Page 4 of 4

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:39 pm
by Jamie Renton
Rod B. wrote:when I think about it, a lot of musicians have covered Tom Waits' songs but I can't think of one version that was really more than just OK. And I certainly can't think of one that got anywhere close to his own version.


I know I'm not alone on this forum in rating Wicked Grin, John Hammond's album of Waits covers from a few years ago.

That said, I agree that most other efforts to cover the great man's work are well worth avoiding.

Cheers

Jamie

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:50 pm
by Rob Hall
Rod B. wrote:Just read on the Observer website that actress Scarlett Johanssen is about to release a CD of covers of Tom Waits songs (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/observermusic/2008/03/the_cover_girl.html), with David Bowie on backing vocals on two of the tracks. Of course we should all avoid knee-jerk rubbishing the CD without even hearing it, but when I think about it, a lot of musicians have covered Tom Waits' songs but I can't think of one version that was really more than just OK. And I certainly can't think of one that got anywhere close to his own version.

So could we add the entire Tom Waits back catalogue to the songs that should never be covered? Or is there a good Waits cover out there I've forgotten or simply don't know about?


Screaming Jay Hawkins' cover of "Heart Attack and Vine" runs Tom Waits' original pretty close. Also, Scarlett Johansson isn't the first to attempt a whole album of Tom Waits songs: John Hammond did it with "Wicked Grin", which was produced by Tom Waits and to which he contributed guitar and piano.

(Edit: crossed posts with Jamie.)

Sorry

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:03 pm
by Gordon Neill
It's probably just me, but I've never even liked Tom Waits doing cover versions of Tom Waits songs. There's something very mannered and irritating about his voice that makes me .... well.... quite irritated. I've tried to like him, God knows I've tried. But I know when I'm beat.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:09 pm
by Adam Blake
Gordon: try "What's He Building?" from "Mule Variations". If you don't like that, then you really don't like Tom Waits...

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:15 pm
by Rob Hall
Or you should maybe go for his sloppy sentimental side: "Heart Of Saturday Night", "Jersey Girl", "Ruby's Arms", etc.

Round 2

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:38 pm
by Gordon Neill
Adam, Rob. Thanks guys. I'm a bit wary of taking him on again after he gave my ears such a walloping with Swordfishtrombone. But I know that it's just a matter of confidence. I know I can do it. I'll gather my strength and go for those weak spots. Just let me get my headgear and earplugs and I'll be fine. He won't know what hit me.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:38 pm
by MurkeyChris
Des wrote:'Strange Fruit' [...] Is there a case for this song only to be sung by a black artist?


I'd say that John Martyn does a pretty convincing version on The Church with One Bell - the anguish almost drips from his voice.

Chris

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:14 am
by taiyo no otosan
Or is there a good Waits cover out there I've forgotten or simply don't know about?


Holly Cole did a whole CD of covers, in a jazzy trio setting. I remember it as being quite pleasant in an unchallenging, Norah Jones kind of way. My jazz-bass-playing friend loved it.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:44 am
by howard male
Or is there a good Waits cover out there I've forgotten or simply don't know about?


Has anyone already mentioned the obvious one - the great version of 'Jesus Gonna Be Here' by the Blind Boys of Alabama?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:55 pm
by Jarlath
Re:Covers of Tom Waits songs

I am not too keen on male singers who think they have to sing like Waits when they cover one of his songs, so I tend to prefer covers by female singers. Some of the covers I like are:

Lucky Day by Mary Coughlan
A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Camille O'Sullivan (who is playing in London on the 27th March)
No One Knows I'm Gone by Jeremy Smoking Jacket (Rose Kemp on vocals)
Green Grass by Cibelle
Picture In A Frame by Liane Carroll

Georgia Lee by Joanna MacGregor & Andy Sheppard (instrumental)

and a couple by male singers which I like

The Piano Has Been Drinking by Dan Hicks
Shore Leave by John Hammond

It works, I tells ya, it works!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:43 am
by Gordon Neill
Ah. I like that idea, Jarlath. So far, I've resisted the charms of Tom Waits, repelled by that contrived-sounding comic-book voice. But cover versions by non-Waits impersonators sounds a good idea to me!

So far, I've managed to track down that version of 'Green Grass' by Cibelle..... I like it!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:38 am
by joel
Wicked Grin is a great album. It's also beautifully recorded, not that anyone cares about this kind of thing these days. Another album featuring a Tom Waits cover, is the Blind boys of Alabama "Spirit of the Century" disc on Real World. This album features some fine ud playing and is also beautifully recorded (so not a "real" realworld album, then).
Also check out pre-swordfish Trombones Tom Waits. A very different kettle of wierdness. Blue Valentines has a down-tempo late-night jazzy latin blues feel somewhat remincient of Art Pepper's superb late sides with Milcho Leviev and still sounds fantastic and fresh 30 years later.
I never really got on with TW's output from SFT onwards TBH.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:45 pm
by David Flower
a great Tom Waits cover was by of all people the Eagles. Ol' 55 off their 3rd album. I don't want to instigate an Eagles discussion, God forbid, but I saw them on their first UK appearance, unknown and supporting Neil Young , and they were sensationally good. Their first 3 albums were also all good

Re: It works, I tells ya, it works!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:04 pm
by Jarlath
Gordon Neill wrote:Ah. I like that idea, Jarlath. So far, I've resisted the charms of Tom Waits, repelled by that contrived-sounding comic-book voice. But cover versions by non-Waits impersonators sounds a good idea to me!

So far, I've managed to track down that version of 'Green Grass' by Cibelle..... I like it!


Well not that I would agree with you about the contrived-sounding comic-book voice...

The Jeremy Smoking Jacket track can be heard at their Myspace page.

http://www.myspace.com/jeremysmokingjacket

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:52 pm
by MurkeyChris
Des wrote:'Strange Fruit' [...] Is there a case for this song only to be sung by a black artist?


MurkeyChris wrote:I'd say that John Martyn does a pretty convincing version on The Church with One Bell - the anguish almost drips from his voice.


And I've found another one - eccentric Norfolk melodeon player Tony Hall does it on his new one One Man Hand. It so shouldn't work, but for me it really does. You can here the long, uncomfortable intro and just a snippet of the singing at:

http://www.zavvi.co.uk/music-CD-Folk-Fo ... 10.1/p.jsf

Chris