Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Her second album of covers; this one a tribute to the great vocalists who've influenced her over the years. The album comes in two versions: deluxe silver-foil gatefold cover (LP and CD) with bonus disc of extra tracks and... more »
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Her second album of covers; this one a tribute to the great vocalists who've influenced her over the years. The album comes in two versions: deluxe silver-foil gatefold cover (LP and CD) with bonus disc of extra tracks and regular jewelcase version (CD only). Backed by Dirty Delta Blues (Judah Bauer, Gregg Foreman, Jim White, Erik Papparazzi). Guest appearances: Spooner Oldham (Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan), Larry McDonald (Toots & The Maytals, Taj Mahal), Teenie Hodges (Al Green, Memphis Rhythm Band), and Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Will Oldham).
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Warm, evocative and authentic.
Marie deVarenne | Boston, MA and Leeds, UK | 01/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, is well past that initial flush of youth, but after giving up the booze and seeming to quell her fragile nerves, the 35-year-old American is enjoying a second coming.
She doesn't simply perform or regurgitate old songs, she adopts them and makes them very much her own.
"Jukebox" is further evidence of this, as she tackles everything from the Sinatra staple "New York, New York" to Joni Mitchell's "Blue" in her own inimitable style.
Just when you thought karaoke had kicked the last signs of life out of 'New York, New York',now simply titled "New York", it opens this record like a long-lost rhythm and blues classic, powered with élan by her Dirty Delta Blues band, who create marvellously fluid musical patterns and an infectious drum groove round which Marshall weaves her ethereal, quietly soulful voice.
Backed by her new collective The Dirty Delta Blues Band, including Dirty Three drummer Jim White and Jon Spencer, Blues Explosion's Judah Bauer, as well as impressive guests like the legendary Spooner Oldham and Al Green guitarist Teenie Hodges, the sound of the album is as warm and authentic as The Greatest.
The pivotal point is her interpretation of Dylan's "I Believe In You" from the days his career took a detour up a Christian cul-de-sac, reshaped into a piece of Keith Richards-inspired raunch.
"Song To Bobby" echoes Dylan's Sixties heyday down to the most subtle vocal inflection and finger shift on the fretboard.
She also updates "Metal Heart", a song first recorded for her 1998 album Moon Pix, haunting it with a brooding vocal and a strangulated guitar motif taking refuge from a Neil Young tune.
Her take on Hank Williams' "Ramblin' (Wo)Man" recalls the laid back grooves of Portishead with swells of slide guitar and skittering beats. While Hank Williams and Billie Holiday might not recognise the versions of "Ramblin' (Wo)Man" and "Don't Explain", you suspect they would wholeheartedly approve, although Janis Joplin might feel second best to a great reworking of "A Woman Left Lonely".
"Silver Stallion" provides one of the album's highlights with a minimal amount of acoustic accompaniment.
Originally recorded by country super-group The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson) it's an intimate delight.
It is an unsurprising album. It sounds exactly how you'd expect - classic, but not overly well known, songs, like Dylan's "Believe In You", squeezed by the Cat Power sound into tracks that sound like they could feature on The Greatest.
At some points the jacket is a little too tight, and you'd like the songs to come out by themselves a bit more. Witness Chan's cover of "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again'"from the soundtrack to Todd Haynes's Dylan Movie, I'm Not There - it mixes the original's exuberance with Marshall's cloudy vocals, and is all the better for it.
The last track of the album, the title track from Joni Mitchell's magnum opus "Blue", suggests the true nature of this record and, in fact, all cover albums: catharsis.
Seldom is an album of cover versions so brilliantly distanced from the originals. Chan Marshall uses her artistic alter ego Cat Power to reinvent and energise songs originally performed by the biggest artists of the last century.
Whether this album is simply a way of avoiding her own song writing or just having fun exploring the work of others there is no doubting her art and distinct mastery of interpretation. And that in itself warrants high applause.
Standout Tracks : "New York", "Silver Stallion", "Aretha Sing One For Me" and "Song To Bobby"."
Sympathy for the cover version
Laurence Upton | Wilts, UK | 05/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cover version has unfortunately become much maligned over the years. Whereas bands were once judged by how well they could perform certain blues, R&B, Lennon/McCartney or Dylan songs and could gain kudos from picking up early on an up and coming songwriting talent, the rise of the singer/songwriter (and the extra profits from the publishing royalties) has meant the proliferation of home-grown material to the near total exclusion of pre-existing songs.
Thankfully, Cat Power, though with a proven pedigree as an accomplished songwriter, notably on her previous album of original songs The Greatest, has always peppered her live appearances and recording sessions with songs that she has felt a connection with, regardless of who wrote them, and began a whole album of them a decade ago, The Covers Record, released in 2000.
This album was conceived as a sequel, and was originally going to be called Covers 2 (and still is, on the CD Text of my copy at least). Its final title Jukebox still modestly places the emphasis on the song rather than the singer, but its major difference from The Covers Record, which was mostly Cat Power on her own, is the presence of a band, the Dirty Delta Blues Band, featuring major players including Judah Bauer from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Jim White from the Dirty Three. The sound of the band, fleshed out on some tracks by guests of the calibre of Mabon Hodges (an integral part of The Greatest) and Spooner Oldham, session veterans from Memphis and Muscle Shoals respectively, is not a million miles from that on The Greatest, though there is a deliberate ragged informality in the proceedings here that sets it apart.
It would be quite a jukebox, too, if it featured the versions that inspired Chan, with artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jessie Mae hemphill. Not all the songs were known to me, but favourites such as James Brown's Lost Someone and Joni Mitchell's Blue, a brave choice, become revitalized through her translucent performances. A Woman Left Lonely, too, is wonderful, and as it was written by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn, that is presumably Spooner that we can hear on it. The shortlist for this album included the Dan Penn-Chips Moman song Dark End Of The Street, and I cannot be alone in thinking how wonderful that must have sounded, and as Spooner Oldham was the pianist on James Carr's original version, it is likely he would have played on that one, also. I'm not familiar with George Jackson's original of Aretha, Sing One For Me, but as it was recorded for Hi Records back in 1972 it is quite likely that Mabon Hodges was the guitarist on it, and it is good to see Chan recognizing and acknowledging the heritage these guys bring to her record.
I don't see Cat Power as a keen follower of rules and regulations, so on this album it is no surprise to find, on this album of covers, two of her own songs. I suppose one of these, Metal Heart, is technically a cover, since she had previously recorded it on Moon Pix. The other, Song To Bobby, an album highlight, neatly follows Dylan's I Believe In You.
A reviewer in (I think) Mojo, wrote of The Covers Record that Cat Power doesn't cover songs, she uncovers them, and despite the less sparse settings of this album this happily remains the case.
A limited edition of this CD exists with a second 5-track disc, which you may wish to consider as an alternative."