Wednesday 18 April 2018

Blue-in-Green:RADIO's Top Covers [#50-41]

Welcome to Part One 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.  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 Two [#40-31]
Part Three [#30-21]
Part Four [#20-11]
Part Five [#10-1]

50. 'I'm in Love' by The APX (2017)
Originally performed by Evelyn Champagne King, 1981
 The APX deliver a delicious slice of 80s Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis style R&B with this excellent cover of Evelyn Champagne King’s seminal track.  But their journey to Flyte Time is by no means a one-stop visit – ‘Electrik Funk Deluxe’ front-to-back is a blissful tribute to a bygone era and sound of soul music and while obviously steeped in nostalgia, it’s a project that manages to sound fresh and dynamic at the same time.

49. 'No One Knows' by Twin Danger (2015)
Originally performed by Queens of The Stone Age, 2002
Tackling Queens of The Stone Age will always be a brave feat but for the noir jazz duo, Twin Danger, consisting of Vanessa Bley on vocals and music by Stuart Matthewman of Sade fame, it was a stroke of genius.  Just picture Dave Grohl’s drums and Josh Homme’s vocals being interpreted for a perfect evening setting in a dimly-lit and smokey jazz bar.  Nice.

48. 'Move On Up' by Lettuce featuring Dwele (2008)
Originally performed by Curtis Mayfield, 1970
The funk and soul supergroup of Lettuce delivered potentially their best effort in ‘Rage!’, and for an album littered with stellar tunes, the cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic makes for a nice touch.  The addition of vocalist Dwele is also a class out-of-the-box choice but seeing as Mayfield’s complete version clocks in at just under 9 minutes, it might have been nice to see the group expand further than the 3mins 34secs here.

47. 'Prototype' by Soulive featuring Nigel Hall (2009)
Originally performed by Andre 3000, 2003
Known to cover everyone from The Beatles to James Brown to Jimi Hendrix, the jazz trio covering Andre 3000’s hit song wasn’t as unexpected as it may have seemed at the time.  With long-term friend and collaborator for the dynamic group, Nigel Hall, on lead vocals, this cover made for a great closing number for an already excellent album release ('Up Here').

46. 'I Can't Help It' by Soul Cycle featuring Mavis "Swan" Poole (2010)
Originally performed by Michael Jackson, 1979
From the pen of Stevie Wonder, it would have been pretty shocking if a version of this song hadn’t found itself on this list in one form or another.  And while Gretchen Parlato and Esperanza Spalding have both taken more-than-admirable stabs at the song, we had to turn to the Jesse Fischer-helmed Soul Cycle interpretation from his 'Flipped' album with a great guest vocal from Mavis “Swan” Poole.

45. 'That's Not My Name' by The Impellers (2012)
Originally performed by The Ting Tings, 2008
Brighton’s ten-piece funk orchestra delivered an excellent project with fierce lead vocalist Lady Clair at the helm backed by a skilful band as proficient at handling smooth ballads as they are fiery uptempo numbers.  And it’s one of those fiery uptempo numbers that we’re showcasing here with their version of The Ting Tings’ ‘That’s Not My Name’ which does serve as an unusual choice on paper but then you hear it… and all is right in the world.

44. 'Tom's Diner' by Nautilus featuring Mizuki Kamata (2017)
Originally performed by Suzanne Vega, 1987
From the DJ Oonops compiled collection of previously unreleased tracks ('Nautiloid Quest'), this Japanese jazz trio put forth a number of great covers including Gil Scott-Heron's ‘Lady Day & John Coltrane’ (featuring Kei Owada) but it's their superb version of Suzanne Vega's ‘Tom’s Diner’ (which features Mizuki Kamata) that secures the #44 spot.

43. 'Zombie' by Sarah Elizabeth Charles (2017)
Originally performed by The Cranberries, 1994
After having appeared on two of the Christian Scott's Centennial Trilogy releases, the partnership was subsequently extended to Sarah Elizabeth Charles's 'Free of Form' being the first release on Scott's Stretch Music record label released through Ropeadope Records.  Produced with Scott, who appears on four of the tracks, Charles soars over moody and intricate soundscapes with the surprising cover of The Cranberries' 'Zombie' being a real highlight.

42. 'Places & Spaces' by Harvey Mason featuring Christian Scott & Corey King (2014)
Originally performed by Donald Byrd, 1975
The all-time great jazz drummer Harvey Mason hit gold with his album ‘Chameleon’ that paired him with some of the absolute finest in contemporary jazz musicians.  While Kamasi Washington, Kris Bowers and Mark de Clive-Lowe elevate the project throughout, it’s the Corey King and Christian Scott assisted take on ‘Places and Spaces’ that warrants mention here.  And with Scott subbing for Byrd’s trumpet – it couldn’t get much better.

41. 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' [Smoove Remix] by The Third Degree (2012)
Originally performed by Kylie Minogue, 2001
This funky take on Kylie Minogue’s mammoth-selling pop-disco number perhaps warrants inclusion for genius in its cover selection alone.  The original mix of The Third Degree’s  version can be found on the UK’s Acid Jazz label while the Smoove Remix – which is what we’re going with for the purposes of this list – can be found on his remix compilation project entitled ‘First Class’.

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