Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cover Me Impressed: 'Sad About Girls'

The other day, when we listened to the cover that almost didn't qualify as a cover (because Johnny Marr appeared on both versions), it got me thinking about 'Sad About Girls.' The following cover (again) barely qualifies. Let me explain.

If you have ever listened to any live sets from Elvis Costello & the Attractions, circa 1979, you no doubt heard that the new songs slated for the followup to 'Armed Forces' were new-wave affairs. After a short time in the studio, Costello realized this and scrapped the dated sound for something more closely related to Stax and Motown for what would eventually be 'Get Happy!!'

Meanwhile, in 1980, the Attractions decided to go ahead with an album sans Costello that sounded quite a bit like the new-wave songs they performed on tour the previous year. The result was 'Mad About the Wrong Boy.' If you're a big fan of the Attractions, you may want to pick up the LP. It's quite a curiosity. How often do you get to hear Steve Nieve or Bruce Thomas take lead vocals? All in all, I wouldn't say it's a great album, but I imagine I like it better than most Costello fans. Nieve wrote the bulk of the tunes, but Bruce and Pete Thomas should be given full credit for one of the best songs of the lot, 'La La La La La Loved You.' There are a handful of songs credited to the mysterious team of Brain/Hart. I have read over the years that the duo is Nieve and his wife, poet Fay Hart.

One of the Brain/Hart songs is the aforementioned 'Sad About Girls.' Costello must have liked that one a bit because he later recorded a version with the band in 1981 during the 'Trust' sessions. Although the song didn't make the album, there are a couple of 'Trust' reissues that have 'Sad About Girls' as a bonus song. I took the one below from my 1994 Ryko version. It's a nice piece of songwriting, but I must apologize to Nieve and humbly bow to the the later version performed by Costello & the Attractions.

The Attractions - Sad About Girls (mp3)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Sad About Girls (mp3)

More Cover Me Impressed:
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
Halloween Edition
"Porpoise Song"
"Prairie Rose"
"Come On Eileen"
"Walking On Thin Ice"
Jason Falkner Edition
"True Love Will Find You In The End"
"This Will Be Our Year"
"You're My Favorite Waste of Time"
"The End Of The World"
"(Don't Go Back To)Rockville"
"God Only Knows"
"And Your Bird Can Sing"
"So Sad About Us"
"Walking The Cow"

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