Record of the Month

I figured I’d do a monthly ‘what I’m listening to’ kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it’s my blog! So there!

These may or may not be newly released disks. They might not even be a good disk – just what is been in heavy rotation in my car (as usually the iPod is playing anywhere else).

Cover albums are a risky business at best. And for the life of me I cannot think of one that has entirely worked. Tribute albums are a different thing – at least with multiple artists paying tribute to a singular artist or cause.

But a singular artist covering music that has already been recorded is always an iffy proposition – especially if the material is well known and had been popular in the day.

I’m a huge fan of Allison Moorer’s disk, The Duel. But not so much of Mockingbird.

The entire disk is marginal. Nothing shines – even for a moment. It is very frustrating, especially because Moorer has such a great voice. The song choices and arrangements are flawed. Deeply.

I don’t think the fact that all the songs are by female writers has anything to do with it. Buddy Miller’s production doesn’t really add a thing to the songs – and possibly detracts from it.

A 4/4 version of “Ring of Fire”? The blandest cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot”? And an emotionless take of Gillian Welch’s “Relavator? It was really too much to take.

I don’t know why I do this to myself. I’m a sucker for a cover album, or the possibility of one and they never come out well. Not at all. Ever.

I do think it is why I like some tribute albums – though they are hit and miss too. Take the one to Elton John. Sinead O’Connor’s take on “Sacrifice” or George Michael’s “Tonite” – both make the album of other crap songs by BonJovi or (ugh) Wilson Phillips! Or try the Spirit of ’73 – with a great version of , yes, “Dancing Barefoot” and “Have You Never Been Mellow” (seriously!)

Well, here is hoping Moorer can come back with a new disk of original material that suits her. That suits me. But this ain’t it.


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