Saturday, April 9, 2016


Rule number one in doing a cover is pick a good song. That could go any number of ways. You could pick an excellent song, based on the original version, because it's iconic in some way or another. You could pull it out of obscurity, either because it deserves to be brought to public attention, or because the earlier version doesn't do the song itself justice. Or you could pick a cover specifically because it is an unlikely song for you to cover. You get carried away with that, it could be one of those asshole attempts at irony. Is an intended attempt to be ironic still ironic? Remember white belts?

Out of all of the different types of covers, the hardest type to pull off is undoubtedly covering an excellent song, already close to perfect the first time it was recorded. You're only hope there is to reinvent it. Record it as if it was your own song, in your own style. Sink or swim.

Cover Me recently posted several versions of Bill Withers's "Use Me". If you don't know the song, you need to. Listen to it repeatedly. I've heard Withers's version a thousand times and it still amazes me. It's one of those near perfect songs. "Near" because perfect doesn't really exist. You think it does, but it really doesn't. Just fucking with you. Anyway, I sampled three of the versions and if the first I listened to wasn't any good, I wouldn't have gone any further. But Holly Golightly does reinvent it, and she does play it as her own. The second one I sampled, by Grace Jones, was also seriously tweaked. With Sly and Robbie as rhythm section, it's pretty much an electro-reggae version. The third one I checked was Jim White's, which has a certain vibe to it, like a soundtrack to someone being led to the gallows. That's an unintentional metaphor there. A real cool version was posted here a while back, so what the hell, the Outfit's version is down there too, a solid jam from Barbados.

Bill Withers - Use Me mp3 at The Giant Panther
Holly Golightly - Use Me mp3 at Cover Me If the link doesn't get you to it, go here.
Grace Jones - Use Me mp3 at Cover Me
Jim White - Use Me mp3 at Cover Me
The Outfit - Use Me mp3 at Soul Garage
Two more versions at Cover Me

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