With today’s Cover Tuesday, we come to the stirring conclusion of our three (nonconsecutive) week series of Interesting/Not as Good/Better covers. Hahamusic actually started with a post proclaiming that Aretha Franklin’s version of the Sam Cooke tune “You Send Me” is not only an improvement on the original, but in fact the best song ever recorded. But instead of reposting that song, I decided to find four other covers that, while maybe not being the best song ever, reinvented and improved on the original. Three out of the four of these have been posted elsewhere on the internet, and I’ve posted the fourth one on these pages before, so you may not be seeing anything new and thrilling, but I think the songs are thrilling enough on their own to bear repeat listening (and repeat and repeat).
First up, we have Mr. Bill Withers (pictured above), former airplane toilet seat factory worker and all around underrated musical luminary. Like Richie Havens before him, he covers The Beatles by injecting a whole lot of soul into the tune. I’m actually not a big fan of the original “Let It Be,” so it would make sense that I’d like Withers’ version more. But after you listen to his, I think you might be convinced too. This cover comes to you via Satchmo over at Internettal L’s.
Bill Withers – Let It Be (Beatles cover) (Buy It)
Next up, we’ve got a scorcher from The Man in Black, Johnny Cash. From the second album Rick Rubin produced for him, Cash not only owns this song, he owns the crap out of it. While the original is a great piece of grunge-metal, this version is badass outlaw country: Straight western grit. Via Heather at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends.
Johnny Cash – Rusty Cage (Soundgarden cover) (Buy It)
Now, anyone that’s talked to me for any extended period of time about music knows that I don’t like James Taylor. It’s all too sweet, in a saccharine singer-songwriter way. But from the minute Bobby Womack’s version of “Fire and Rain” opens, I was completely, 100% on board. Like Bill Withers, Womack gives the song such a soul injection, that while I still probably couldn’t listen to the original without going into diabetic shock (’cause it’s so sweet, get it?), I could listen to this one over and over (and have). Via Scholar at Souled On.
Bobby Womack – Fire and Rain (James Taylor cover) (Buy It)
The last song today I already posted way back when on this site’s very first cover post (ah, memories), but it fit the premise for this post too so I figured what the hell. No one’s going to complain. It’s too good to have any complaints. One of The Byrds’ darkest songs, their version sounds like a trip to Disneyland next to Husker Du’s. From the guitar assault opening to the screaming meltdown ending, it’s nearly perfect.
Husker Du – Eight Miles High (The Byrds cover) (Buy It)
posted by Adam