Wednesday 25 April 2018

Blue-in-Green:RADIO's Top Covers [#40-31]

Welcome to Part Two of Blue-in-Green:RADIO's countdown of our top 50 covers of all time.  We're selecting tracks from a broad range of musical styles including soul, jazz, funk and R&B with the only rule that these covers have had to have been recorded post-2000.

The show will broadcast through the site from 6pmUK over the next four Tuesdays as we count down to number 1 and we'll aim to post the show and list on the site for the following day (so feel free to listen to Part Two at the bottom of this post).  We'd love for you to check out the list and the show and let us know what you think as we get closer to that #1 spot.

Catch up:
Part One [#50-41]
Part Three [#30-21]
Part Four [#20-11]
Part 5 [#10-1]

40. ‘Inspiration Information’ by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (2009)
Originally performed by Shuggie Otis, 1974
The cover of Shuggie Otis’s ‘Inspiration Information’ has probably been the song that was the most famous b-side for the much-beloved Sharon Jones &The Dap-Kings.  It was initially released in 2009 but officially found a home on SJ&TDK’s b-sides and rarities compilation, ‘Soul Time’, released through Daptone Records.

39. 'Butterfly' by Courtney Pine featuring Omar (2017)
Originally performed by Herbie Hancock, 1974
Courtney Pine scored big with the release of his 19th album, ‘Black Notes From The Deep’, released through the match-made-in-heaven pairing with Freestyle Records!  Incredibly, this album offers saxophonist Pine another match-made-in-heaven pairing by also seeing him collaborate with UK vocalist, Omar, who appears on four of the album’s ten tracks marking this a momentous release from no less than two icons of UK’s soul and jazz worlds.  The music here is fantastic with the awesome up-tempo numbers paired beautifully alongside the lush ballads but it’s the cover of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Butterfly’ that’s the big winner here.

38. ‘Holding You, Loving You’ by Shuya Okino featuring Pete Simpson (2011)
Originally performed by Don Blackman, 1982
Shuya Okino from the world-renown Kyoto Jazz Massive released his solo effort ‘Destiny’ to Japanese audiences only.  For hardcopy fans, the CD packaging is beautifully presented almost as a coffee table book so it would make a great find if you’re prepared to spend that little bit extra.  The album was heavy on samples, covers and buckets of boogie featuring vocal talents of N’Dea Davenport and Divinti, and hugely under-appreciated UK vocalist Pete Simpson who appears on the album’s closing two tracks including this Don Blackman cover.

37. ‘Another Love’ by Prince & Third Eye Girl (2014)
Originally performed by Alice Smith, 2013
‘PlectrumElectrum’ (along with ‘Art Official Age’ which was released on the same day) marks the final full-length Prince studio release.  This project, which saw The Purple Majesty paired with Third Eye Girl took the project in a more rockier direction with a brilliant guitar-heavy reimagining of this lovely Alice Smith number.

36. ‘I’ll Stay’ by The RH Factor featuring D’Angelo (2003)
Originally performed by Funkadelic, 1974
From the first of three projects from trumpeter and producer Roy Hargrove and his jazz-funk alter-ego, The RH Factor.  A project inspired by his work with the Soulquarian collective: Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Common on their respective projects (all of which appear on ‘Hard Groove’ to return the favour).  A stunning project throughout – as all three projects were (including ‘Strength’ and ‘Distractions’) – and their cover of Funkadelic’s ‘I’ll Stay’ featuring D’Angelo on vocals and Pino Palladino on bass showcases it.

35. ‘Be My Lady’ by Trombone Shorty featuring The Meters (2013)
Originally performed by The Meters, 1977
From the album that paired trombonist and vocalist Trombone Shorty with the production of the excellent Raphael Saadiq (‘Say That To Say This’), this cover of the brilliant track by The Meters even goes as far as to feature members of the band on the track for the ultimate recreation.

34. ‘Hard Times’ by Alecia Chakour & The Osrah (2010)
Originally performed by Baby Huey, 1971
A perfect vocal from Alicia Chakour elevates the Baby Huey cult favourite continuing the vein of the gritty city life Huey originally sang about.  Backed by the powerhouse band of The Osrah, it’s a shame that the ‘Loomi’ EP, where this song can be found, is the only release from the group but fingers are firmly crossed for new material from Chakour particularly as she currently tours and collaborates frequently with Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall and Lettuce.

33. ‘Baby This Love I Have’ by AAries (2011)
Originally performed by Minnie Riperton, 1975
It’s forever a shame that Def Jam would ultimately shelve the debut project from R&B duo, and Musiq Soulchild affiliates, AAries.  Thankfully they did release ‘Cover Girls’ as a free EP through Bandcamp which is where you can find this gorgeous cover of the Minnie Riperton classic.  With the track in question produced by Questlove, the six-track compilation does make you wonder what further delights the album would’ve delivered so like I said, forever a shame.

32. ‘All Of Me’ by Cassandra Wilson (2015)
Originally performed by Billie Holiday, 1941
2015 was the year that would have marked Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday and subsequently spawned many tribute recordings honouring her memory and music.  Amongst the releases which included efforts from Jose James, Rebecca Ferguson and a notably eclectic effort from Millenium Jazz (‘Lady Day – 100 Years of Billie Holiday’), it was the match-made-in-heaven collaboration between Cassandra Wilson and producer Nick Launay (famous for his work with Nick Cave and Arcade Fire) that generated beautiful textures for Holiday’s music solidifying the project with a spot on this list.

31. ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ by El Michels Affair (2009)
Originally performed by The Wu-Tang Clan, 1993
From the first of two projects celebrating the music of the Wu-Tang Clan, Truth & Soul’s El Michels Affair brilliantly pay homage with mostly instrumental recreations of the seminal hip-hop group’s ground-breaking productions with their own ‘Enter The 37th Chamber’ release.  With the typical analogue recording techniques employed by Truth & Soul you’d be forgiven for thinking these songs serve as the original pieces that RZA sampled – especially after hearing this dusty and grimy version of Wu’s ‘C.R.E.A.M.’.  (Of course it would be only fair to cite the song that RZA himself did sample for his version of ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ which was the 1967 recording of The Charmels’ ‘As Long As I’ve Got You’.)

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