Friday, May 29, 2009

Cover Me Impressed: Part 1

It takes guts to cover a song. Imagine the gall, for example, of someone like Aerosmith covering the Beatles. Oh, it happened? My God. Anyway, from time to time I will highlight a cover that, in my opinion, meets or even exceeds the original.

I got into Daniel Johnston back in the '80s when the only format you could get him on was a very homemade-looking cassette. Ironically, Johnston has covered the Beatles many times with, admittedly, mixed results. So, please, no hate mail.

Many of Johnston's songs are pure genius and transcend the outsider-art label. This is especially true on 'Hi, How Are You?' A few have covered 'Walking the Cow', including a pretty good one by fIREHOSE, but the best version I have heard is from the Chicago band Office. It was posted on the group's Web site in 2007. As far as I know, it's not so easy to find now. Office does the two pivotal things in a good cover. They make it their own while still paying homage to the original. I especially like the Johnston sample at the beginning. Enjoy the cover and the original below.

Daniel Johnston - Walking the Cow (mp3)
Office - Walking the Cow (mp3)

No comments: