Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Bunch of Stiffs

Short and sweet tonight as it's quite late. The theme is Stiff artists covering Stiff artists. The first two are taken from the 2001 album 'Brand New Boots and Panties: A Tribute to Ian Dury.' That's actually the Blockheads backing Wreckless Eric. The next two songs appear on the 2001 album 'Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe.' As tribute collections go, both of these records are better than most.

I'm sure the last two originals need no introduction, but they are by Madness and Kirsty MacColl, respectively. You can find these covers on Tracey Ullman's 'Takes on the Hits.' I doubt many of you regulars care much for Ullman, but I think her version of "They Don't Know" is a perfect pop song that does the original justice. I would apologize for repeating these Ullman songs -- they were part of a 2009 post -- but I'm quite confident I was an audience of one in those days.

Madness - My Old Man
Wreckless Eric - Clevor Trever
Graham Parker - The Rose of England
Elvis Costello - Egypt
Tracey Ullman - My Guy
Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know

Oh, what the heck. Who needs sleep? Let's do one more. Someone is bound to ask about the one that keeps Lowe in diamonds and furs,
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," but I didn't include it because it seems so obvious. Let's turn the table and go with Lowe covering Elvis Costello instead. This one is from his 1985 album 'The Rose of England.' That is all.

Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit - Indoor Fireworks

7 comments:

Echorich said...

Lowe makes Indoor Fireworks his own!

Scott said...
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Scott said...

You are spoiling us today Brian. Good to hear Graham Parker, someone you don't hear enough of these days. Might be wrong here but did Kirsty MacColl not do the backing vocals on Ullman's cover ?

charity chic said...

Great stuff Brian -some stellar artists with some stellar songs

george said...

The Nick Lowe version is very good. It doesn't have that vulnerability of the Elvis Costello. I am, though, extremely disappointed to have to report that Jo has just this very minute described the song as terrible.

george said...

...and the Elvis song you post is very good indeed. I do not know what my partner makes of this track.

Brian said...

Hello, gentlemen. The reaction to Indoor Fireworks seems to run the gamut from Echorich's exclamation point to Mrs. Jim McLean's Rabbit's "terrible." I prefer Costello's version, but I like them both. Lowe is such a treasure, but The Rose of England is not one of his better albums, in my opinion.

Scott, you are correct about MacColl singing backup to Ullman on her own song. They were good friends, but it must have been strange on some level seeing your song become a smash with more or less the same arrangement as your original, and then to be so involved with the cover version... and presented on your label to boot. I'm sure once the checks started rolling in it was easier to swallow. And, of course, when the dust settled MacColl was the remembered and revered one anyway... at least musically. Did I miss any good Stiff covers by Stiff artists? Thanks for weighing in everybody.