Whether because of a creative impasse or a return to her club roots, Shawn Colvin opted to pass some of the time between her breakthrough Steady On and later, more mature efforts with this 1994 collection of cover songs. Paging through a latter-day Great American Songbook, Colvin acquits herself well enough on a selection of Bob Dylan, Jimmy Webb, and Tom Waits songs. Less successful are her rewordings of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (Colvin preserves traditional family values by switching the "she" to a "he") and Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)," neither of which benefit from the stripped-down approach. This is a pleasant enough album for fans, but newcomers are advised to start with Colvin's excellent A Few Small Repairs. --Bill Forman
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from MELBOURNE, FL
Reviewed on 11/23/2012...
Love Shawn's voice, good CD for covers, like her originals even better..
(wa7rgq) from SAN DIEGO, CA
Reviewed on 5/13/2007...
Contains the hit "Every Little Thing He Does is Magic." You can't go wrong with this if you like Shawn's folk-country voice and stylings.
Shawn Colvin does other people's songs her way
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Believe it or not, Shawn Colvin started out playing hard rock with her own group, the Shawn Colvin Band in Illinois. But the music played havoc with her voice. Then she ended up in the Dixie Diesels, a Western swing band in Texas. By the early 1980s she had moved to New York and was writing and singing folks songs there and in Boston, when she was not appearing in off Broadway shows like "Pump Boys and Dinettes" and "Lie of the Mind." By 1987 she was singing backup on Suzanne Vega's hit song "Luka" and a year later paired up with John Leventhal, writing the lyrics to his melodies. A decade later we get to her big album "A Few Small Repairs," with the hit single "Sunny Came Home," which won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
The 1994 album "Cover Girl" is actually a look backwards in Colvin's ascent on the music scene. When Colvin first started working the folk circuit in Greenwich Village in the early 1980s she would take rock songs and turn them into tunes she could play and sing on her guitar, such as "Every Little Thing [He] Does Is Magic" by the Police and "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" by the Talking Heads. Of course, when she was signed to a recording contract Colvin focused on her original material. But the generation of music lovers weaned on MTV's "Unplugged" are more amenable to hearing covers of familiar songs done in interesting ways, which justifies this effort. This is not to say that everything here is a radical interpretation of the text, because that would certainly not apply to Dylan's "You're Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go." The only problem is that the best songs on the album are ones that are not mainstream works and it is hard to appreciate a cover song if you do not know the original (e.g., Greg Brown's "One Cool Remove" or Willis Alan Ramsey's "Satin Sheets").
This album is a mixture of studio and live tracks, and after listening to the likes of "Heart of Saturday Night" by Tom Waits and "Twilight" by Robbie Robertson, I will state a preference for the former. I have picked up Colvin's last album in preparation for hearing her in concert again this month. Since the last time was Lilith Fair it will be nice to hear her do more than a short set, and in addition to listening to her best known songs I will be interested to see what cover songs she shares with us this time around. Hearing this album can only whet your appetite for such things.
Concert Update: Colvin, back to playing solo with a pair of acoustic guitars, did some very inttresting covers during her performance at the Big Tent Chautauqua. She did a capella versions of the provincial song of Ontario and a couple of beer jingles ("Amazing what you remember," she told us). She also did "If These Walls Could Speak." Then during her three song encore she opened with "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night" (which apparently she only sings on Satruday nights) and closed with a stellar version of "You're Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go" (her guitar playing is as good as her singing, which my wife finds a compelling combination of being husky and high). So all of the "new" stuff was from the album she is working on for release next February, which will certainly give us something to look forward to."
Jojopuppyfish | Chicago, IL | 03/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good album....but I had a question for Colvin fans that I could not find on the net.
The local radio station use to play a radio Promo of "Every little thing he does is magic" that was acoustic guitar only without the strings. Does anyone have any info on how to get it? The version on Cover girl is not as good.