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Cover Versions

Johnny J 08 Apr 18 - 06:39 PM
Johnny J 08 Apr 18 - 06:42 PM
meself 08 Apr 18 - 08:04 PM
Tattie Bogle 08 Apr 18 - 08:07 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 18 - 12:05 AM
michaelr 09 Apr 18 - 01:31 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Apr 18 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 09 Apr 18 - 05:59 AM
Johnny J 09 Apr 18 - 06:10 AM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 10:25 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Apr 18 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Captain Swing 09 Apr 18 - 10:45 AM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Observer 09 Apr 18 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Boot Leg 09 Apr 18 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Bootleg 09 Apr 18 - 12:49 PM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Boot Leg 09 Apr 18 - 12:55 PM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 01:05 PM
Jeri 09 Apr 18 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,LynnH 09 Apr 18 - 01:34 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Apr 18 - 02:15 PM
BobKnight 09 Apr 18 - 05:40 PM
Tattie Bogle 09 Apr 18 - 05:53 PM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 07:06 PM
Andy7 09 Apr 18 - 07:53 PM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 08:53 PM
Joe_F 09 Apr 18 - 09:52 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Apr 18 - 10:04 PM
Joe Offer 09 Apr 18 - 10:52 PM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 11:44 PM
meself 09 Apr 18 - 11:46 PM
GUEST,Boot Leg 10 Apr 18 - 01:48 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 10 Apr 18 - 03:03 AM
Johnny J 10 Apr 18 - 05:48 AM
leeneia 10 Apr 18 - 12:21 PM
GUEST 10 Apr 18 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,paperback 10 Apr 18 - 02:00 PM
gillymor 10 Apr 18 - 02:12 PM
meself 10 Apr 18 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Boot Leg 10 Apr 18 - 10:08 PM
Allan Conn 12 Apr 18 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 12 Apr 18 - 10:27 AM
meself 12 Apr 18 - 04:01 PM
Andy7 12 Apr 18 - 05:10 PM
rich-joy 12 Apr 18 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,paperback 12 Apr 18 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 13 Apr 18 - 02:11 AM
punkfolkrocker 13 Apr 18 - 04:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Apr 18 - 04:35 AM
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Subject: Cover Versions
From: Johnny J
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 06:39 PM

Just been watching excerpts from Celtic Connections on BBC Alba where a young female band stated their next number would be a "Cover".

Personally, I've never considered "covers" to be folk or trad music speak. Generally, even when musicians and singers perform or record a song or tune by a known composer, we (or at least I do) usually think of their versions as interpretations rather than mere covers.

I've noticed such talk is "creeping in" a lot more these days and may have much to do with the increasing number of singer songwriters who have been latching on to the folk scene.
For me, there is a difference between musicians and singers who have a grounding and background in a particular genre of music and compose new material as opposed to those for whom "Singer/songwriting" seems to be a genre in it's own right.

Certainly, I wouldn't refer to performances of traditional songs and tunes as "covers" . Likewise, those songs and tunes by known living musicians which have already passed into the tradition or have become firm favourites.

Any thoughts on this?


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Johnny J
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 06:42 PM

Oops. "its own right" Predictive text to blame.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 08:04 PM

I'm with you, man. I've heard that a few times lately. It's bad enough in pop music - you seem to diminish your own performance by calling it a 'cover', and it conveys to me a sense that you don't really have that much respect for the song itself: it's merely something to be 'covered'.

But what can you do? Young adults now do not remember a time when 'cover', 'self-titled', etc., did not exist as music-industry terms, so .......


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 08:07 PM

I would think of "covers" as being the sort of thing that tribute bands do, where they try to sound exactly like the original band, down to the last riff and ornament, and even the vocalist(s) sounding the same.
There is a saying among folk musicians, "make a song your own", i.e. Interpret it in your own way (subject to any copyright considerations, of course, if you are planning on recording it or performing it publicly). Having said that, I am not too keen on those versions that stray too far from the original, e.g. chopping up the song with funky rhythms, changing the timing or basic melody, or just "over-arranging".


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 12:05 AM

Yeah, I'd say that the word "cover" is anathema in folk music. The term "cover" comes from the era of commercial music. We sing "songs," not "covers."
And our songs belong to all humankind, not to somebody that holds a copyright.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: michaelr
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 01:31 AM

The term "cover" does not apply to songs with no known author, IMO.

That said, there have been a number of excellent recordings made that celebrate the works of beloved songwriters, such as Love Gets Strange: The Songs of John Hiatt, several Richard Thompson tribute CDs, and Shawn Colvin's Cover Girl and Uncovered, which feature songs by Sting, Waits, Dylan and many more.

While the purist may feel that it's not possible for anyone's "cover" to surpass the original, I have heard many surprising and creative interpretations of well-known songs on those and other records. And however one may feel about Leonard Cohen's overused "Hallelujah", it would be hard to ignore the brilliance of Rufus Wainwright's version.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 03:38 AM

If the original was written and recorded in living memory the word 'cover' is perfectly valid. If it is a traditional song, using the word 'cover' is simply showing their ignorance.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 05:59 AM

'Such talk' is indeed creeping in from all corners. A while ago I saw someone referring to Bobby Casey and Paddy Canny as 'some of the biggest names in the industry'.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Johnny J
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 06:10 AM

To be fair, I've not really known the term to be used in respect of truly(depending on how you define it)traditional music or songs.

However, we never really used the term in our circles when referring to songs(or tunes)written by others either.

I don't recall anyone in a folk club even saying "I'd like to do a Bob Dylan cover". Mind you, his music seemed to encourage more "clones" than any other back in the day. However, most of the time, it was the song itself which was the important thing with singers and musicians usually interpreting it in their own way as opposed to slavishly trying to copy the original.

Having said that, we've all gone through phases of trying to emulate some of our favourite musicians' playing styles and so on. However, we don't necessarily try to imitate every singer or musician on each and every song.

As TB suggests, I think of a cover as being an attempt to either copy the original or to try and sound as close to it as possible. Also, it's an attempt to "cash in", in many cases... I believe the term originated during the days when sheet music sales predominated where you might get several artists recording, performing..i.e. "covering" a particular song. It was also very common in the fifties and early sixties where almost every American "hit" used to be covered in The UK. Most of Marty Wilde's records, for instance, were cover versions.

Of course, I'm maybe just making a fuss and being a bit pedantic about the use of the term but I don't really think of "folkies"(in the broad term) and trad musicians who play and sing music in clubs, pubs, or at festival camp fires as performing "covers".


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 10:25 AM

There are two different issues getting conflated here: 1) inappropriate use of the term 'cover'; and, 2) 'doing covers', i.e., performing a song previously recorded by someone else.

No one is saying that there is anything wrong with performing a song previously recorded by someone else, i.e., 'doing a cover', whether a slavish imitation or a new interpretation. The question has to do with the use of the word 'cover' in the folk/trad. context.

I think what is bringing it into the folk/trad. context is (younger) performers having learned trad. songs/tunes from recordings, so automatically talking (and thinking?) about them the same way they do anything else they learn from recordings.

Btw, I am surprised by the notion that the term 'cover' goes back to the days of sheet music popularity. I'm sure I didn't hear the term till about twenty years ago.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 10:43 AM

Maybe the performer means they're going to 'screw up' the song, as in the meaning of 'cover' in getting a stallion to 'cover' a mare. :)


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 10:45 AM

I could well be wrong here but I thought the term 'cover' came about in the late 50s to early 60s when pop songs were usually written by professional writers hand given to producers who would suggest them for recording for singers eg, Cilla Black, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey etc. So it was not unusual ( no pun intended) if the song had crossed the Atlantic say for the same song to be in the charts performed by different artistes. Sandie Shaw and Dion Warwick both covered "Always Something There To Remind Me" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for example and were rivals with it in the charts.

I understood the term to be related to recorded material, especially where there was a rival element. Simply singing another person's song wasn't regarded as 'covering' it. I don't remember Manfred Mann being referred to as singing Dylan covers.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 11:20 AM

Just did a little Googling - apparently, the earliest example of this use of 'cover' is from 1965. As I say, it seems to me I only started hearing it twenty years ago or so (or thirty ... or forty - how am I supposed to know?). I'm curious as to when the rest of you starting hearing/reading it?


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 11:38 AM

the earliest example of this use of 'cover' is from 1965.

So around the time when any failed wannabe pop-star singer/songwriter was automatically granted status as a folk singer by default. Perhaps that why we hear so much 60s crap in folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Boot Leg
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 12:44 PM

Lol... I'm a non-native speaker of English from the other side of the Earth, and I've been using the word cover all my life.

I've always been thinking that, unless you write the song yourself, you're singing a cover. Even if you recorded the song first, you're doing a cover of the songwriter as long as he could sing.

Now you folks are telling me the word "cover" is inappropriate to use. Darn! My world is completely destroyed..


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Bootleg
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 12:49 PM

i.e. I thought everyone from Pete Seeger to Lady Gaga have been singing Woody Guthrie covers.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 12:50 PM

Well, you at least have an excuse - being a non-native speaker .....


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Boot Leg
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 12:55 PM

I uploaded a hell lot of "cover" songs on YouTube, mostly folk.

I'm seriously thinking about taking that word down from the video titles. Heck.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 01:05 PM

You know, 99.9% of people don't care. A few of us do - and we're dying off. We would rather not see that word in your video titles - if you think our opinions matter, go ahead and make the changes. Otherwise, ....... (shrug).......


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 01:15 PM

"Cover" doesn't work with traditional music. Who are you "covering" when you don't know the author? Some songwriters, such as Woody Guthrie, have written songs that so many people sing, that the gap between "traditional" and "singer-songwriter" is perilously thin. I'm OK with calling it a "cover" if the person didn't write it, and the song is somewhat well-known.

But then, you have Joni covering that Judy Collins song "Clouds", and Warren Zevon covering Linda Ronstadt's "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me". It's just another word to get misused and misunderstood.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 01:34 PM

I find it hard to consider June Tabor and The Oyster Band's interpretation of Joy Division's "Love will tear us apart" a 'cover'.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 02:15 PM

Traditionally folkies tend to talk too much on stage between songs anyway...
dropping a word as superfluous as 'cover' would at least be one word less
and a step in the right direction
to reduce the length of song introductions....

Though I suppose the longer the rambling introductions,
the fewer songs need to be memorised for a live performance set...???


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: BobKnight
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 05:40 PM

I'm with "Punkfolkrocker" less blab and more songs. Some folkies just love the sound of their own voice. Get on with it!!


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 05:53 PM

Er, Jeri, I'm confused: I thought Joni Mitchell wrote that "Clouds" song ("Both Sides Now")tho' apparently Judy Collins recorded it first............. so who was covering whom?


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 07:06 PM

I think that's the point ... !


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Andy7
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 07:53 PM

I might try introducing a cover of someone else's "rambling introductions" to my set!


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 08:53 PM

If I tell a joke that I stole from another performer, am I 'covering' that joke?


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 09:52 PM

The very idea of needing a technical term for the deviant act of singing someone else's song!

"Incidentally, the new song [= singer-songwriter] movement has so completely taken over the remains of the folk scene that I recently heard a friend say of someone who, like myself, is best known for interpreting material written by others, 'Oh, she only does "covers"!' I had a sudden vision of a CD titled _Pavarotti Covers Puccini_. Suffice it to say, Louis Armstrong did not do 'covers' nor did Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, or Aretha Franklin. While none of these people were primarily songwriters, their interpretations were a hell of a lot more original than a lot of the 'original' being written on the current scene. Any music worth its salt depends as much on great interpreters as on great composers. What is more, in the absence of interpreters, songs will never be sung by anyone other than their composers, and I cannot imagine why anyone would wish that kind of planned obsolescence on their work." -- Dave Van Ronk, _The Mayor of MacDougal Street_, <2005


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 10:04 PM

The great singers and songs of the past make the word 'covers' meaningless..
the songs they sang and interpreted with their own individuality were 'Standards"


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 10:52 PM

I do think I've heard talk of Joni Mitchell and other songwriters doing "covers" of their own songs. Carole King and Willie Nelson wrote scads of songs for other performers, and then recorded those same songs years later - were those "covers"?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 11:44 PM

Not to you and me - but to most people in the modern world: yup.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 11:46 PM

'Cause let's face it: if there's one thing most people care even less about than music - it's language.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Boot Leg
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 01:48 AM

I have even been using the term "traditional cover" if the song's origin is unknown, like The Parting Glass. I'd use titles like this: "Liam Clancy - The Parting Glass (Traditional Cover)". Is that also very inappropriate?

Joe - even for us non-native speakers, we would not think those songs as "covers". On the contrary, we would think of the "other performers" who did the song first as doing "covers", even if they were the first to do the song. We'd use titles like "Keith Whitley - When You Say Nothing at All (Don Schlitz Cover)". That's the definition of a "cover" to us young, non-native speaking people..


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 03:03 AM

Huh, well I guess I don't have much of an excuse, been speaking English, American and Conchy all me life. Easy as nailing sand to a tree.

It was a mean spirited thing where I grew up. A covert recording was one on which the original artist(s) were not acknowledged by the major recording label/artist, royalties maybe. Think “race” record covers of the 50-60s. Don't recall hearing the term before then.

From there it morphed to any old “copy” or “version.” Covering a few “standards” was a, relatively, safe way for new artists to connect with LP album buyers, familiar fare as it were.

English isn't a language. It's three languages; standing on each others' shoulders; dressed in a trench coat.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 05:48 AM

Meself says...

" 'Cause let's face it: if there's one thing most people care even less about than music - it's language. "

Don't get me started. ;-)))

I find that much of what passes for the English language these days completely alien and irritating to me and certainly nothing like I learned in school.

It'll get even more so in the future... Oops, as we are "Going forward" I'm supposed to say these days! :-(((


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 12:21 PM

"We sing songs, not covers. And our songs belong to all humankind, not to somebody that holds a copyright."

Way to go, Joe Offer! I couldn't agree more.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 01:57 PM

I had a sudden vision of a CD titled _Pavarotti Covers Puccini_.
I think much the same when I see the term "cover version".


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 02:00 PM

'Going forward, I think is Zionist code-speak.

As far as language changing; it used to be the first rule of philology was: no man can change the language in his lifetime.

That rule does not apply anymore, much to the delight of the powers that be.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: gillymor
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 02:12 PM

I think many singer/songwriters would be well-advised to do more covers (or reinterpretations) of existing songs. It seems that even with the best of them the material can become pretty thin towards the back end of a CD.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 02:35 PM

But we're talking about use of the term 'cover' - not about 'doing covers'.

On the other hand: I think this thread has run its course .....

(Guest,Bootleg: to keep it simple - don't use 'cover' at all in relation to traditional folksong).


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Boot Leg
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 10:08 PM

I guess so!

By the way, there's a website called whosampled that really thinks Pavarotti covers Puccini: https://www.whosampled.com/cover/205568/Luciano-Pavarotti-Nessun-Dorma-Giacomo-Puccini-Nessun-Dorma/


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Allan Conn
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 03:36 AM

The term itself doesn't bother me so much but it does irk me when you sing an older or trad song and some folk expect it to be the same as a well known recorded version - and show their displeasure when it isn't. I just don't get. Like when you do Loch Lomond without the "On the bonnie bonnie banks" Runrig bit at the end. Plus it isn't always just the listeners.

I'd started singing Scarborough Fair at our informal pub session with a friend doing the guitar part. Another club member came right up next to us - whilst I was singing - and kept gesturing and asking "do you want me to do the Canticle bit?" When I got to a break in the song and could actually reply I said "if you don't mind I'd rather you didn't" to which he spent the rest of the performance looking at people in the audience, shrugging his shoulders, and saying "they don't want me to join in".

Speaking to him afterwards I explained that he'd have been better asking me after the song if we'd like him to do the Canticle bit next time - but I also tried to explain that we were doing our version of the song and didn't really want to co a copy of Simon & Garfunkle's version. I'm not sure he really understood that reasoning!!


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 10:27 AM

In pre-rock days, songs were king, if Bing Crosby recorded a Gershwin song, and then, later, Frank Sinatra recorded the same song, if anything, Frank's version would be considered a "cover" of the song, and not of a previous recorded version.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: meself
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 04:01 PM

Of course, there is no record of the term before 1965 ......


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Andy7
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 05:10 PM

Not true. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word 'cover' was already in use in the 12th century.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: rich-joy
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 07:33 PM

I had never come across the “cover” description outside of pop music, until the early 90s. I recall being rather miffed when the MC of a community concert in which my folk (a cappella harmony) trio were about to perform, said :
“Oh. You just do covers then - no originals?”
I realised later that night that we were the only performers on the bill who hadn’t written their own CRAP …. er, sorry, “their own music”.
If those hallowed “originals” were the standard to live down to, I thought, give me our interpretations of both Traditional and quality Contemporary compositions any day!

:) :) :)
R-J


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 11:35 PM

Re: standards, in the 2007 movie Blue State a man is driving to Canada and advertises for someone to share the ride. When it comes time for the rider to drive they say they can't drive a stick. The driver says, 'didn't you read the ad? I said the car had a standard transmission.

The '54 thousand $ question would be then, what's 'standard'?


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 13 Apr 18 - 02:11 AM

Seems everything has a wiki now:

Cover version:
“The term "cover" goes back decades when cover version originally described a rival version of a tune recorded to compete with the recently released (original) version. The Chicago Tribune described the term in 1952: "trade jargon meaning to record a tune that looks like a potential hit on someone else's label". Examples of records covered include Paul Williams' 1949 hit tune "The Hucklebuck" and Hank Williams' 1952 song "Jambalaya"”


Standard (music)
“...a musical composition of established popularity, considered part of the "standard repertoire" of one or several genres. Even though the standard repertoire of a given genre consists of a dynamic and partly subjective set of songs, these can be identified by having been performed or recorded by a variety of musical acts, often with different arrangements.”


fyi: Standard (automotive) is the base trim level for a given model regardless of which package is most popular (typ: ST through LX &c.) For most of the 20th century the base model was the cheaper manual trans and automatic cost extra.


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Apr 18 - 04:03 AM

Better Than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version

"Documentary which celebrates the role of the cover version in the pop canon
and investigates what it takes to reinvent someone else's song as a smash.
"


UK - 9 days left to watch...

[..and possible availability internationally by googling dodgy streaming/download sites...???]


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Subject: RE: Cover Versions
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Apr 18 - 04:35 AM

its basically the term cover that's being objected to - rather than the practice of choosing songs out of other peoples repertoire.

too weird...

do what you want. call it what you want. try not to despise other people for their approach to musical creativity, and what ever they choose to call it.

they're not beating up people and doing murders.


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