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wonders never cease Wednesday, September 9, 2009

play list of the week: 9.9.09 beatles tribute

[caption id="attachment_466" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="click to listen"]Nine[/caption]In honor of the much-hyped release of the entire back catalog of Beatles albums remastered, we will mark this delightfully symmetrical day with a tribute to Beatles tributes and reinventions.

1. Revolution # 9 - The Durham Ox Singers A fitting start to mark the unique date, this really is just the regulars at a British Pub having a laugh, but they sing this complex, experimental, drifting composition a cappela and it actually sounds pretty good, at least if you fall into the camp that enjoyed the original version. 2. Drive My Car – The Donnas A revved up cover perfectly suited to the power rock of the Palo Alto quartet, they really make it seem like a tough job to pass up. 3. Why Don't We Do It In The Road - Lowell Fulson Oklahoma-born blues icon (and one of Ray Charles’ first bosses) puts his powerful voice and legendary guitar to work, turning the free spirited original into a heartfelt plea, as only a bluesman can. 4. We Can Work It Out - Heather Nova Lilith Fair vet belies her Bermuda roots with this breathy, personalized take on the classic relationship struggle. 5. Day Tripper – Jimi Hendrix Guitar strings aren’t the only things being bent on this groundbreaking reinvention from the original guitar hero. Hendrix was a huge Beatles fan and actually covered several Beatles songs live, including Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to open his final UK show for an appreciative audience that included Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Ironically, it was the release of that Beatles classic LP that prevented his debut record, Are You Experienced?, from reaching the top of the charts. 6. You Won't See Me - Dar Williams Pop-folk songstress gives the coffeehouse treatment to the Rubber Soul classic. 7. Let It Be – Nick Cave Nick Cave once kicked his drummer out of the band for suggesting that they cover a Beatles song. Twenty years later, he covers this homage to optimism in typical Nick Cave style, turning it into a beautiful but gloomy funeral dirge. 8. Run For Your Life – Nancy Sinatra Frank’s daughter turns John Lennon’s least favorite Beatles song into a support piece for her hit These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ on her debut LP, Boots. Knowing about her dad’s Vegas connections definitely amplifies the threat in the lyrics, too. Honorable mention here goes to Cowboy Junkies for a rumbling, threatening cover of Sinatra’s cover. 9. What Goes On – Sufjan Stevens Indie darling completely rearranges a lesser known Beatles track (if such a thing exists) and really makes it his own. 10. In My Life - Miriam Makeba South African singer and civil rights activist “Mama Afrika” lost the ability to get gigs in the US when she married confrontational SNCC leader Stokely Carmicheal. When her marriage ended, she returned to the US and won a Grammy, starred in Sarafina, and even performed at the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974. She returned to her native country after 30 years of government enforced exile at the urging of the recently released Nelson Mandela to take part in the healing of the ugly scars of apartheid. 11. I'm Looking Through You - Ted Leo & The Pharmacists The Beatles, coming soon to a rave near you. A clever remixing of a song that seems so familiar yet becomes so different so quickly. Surprising yet sonically pleasing, from a band that has gone on to big things since they formed here in DC. 12. Nowhere Man – Paul Westerberg Ex-Replacements frontman gently strums out a sublime rendition of a classic just dripping with melancholy. For a slightly more upbeat but still beautiful version of this scathing commentary, check out Low’s version of this song. It’s tough to out harmonize The Beatles but Low give the fab four a run for their money.

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wonders never cease