Friday, 15 August 2014

From Inside The Pod Revisited #3

Here's the third repost from my old blog From Inside The Pod. This one first saw the light of day almost exactly three years ago! My, how time flies. I made a series of podcasts featuring cover versions and they proved to be quite popular. Ironically, I actually jacked the blog in when I realised people only seemed interested in these re:Covering podcasts. I wanted to post more original stuff though and became increasingly frustrated that no one else shared my desires.

Nevertheless, I 'released' four re:Covering podcasts, and made two more that remain unreleased. This one has some great stuff on it. I'm surprised most of the You Tube links to the originals still work; those that didn't I have found alternatives. Once again, I've not tampered with any of the original article other than updating the links. As you see, I was already beginning to get a little upset at the lack of interest from my audience. In spite of this, it still lasted another nine months before it ended.

pod 17: re:Covering 2
(first published 21 August 2011)

I have considered calling it a day. The number of downloads of recent podcasts is embarrassingly poor and I wonder whether it is worthwhile continuing to post for the benefit of two or three occasional visitors. I decided to stick it out a tad longer to test the water one last time.

My two most popular podcasts by far have been '#keepingitpeel' (pod 08), my tribute to John Peel, and 're:Covering' (pod 12), a podcast of cover versions. The former had the added clout of being lauded and promoted by Webbie over at Football and Music as he launched Keeping It Peel Day last October. The latter? The result of me having noticed the most popular podcasts up to that point were the ones with most cover versions on them. A case of give the people what they want, so to speak.

So, while we await #keepingitpeel2, here's another pod of covers to see who's still interested. There are hundreds of tunes that could have made it, but I decided to go with ten you may well have missed...

1. Toy Dolls I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) (1997, One More Megabyte)
Best known for their take on Nellie The Elephant which was a big hit back in 1984, Sunderland's Toy Dolls have delighted fans for many years which such classics as the Theme from Rupert The BearLivin' La Vida Loca and Kids In America (retitled Kids In Tyne & Wear), as well, of course, as hundreds of their own hilarious ditties. Here, the Proclaimers' finest moment is transformed into a frenetic blast of punk fun.

2. Let's Wrestle The One I Love (2011, b-side of In Dreams, pt II)
Despite hailing from London, Let's Wrestle certainly owe more than a nod to lo-fi Americans such as Pavement and Grandaddy. Their second album came out a couple of months ago, and this interesting cover of the R.E.M. classic featured as the b-side (yes, a good old fashioned b-side) of its lead single.

3. Benjamin Francis Leftwich Rebellion (Lies) (2010, digital single)
This guy might be just the latest in a succession of young folk singers to appear upon the scene, but at times he rivals some of his more experienced and highly revered peers. Here he covers a track by one of his biggest influences, Arcade Fire. Speaking of which...

4. Arcade Fire Guns Of Brixton (2008, recorded live backstage at Brixton Academy for the BBC's Culture Show.)
Whether or not you see the recent rioting in English cities as the disaffected voicing its anger and frustration, or a just as a bunch of yobs on the rampage with absolutely nothing meaningful to say (I'm firmly in the latter camp), this classic song has no doubt been cited by some as the soundtrack to the unrest. Here, Arcade Fire replace the Clash's original punk-reggae vibe and turn it into a haunting air which revolves heavily around the band's folk roots. See it here.

5. Al Wilson Lodi (1969, single)
Al Wilson's best known songs are Show & Tell and The Snake, but he also had hits with two covers of Creedence tracks, this one and Born On The Bayou. The original version of Lodi appeared as the b-side of Bad Moon Rising, a version of which by the Blue Aeroplanes appeared on the last all-covers podcast.

6. Snuff Rivers Of Babylon (1997, Potatoes And Melons At Wholesale Prices Direct To You The Public)
Harder and heavier than the Toy Dolls, but no less funny, London's Snuff can list a ridiculous array of hilarious covers amongst their canon. Here, their blend of calypso, reggae and hardcore punk is entirely in keeping with their daft antics while retaining an air of familiarity with the song. The Melodians' original, the lyrics of which are lifted from Psalm 137:1, dates from 1970 and became popular through the classic 1972 reggae movie The Harder They Come. However, it was Boney M who made it a worldwide hit in 1978 and it is their version that has become most fondly remembered.

7. Jessica Lea Mayfield Lounge Act (2011, SPiN presents: Newermind - A Tribute Album)
There's a load of stuff coming out to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's commercial breakthrough album Nevermind. As well as a deluxe edition of the album (which seems to be the norm for every record that's 10, 20, 21, 25, 30 years old right now), there are also numerous tributes. Reggae legend Little Roy has done an album of Nirvana covers (and from the bits I've heard, a rather splendid effort it is too). There's also a FREE album released by Spin magazine featuring artists covering the tracks from that seminal grunge classic of 1991. On it, the precocious talent that is Jessica Lea Mayfield tackles Lounge Act, transforming a raging guitar-fuelled menace into a sweetly dark country ballad.

8. Kitchens of Distinction White Horses (1994, b-side of Now It's Time To Say Goodbye)
One of the great crimes of the late 80s/early 90s was Kitchens of Distinction not achieving the commercial success they so richly deserved. Perhaps it was because they were lumped in with the craply-named 'shoegazing' scene by the music press, which immediately got them labelled as miserable middle-class students with floppy fringes. They weren't. White Horses was a German TV show which anyone who grew up in the 1960s will probably have fond memories of. Its theme tune remains one of the best TV themes ever and the Kitchens do a more than admirable take on it.

9. Manic Street Preachers Stay With Me (1994, b-side of She Is Suffering)
Arguably, the quintessential rock 'n' roll song. Listening to the Manics' first album it was difficult not to actually hear Rod, Ronnie and the boys in at least half of the songs, so this cover really isn't all that surprising.  It never featured on the covers disc of their b-sides compilation which makes it quite rare these days.

10. Cud Bohemian Rhapsody (1990, Alvin Lives (In Leeds) - Anti-Poll Tax Trax)
It may be one of the world's most famous songs, but only the brave dare cover it. Many have tried, with varying degrees of success: The Flaming Lips, Pink, Elaine Paige, Rolf Harris, Weird Al Yankovic, even the Muppets have all had a go. Yorkshire's legendary indie combo Cud, who also made notable versions of the Kinks' Lola, Status Quo's Down Down and Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing, don't so much cover 'BoRhap' as shred it, mix up the pieces and reconstruct it with bits of BluTac. Another rarity too, its only release being on an obscure benefit album.


  1. Did you already take the link for that down, Robster? That would be a real shame as I'd very much like to download it ...

    1. Works fine for me Dirk. Have another try. If still no joy, I'll up a new link for you.

  2. Strange, this evening it works perfectly well ... thanks anyway!