsafe” (Written by A.C. Newman in 2007)

The Choir Practice is a group of Canadians who need no more than the vocal chords of their members to create music (must make touring easier). On their debut self titled album, they have a bunch of cool A capella songs, most of which were written by lead member, Coco Culbertson. But I came across this little cover of The New Pornographers’ “Failsafe” that I thought I would share with you.

The New Pornographers – Failsafe (Original Version)

The Choir Practice – Failsafe (Cover)

“Some Things Last A Long Time” (Written by Daniel Johnston in 1990)

People love to cover Daniel Johnston don’t they? I guess his songs leave a lot of room for expansion and interpretation, and that is exactly what Beach House have done on their cover of “Some Things Last A Long Time”. Well at least they covered a song other than “True Love Will Find You in the End”.

Daniel Johnston – Some Things Last A Long Time (Original Version)

Beach House – Some Things Last A Long Time (Cover)

“Turpin Hero” (Traditional Folk Song)

I’m pretty sure Shirley Collins didn’t write this song but her version is the earliest I could find so I will say it is original enough. While the Shirley Collins version is great on its own, listen to these lovely covers done by Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, and The Owl Service.

Shirley Collins – Turpin Hero (1959)

The Owl Service – Turpin Hero (Cover)

Colin Meloy – Turpin Hero (Cover)

“Know Your Onion!” (Written by James Mercer in 2001)

This one is sort of old news, but since it is one of my favourite covers I thought I would include it. I also think it’s kind of funny that of Montreal covered The Shins. I wouldn’t expect to see Kevin Barnes and co. covering The Shins at any of their shows nowadays but it’s cool to think that there was a time when they would have. And since this is an old song, I chose a picture a picture of the band from before their transformation into what they are today.

The Shins – Know Your Onion! (Original Version)

Of Montreal – Know Yours Onion! (Cover)

“Fairytale of New York” (Written by Jem Finer & Shane MacGowan in 1987)

This one is also not that new but it is one of my favourite covers ever. It’s just such an amazing song to begin with but I simply love the Stars version.

The Pogues – Fairytale of New York (Original Version)

Stars – Fairtytale of New York (Cover)

“Half a Person” (Written by Johnny Marr & Morrissey in 1986)

When I was listening to The Welcome Wagon’s debut album for the first time and their version of “Half a Person” came on I thought to myself, “I know I have heard this somewhere before”. It wasn’t until I looked up the title on my Itunes and two songs came up, one by The Smiths that I realized where. And what a beautiful job they do with it indeed.

The Smiths – Half a Person (Original Version)

The Welcome Wagon – Half a Person (Cover)

“26 Miles” (Written by Bruce Belland & Glen Larson in 1958)

This isn’t exactly an amazing cover. But just the fact that Dent May decided to cover this song makes it amazing. I listened to a lot of stuff like this growing up (The Four Preps, The Four Seasons etc), so when I heard this cover on Dent May’s album I just burst out laughing. I really love this guy. Anyone who writes an ode to Michael Chang is okay in my book.

The Four Preps – 26 Miles (Original Version)

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukelele – 26 Miles (Santa Catalina) (Cover)

“What’ll I Do” (Written by Irving Berlin in 1924)

Rufus Wainwright is like the king of the cover. I think I have more covers by him than anyone else. The scales are sort of tipped in his favor considering I have his album comprised entirely of Judy Garland covers. Nevertheless, this cover of “What’ll I Do” is perhaps my favourite. The song was written by Irving Berlin is 1924 and has been covered by many but I thought these two versions were a good representation.

Harry Nillson – What’ll I Do (1973)

Rufus Wainwright (Featuring Kate & Anna McGariggle) – What’ll I Do (Cover)
Well now that you know some of my favourite covers, what are some of yours?

The Middle Distance Runner

3 comments for “Under the Covers”

  1. I’m pretty outspoken about my own favorite covers over at Cover Lay Down. But kudos on your own taste — you’ve got some of the best indiefolk covers of the last few years listed here! (Especially like Welcome Wagon cover…and the Dent May isn’t bad, though I agree it’s not his best work…)

  2. thanks! that’s a pretty great site you got over there. keep it up!

  3. whoa. failsafe. this is crazy & beautiful. thanks.

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