21 July 2014

July Top 5: Kinda Lesser-Known Covers Of Really Well Known Songs

July Top 5: Kinda Lesser-Known Covers Of Really Well Known Songs

Thought I'd kick off a monthly Top 5 list with one I've borrowed from the last issue of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine (published to coincide with the NZ Soul All Dayer events).

The title of the Top 5 is pretty self-explanatory. Pictured above is Noelle Scaggs. Hello.

1. Willis - Word Up
So the story goes: 18yr old Willis was working in a music store in London when she recorded her version of the Cameo mega-hit and began selling it to punters from under the counter. Genius. What's even more genius is her re-imagining of the track; completely stripping back the squelch and theump of the original, and leaving the bare bones of her haunting voice accompanied by just a laconically funky guitar. Remarkably powerful.
Nb. Came to my attention via the exellent Rewind! LP series on Ubiquity. There are so many good versions on these compilations they're an embarrassment of riches.
2. Seu Jorge and Almaz - Everybody Loves The Sunshine
The Brazilian legend takes the already super mellow Roy Ayers staple and slides it down another couple of notches, with a reading that couldn't get any further laidback without falling over. Sure, the instrumentation is beautiful, though with a strangely menacing undercurrent running through, but that voice; oh, that voice! The man could read the phonebook and it'd sound like sex.
3. The Lions featuring Noelle Scaggs - Think (About It)
There are so many storming versions of this Lyn Collins/James Brown-penned track that this inclusion will no doubt raise the hackles of some (at least, I hope so). The Lions are an L.A. super-group of sorts, and the track is taken from their reggae-soaked Jungle Struttin' LP (Ubiquity, 2008). The album standout, with the wonderful Noelle Scaggs capturing the spirit of the Lyn Collins original while taking a hard left turn stylistically.
4. Lyn Collins - Ain't No Sunshine
From the fruit to the root: a version that is closer to the original than the other tracks on this list, but an absolutely scorching vocal from Lyn Collins means it more than earns its' spot. With her voice on the verge of cracking at points, the power and emotion Collins imbues into the Bill Withers written heart-string tugger is raw and real. From the excellent Think (About It) LP (People, 1972).
5. Yesterday's New Quintet - Golden Lady
Yesterday's New Quintet is one of uber-prolific L.A. produer Madlib aka Otis Jackson Jr's (many!) pseudonyms, and Golden Lady is taken from his Stevie LP (Stones Throw, 2004). Madlib goes deep on his all instrumental tribute to Wonder, playing everything himself, on what is a cracking album of seriously loose-limbed, broken-down, raggedy-ass funk.

(* this excerpt taken from Issue #4 of the Soultearoa Shakedown fanzine. You can read the whole issue, and the back issues, here.)

The NZ Soul All Dayer blog is here.

And while we're at it, go and 'like' the NZ Soul All Dayer facebook page here, won't you?

1 comment:

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