21 Comments

  1. I knew the original was by Stealers Wheel, but I hadn’t known that Gerry Rafferty was one of the founding duo.

    I also haven’t been able to find out the origin of the band’s name. Coincidentally, the Muppet that eventually became Cookie Monster started out as the “Wheel-Stealer”, but that name was never used in an aired commercial.

    This is a nice cover, though; sounds very faithful to the original.

  2. Yes, this cover is much closer to the original that I usually like covers to be. If I want the original, I’ll listen to the original is my thinking. But I think the female voice and some other small differences made it sufficiently different to catch my attention. I heard the song was intentionally done in the style of a Bob Dylan song. He does sound a lot like Dylan in the original and you’ll still find the song attributed to Dylan.

    The fella on the couch is Josh Turner, who produces some good music on his own and is part of a duo with the guy sitting on the drum box, Carson Mckee, called The Other Favorites. Unfortunately for Josh, there is an established Josh Turner who does gospel music, so it’s harder to find this Josh Turner online. For an example of a more transformative cover, he and Carson did a blues cover of Life in the Fast Lane. I think he’s 18 in this video, though he looks 14.

  3. Oh, Reina del Cid! I like her and Toni a lot. Her name actually isn’t Reina, but that’s pretty much what everyone calls her.

  4. I would not have expected Life in the Fast Lane to work that well as a traditional blues number. Good guitar skills are one thing, but arranging is a whole different talent and a lot rarer.

  5. @SingaporeBill I am embarrassed to say that until I read your comment, I had no idea that the lead vocal was done by a woman. It didn’t enter into my brain that it could be anything other than a guy with a bad haircut. Not sure what to make of the video itself, a cover of a song that was just kind of “meh” to begin with. The guy on the drum box looks like he would like to be anywhere else than sitting in on that session. Easy to feel his pain. I’ll give it another listen, this time telling myself that it’s a woman singing. Maybe I won’t be so put off by the vocal.

  6. @Unca $crooge, you should get yourself one of these fancy computers like I have. It has a knob that turns off the sound if I want to (or makes it louder if I like), keys to let me go to another page if I don’t like the one I’m at and another button that turns it off. I’ve found that by using those controls with some skill I don’t have to endure much I don’t like.

    Really, though, I’d say that if it’s not a song you like even a bit, a fairly faithful cover of it isn’t likely to change your mind. I’m lukewarm on the song myself, but it suits the lockdown theme.

    @Brian in STL. Yes, those ladies are fun. Josh and Carson work with them on stuff regularly. And, of course, all four of them have other connections that are worth exploring. I think it’s great that YouTube and downloading files and other Internet tools allow talented people to make something of a living without having to sell their souls to the record company machine.

  7. @SingaporeBill On every single music video posted so far, I have at least listened to part of it. Some of them have not been that interesting or entertaining and I have a decent enough computer to just exit the page when it is not worth finishing to the end. (Your rude comment is very reminiscent of those we see on a number of comment boards from “Funky” to “9CWL”, if you don’t like it, why don’t you leave.) The thing is, “meh” means “uninspiring” or “unexceptional” not that it is awful and this isn’t awful; it’s just not that great. It is hard to take a song that is mediocre to begin with and make it entertaining and these guys just didn’t do it. It’s almost identical to the Rafferty song and he has a much more interesting voice. And I’m glad I stayed to the end to watch the drumming guy. He looks like he lost a bet and is not happy with it.

  8. I enjoyed the Stealer’s Wheel cover; the “Life In The Fast Lane” one was blocked. I’m mixed on covers myself. I’m not necessarily looking for a replica of the original, but most of the time now at work I hear covers over the sound system and grumble about songs getting murdered.

    I do like the various covers (most of the time) at local open mikes though, and have had some of my own songs covered by other open mikers. It’s fun to hear them completely deconstructed and rearranged. Meanwhile I sometimes struggle to “do justice” to a song in a cover.

  9. While I listen to the original quite a bit (it’s on one of my wife’s oft-listened Amazon playlists), watching the video helped the bass line really pop out. It’s a great lick. Would be a neat one to have on RockBand.

  10. “Life in the Fast Lane” in their blues rendition makes the song almost seem like a harmless comedy, not an apt description of L.A.’s crazy 70s party scene. Musically, a most enjoyable version!

    I also enjoyed Reina Del Cid’s “Bernadette”. A bunch of brilliant musicians on this page!

  11. While looking for a video Josh Turner’s rendition of “Life In The Fast Lane” that’s not blocked, I came across this lovely cover of “The Weight”.

    And his solo cover of Nick Drake’s “Three Hours” is superb.

  12. @DemetriosX, I think if a song is a strong song it can stand up to rearrangement fairly well. One of the best examples of that, I think, are the songs of ABBA. I think the songwriting on a lot of them is very good but that the mid-70s disco production trivializes them. I generally like covers of ABBA songs better than the original. You’re right about the arranging, that’s for sure. Some covers squander what seems like a promising idea because the arrangement is lacking.

    @Grawlix, I’m sorry you can’t see the LIfe in the Fast Lane cover. It’s a lot of fun. If you have a VPN, that would let you. It’s a lot of fun. I generally don’t think much of covers that are too close to the original. Despite the churlishness of the observation Unca $crooge is right, this isn’t very different from the original. I suggested the song (along with others) because it fit the lockdown theme and I wanted people to be introduced to these performers. Even if the song is so-so, I like that they’re having some fun.

    @Keera Ann Fox: I’m glad you found some new stuff you like. I do like songs that juxtapose a bouncy tune with lyrical darkness. Some examples I can think of are:

    Jim Croce, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

    Reina, Toni, Josh, and Carson do a cover of that and it’s still bouncy but her phrasing gives it a different feel

    Louis Armstrong does a very bouncy Mack the Knife

    Pumped Up Kicks is a catchy hit by Foster the People. Surely it’s harmless.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped_Up_Kicks

    Warren Zevon has a bunch of those types of songs, but I think Mr. Bad Example might be the bounciest.

    Five videos and a Wikipedia link. I’m sure this one is going to moderation.

  13. I’ve lost track of what these examples are going for, but the first example that comes to mind for me of a song where the tempo of different versions or covers makes a huge difference would be “This Wheel’s on Fire”. I won’t try to look up links to these, but you might know them anyway.

    The original, performed by The Band on their debut album “Music from Big Pink” was mid-tempo but serious, and was maybe ominous in a way, but not terrifying, say.

    The cover used as theme for “Absolutely Fabulous” on TV was done by Julie Driscoll with Adrian Edmondson — and was positively peppy. (Not quite like the early version by Driscoll with Brian Auger and the Trinity, which was maybe better labelled psychedelic. Nor the Kylie Minogue version for the Ab Fab movie.)

    And then there was an incredibly slow, powerful version by Dylan (with the Band, I think) that I heard on a maybe bootleg LP with a blank white cover. I don’t think this was the one that later was issued on The Basement Tapes, but maybe was the Isle of Wight concert. Anyhow, I thought this was a knockout, and elevated the song from good to amazing. So much menace, but restrained and hence even more of a threat, in those lines about “If your mem’ry serves you well …”.

    Sometimes you get the feeling arrangers slow something down in an attempt to be “significant” but end up just making things lugubrious, so tedious you just want it to be over. But this one was a winner, just crushing!

    BTW, if you know something of the continuing thing about Beethoven’s metronoome markings, where do you stand on that? Some of Benjamin Zander’s discussion of this can be convincing, with his examples. Beethoven’s markings can’t be right! But taking them as a hint to speed things up, it can work okay.

  14. Grawlix’s moderation delayed music link for The Weight – yes, a mighty fine cover!
    My remarks about This Wheel Is on Fire, though now below that, were posted unaware of the coincidence. Now I think we could get into a mini-tangent of The Band! Does anybody have a clue for the ultra slow version with Dylan I recall?

  15. Mitch4, did I hear you say something about going down a The Band rabbit hole? Ask and ye shall receive:

    Carson McKee, Josh Turner’s frequent collaborator and partner in The Other Favorites, performs with his brother in February of this year.

  16. @Mitch4: IKR?
    Wait a minute…How deep is this hole?

    @Grawlix: I’m sorry you can’t see Life in the Fast Lane. To help take the sting out of that, I found The Other Favorites covering I Saw Her Standing There in a bluegrass style. I’ve used my VPN to test it and it should be available in the EU (I only tested France and Germany). I think you’re in Europe, is that right?

    But your trouble did have some good side effects, finding that terrific version of The Weight. And I followed some links from the video your posted and found these:

    The boys posted a remake of the first song they ever did a video of (a Carson McKee original called Flawed Recording). The remake is from 2017:

    They also linked to the original (from 2007) and the talent is already apparent. They must be about 14 or so here. Josh is 27 this year:

    @ Brian in STL: I’m not sure that’s as catchy a version but I have to give they a lot of credit for not just changing the arrangement and vocal style, but rewriting the lyrics to be period correct.

  17. That video with The Weight is an amazing (and highly polished) production!

    My pursuit of that missing lento rendition of “This Wheel” was not so much a The Band rabbit hole as a Dylan one, branching from some Dylan-based Facebook groups I was looking at. But I definitely enjoyed these clips!

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