Tag Archives: The Band

Top 5 Songs We Wish Would Get Covered (by Joshua)

We here at Charm City Jukebox are totally and completely obsessed with covers. It’s actually kind of unnatural how much we think about them. The subject on our mind as of late are hypothetical covers – songs we wish could be done by another band, and what it would sound like and how fucking awesome they would sound. Sometimes it’s of a need to correct the mistakes done on the original version (think the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help From My Friends), but mostly it’s because we think the new artists would do just an insane version of the song. And they would, believe you me.



“All the Girls Love Alice” by Elton John, as performed by Sly & the Family Stone

This song is already so funky, but man, how funk-tastic could it get with Sly Stone at the helm? Of course, we’re talking late 60’s/early 70’s Family Stone, not today’s living-in-a-van-down-by-the-river homeless Sly Stone. (That’s right. Sly Stone is broke and homeless, living in a van, down by the river.) This is the kind of funk we all wish we could aspire to, but never quite make it. It would be a deep, deep funk sound, slowed down a bit, but with a ridiculous bass line and a horn section, with all the breaks cut with the horns. As amazing as Sly & the Family Stone were, they were never the most amazing songwriters. Can you imagine the marriage of Elton John’s writing and Sly Stone’s funk? I can. We would listen to nothing else; they would be revered as Mozart or Miles Davis, but, you know, actually listened to by most people.

“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, as performed by Cake

We all know Cake has ridiculous talent and penchant for covers. They’ve covered it all, from Willie Nelson to Barry White to the most famous cover they’ve done, “I Will Survive.” They like to cover songs where someone is pissed off, and this fits the bill. It would have an insane backbeat, which is crazy, because the original backbeat is hotter than hell. But this would take it to the next level. The vocals would be, of course, even-toned. It would have that same build-up, though, and crescendo into a huge guitar/trumpet solo. It would be an instant fan favorite. Get on it, Cake.

“Chain of Fools”  by Aretha Franklin, as performed by Johnny Cash

This would have to be non-vintage Cash, but the subdued, near-death version recording America IV. It would have those same qualities of the amazing covers of “Personal Jesus” and “Hurt:” it would be slow and haunting, but it would also be different in one respect – this song would have a sense of humor. It wouldn’t be outright funny, but it would sung with slick, sly smile that only Cash could pull off. You can see him smiling to himself as he sings this into a studio mic, totally alone but filling the room with his voice.

“Fuck You” by Cee-Lo Green, as performed by The Band

Oh man, this would be so fun! There’d be the big horn section of “Ophelia” and it’d be just as fast, but with that stripped down backbeat, four-on-the-floor groove the late, great Levon Helm just loved. He would sing lead, too, but everyone would be involved for the big swelling four-part harmonies in the chorus. And somehow, even if they sang “Forget you” instead of “Fuck you,” it’d still be ok. It would be an instant American Classic, played everywhere.

“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists, as performed by Meat Loaf

This is tough, but doable. I think Meat Loaf deserves a thrust back into the mainstream; hough, covering a song that sounds like a 19th century sea shanty admittedly may not be the way to achieve that. Still, I’d love to hear what he could do with this….I’m seeing big, big guitars (when is there ever not big guitars in a Meat Loaf classic jam?) and a bruising, pounding vocal performance. Think “Bat Out of Hell,” but about pirates instead of motorcycles. It would be huge and epic in proportion, even more so than the original. They’d be a full orchestra. It would be nearly 20 minutes in length. Colin Meloy would shit his pants.

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Listen to Covers

Do you follow us on Twitter (ahem @chrmcityjukebox ahem)? Since we started tweeting, I’ve found a treasure trove of covers from music blogs and music magazines and music types, and I can’t. stop. listening. to. them. What is it about a solid cover that’s so magical? Our first post on Charm City Jukebox was about our Top 5 covers and we had enough leftovers to warrant a Leftover List and a Reader Request. We posted 23 covers that week and I think we could have doubled that, easily.

So if, like us, you can’t get enough covers, here are a few more to tide you over. And if you have more can’t miss covers, leave them in the comments, pretty please (we could use a few more. Seriously)

New Covers:

“Corrina Corrina,” Cover by Beck (via Pitchfork)

“God Only Knows,” Cover by The Flaming Lips (via Paste Magazine)

“Ophelia,” Cover by Bon Iver (via PrettyMuchAmazing.com)

Reader Recommendations:

“Walking with a Ghost,” Cover by The White Stripes  (originally by Tegan and Sara)

“Take Care,” Cover by Florence and the Machine  (originally by Drake)

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Song of the Day: April 23, 2012

Claire’s Song of the Day: “Rock Steady,” by Aretha Franklin

Joshua’s Song of the Day: “Ophelia,” by the Band

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First Show/ Worst Show: Andre Moshenberg

(Claire: It begins! Here’s our first First Show/Worst Show by Andre Moshenberg: Live music fanatic, maker of mixtapes, my dad. Interested in seeing your First Show/Worst Show on the Charm City Jukebox? Click here.)

First show: Keep in mind that I’m very old. My older brother took me to see The Band at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I’m guessing the summer of 1970 or 1971. So, I was 8 or 9 years old. I remember a bunch of hippies drinking and smoking on the lawn, I remember singing along to some of the songs but the most clear memory of the evening was some guy wearing a homemade Jethro Tull T-shirt. I’d never heard of them and I thought it was the coolest name.

Worst show: I was going to see Tom Morello, the Nightwatchman, at Sonar. I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd there would be but figured it would be pretty large due more to his time in Rage and Audioslave than his current material. So, my friend Glen and I walked into the big room at Sonar. I’d been there once before to see Gomez and didn’t think much of the room. The opening act came out to thunderous applause from the packed house. I thought it was weird that the crowd was so young but thought that was a good thing.

The band played forever. The crowd ate it up, screaming and jumping up and down like crazy. It was just odd that this terrible opening band was both playing so long and getting such a positive reaction from a crowd that was there for Morello. After what seemed like an eternity, they ended their set, the lights went up and the place emptied out. We discovered that night that there are two rooms at Sonar. Tom Morello was playing the smaller room. We had just stood through an entire Cobra Starship show. Worst show ever. Fortunately we did catch a bunch of the Nightwatchman show, which was great. But still…Cobra Starship…really?

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So Hot Right Now—February 2012, 1st Draft

Joshua: You may be asking yourself, So Hot Right Now? Is that exactly what it sounds like? Yes, it is. We all tend to have these songs that are stuck, like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth, in our brains for what seems like a month. I just happen to make them into a playlist with a catchy name (which I totally stole from from an ex). The spin I came up with was to create the list with the limitation that it must be able to fit within a standard length of a burned cd, making it essentially a So Hot Right Now mixtape. I also arrange the songs with some fleeting adherence to the rules of making a mixtape, which are many and more, according to Rob Gordon, so they aren’t exactly perfect. And in that vein, I also tend to revise the lists halfway through the month with what plays and doesn’t play. So without any further ado, here are our first So Hot Right Now lists of the New Year!

Claire’s List:

1. Etta James “My Dearest Darling”

2. Camper Van Beethoven “That Gum You Like is Back in Style”

3. The Smiths “Nowhere Fast”

4.  The Fratellis, “Whistle for the Choir”

5. A Fine Frenzy, “What I Wouldn’t Do”

6. Kate Nash, cover of’ “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You”

7. Best Coast, “Sun Was High (So Was I)”

8. They Might Be Giants, “Letterbox”

9. The Dead Milkmen, “Punk Rock Girl”

10. Taj Mahal, “Corinna”

11. Lucinda Williams, “Firecracker”

12. The Jayhawks, “Angelyne”

13. Liz Phair “Glory”

14. The Velvet Underground “There She Goes Again”

15. Richard and Linda Thompson “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight”

Joshua’s List:

1. Warren Zevon – Lawyers, Guns, and Money

2. Soft Cell – Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go

3. Barenaked Ladies – Light Up My Room

4. Paul Simon – Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

5. Amy Winehouse – Valerie

6. The Band – Up on Cripple Creek (live)

7. The Decemberists – Red Right Ankle

8. Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

9. The Decemberists – On The Bus Mall

10. Talking Heads – And She Was

11. The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

12. Rasputina – Incident at a Medical Clinic

13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

14. The Toadies – Possum Kingdom

15. John Legend – Ordinary People

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Top 5 Snowed in Songs

JOSHUA’S List

Funkadelic – Maggot Brain

This song is what it sounds like – it’s a ten minute guitar solo. I’m not big on them as a rule, but this one is different and a little (and mostly likely apocryphal) backstory is necessary: The guitarist, Eddie Hazel, was sat down in a room with a guitar and given a whole bunch of acid. When he was tripping balls, the band started playing a slow backing rhythm. George Clinton then told Hazel that his mother was dead and to start playing the guitar. Halfway through the blistering, emotionally raw solo, Clinton shouted to Hazel that he lied and his mother was alive. You can hear in the track how the playing changes. Still, it’s an awesome song to be snowed-in to. It’s long, it’s haunting, and if you let it, it will take your breath away easier than that draft seeping in the window.

D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does It Feel)

What do you want when you’re snowed in? I know I want a blanket, some hot chocolate, a roaring fire, and a special someone to snuggle up next to. This song is perfect for that – Snuggle up next to your baby and the fire and put this on. Soon enough you’ll be generating enough heat together to want to put that fire out.

The Band – Acadian Driftwood

This isn’t exactly the happiest song. It speaks of the expulsion of the Acadian people from Canadian islands and the hardships they endured during and after. But the melodies and somber and soothing and the guitar is lilting and strangely powerful. It also has great winter lyrics, my favorite being “I set my compass north; I got winter in the blood.” And the singing of Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson always sets my mind to ease.

Miles Davis – All Blues

I was very close to making this list all jazz. There’s something to be said to huddling around in blankets with the windows covered in snow and listen to Miles Davis or John Coltrane soulfully eek out a wonderfully crafted solo. This song has that in spades. It’s slow-moving and plodding, helped by having a simple blues 1-4-5 chord progression played in a 6/8 waltz feel. The head is an almost dark, muted affair mingling Davis solo with harmonies by saxophone and trombone. This whole album is good for a snowy day, but I find I gravitate towards this song and the lead track, “So What,” namely because their dark motifs remind me of the windows being caked in snow and it being dark, darker than it should be for 2 in the afternoon. Brew up some dark coffee for this one.

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife 1 & 2 / The Crane Wife 3

These are the title tracks the Decemberists’ fourth album, comprising one of their best song cycles. It retells the Japanese folktale of the crane wife. She is found, in the form of a crane, by a lonely peasant, who nurses it back to health from an arrow wound. Once she is set free, she returns as a beautiful women…well, why don’t you just listen to it? It’s heartbreakingly beautiful and impeccably sparse. Colin Meloy, the singer/songwriter for the band, is in rare form in this song cycle. An interesting side note about the songs: “The Crane Wife 3” is the track that opens the album, while “The Crane Wife 1 & 2” is the second to last track. It’s a great choice – “3” sets the tone for the album and piques the interest of the listener, who’s being let into the story in medias res.

Honorable Mentions:

The Decemberists – January Hymn: Disqualified from the main list simply because it’s too on the nose. Otherwise, a beautiful track.

Jamie Cullum – High and Dry: I normally hate Radiohead, but Jamie Cullum’s mournful vocal tone makes one glad you’re not outside.

Rasputina – Snow Hen of Austerlitz (Cellist’s Revenge Mix): Melora Creager’s ethereal, haunting voice only compounds the dark, dark plucks and short bow-strokes of the cellos on this track. Put this one on then watch The Shining. You’ll be terrified of the snow afterwards. And shouldn’t you be?

CLAIRE’S List

Shawn Colvin — “Riding Shotgun Down the Avalanche”

The guitar, at once spare and lyrical. Colvin’s voice, with it’s rising, even-keel alto (also Alison Krauss is music’s version of salt and her voice is the definition of “dulcet tones”). The lyrics, heavy-hearted and restrained. The combination is quiet and haunting, the sonic equivalent of stepping outside mid snowstorm, when everything is silent, and neighbor’s houses and lawns are one endless blur of soft white. The chorus’s request to  “Be quiet tonight, be sure to step lightly, on this mountain of new fallen snow” is fitting. This is the beginning of the storm. This is when it’s still magical, when your home is still warm-bellied and comforting, when the days haven’t passed and the tempers haven’t flared.

Joshua Radin — “Winter”

I don’t love snow. Now that I live somewhere without it, I have a sort of idealized craving for it when I come home for the holidays. I want to watch it flutter in the street lights, I want the soft powdery snow that piles up in the backyard and demands saucer sleds and mittens, regardless of age. This song is when it stops being fun. When I’m no longer barrelling down the enormous hill in my backyard, slicing through the cold air with ruddy cheeks and layers of soaked clothing. When the darkness, cold and still, wraps tightly around my house and the slow sadness of being alone, in the dark, with my thoughts, creeps in. On the nose, to be sure, but Radin’s whispery voice and the lyrics, painfully self aware to the point of melodramatic, exemplify the “I’m starting to wish this storm would end” feeling. Or, as I call it, Day 3.

Sufjan Stevens — “For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti”

There are images of writing we all want—ones with big oak desks and low light, with a cigarette clamped in your teeth and a cup of coffee going cold and oily in the corner. The kind of writing that demands typewriters, thick glass tumblers, unbuttoned shirts and pushed up sleeves. You can be that person when you’re trapped inside. I’ve never done it successfully (my snowed in writing process goes like all of my writing processes—get up every 5 minutes, wear pajama pants, become really particular about having a glass of water, or cleaning something, or doing any and all non-writing related things). This is a good writing indoors song. It makes you feel something, though it’s hard to say what, and its got the right energy for being inside, thinking, maybe even productively.

Brian Eno — “By This River”

I used to work at a tiny music memorabilia company called Connected Music. I was there for years, starting in high school, and I attribute my Brian Eno love to that time. (My Top 5 Connected Music bands: Brian Eno, Nick Lowe, Bootsy Collins, Leftover Salmon, Lucinda Williams.) During one rough winter, (personally for me, financially for the business), the three of us listened to Eno, drank black coffee by the gallon, and snuck off for frequent, jittery smoke breaks, the smoke and our breath visibly intertwined in the cold air. A storeroom full of Devo costumes and Aerosmith lunchboxes is a weird place to discover Brian Eno, but there he was, the perfect soundtrack for long cold days in a musical bunker.

Van Morrison — “I Wanna Roo You”

One bright spot in an otherwise dark list. Van Morrison is required listening for snow days. And this song, a bouncey number set on a snowed in day, is perfect. The 23rd of December has come and gone, but may all your snowed in Roo-ing (or snow-less Roo-ing, for that matter) go exceedingly well. Roo away, everyone. Roo away.

Honorary Mentions:

Counting Crows — “Long December”: This song is being fifteen, sad, cold, and terribly deep. Pairs well with red wine pilfered from your parent’s bottle stashed under the sink.

Interpol — “Obstacle 1″: Featured prominently on a mixtape someone gave me in high school, which I listened to relentlessly for years. The first notes always give me the fresh anxiety of driving through a snow storm.

Mama Cass — “Dream a Little Dream of Me”: A good moony, daydreaming song. Snow days can be joyful and lovely. Our lists don’t reflect that (much), but I swear, it’s a possibility that your snowed in day will be all cocoa and old movies, picturesque views and good food. Fingers crossed, and if it is, here’s music for that sort of day. Enjoy it.

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