Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Covers Wars: Volume Two

During my retail days, I discovered this Joni cover on a Jason Falkner, import maxi single. It truly blew my mind...but not until the second verse onward. My initial reaction to the tempo and the power chords was, "There is no way Jason Falkner can pull this off." When it was over, I declared it one of my favorite covers of all time and proceeded to play the crap out of it at the shop. I received hateful glares from the purists and squeals of delight from the power pop contingent that would frequent my store.

What thrills me about Jason Falkner's take, isn't so much the basic irony of, "Let's rock up a folk song." It's how each verse builds, adding a harmony here and a harmony there. Then, he raises the ante by upping the octave on the third verse, while adding even more unique harnonies. By the end, it's as if he has surprised himself at what he pulled off,  so much so, he can't contain his excitement on the coda and just exclaims a series of joyful anythings.

This isn't a war between cover versions. It's more of a battle between yays and nays.

I love this alot.

You might hate it alot.

Just listen to it all before you decide one way or another.


David Handelman said...

I just Googled and there are `187 versions out there.From Bing Crosby and Claudine Longet to Mabel Mercer and Herbie Hancock. I guess that makes it a standard.

whattawino said...

Please put me in the "I love this a lot" camp... and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Never heard that before...I love it! That HAD to be fun in the recording studio doing that number like that.

Hearing the distorted power chords and the changes just re-inforces how solidly built this song is. Put aside whether you think the lyrics are great or sappy (great, imo), but the way the melody climbs ansd swoops over the changes , and the way the words FIT right into those's a perfect song.

Compare & contrast with Tierney Sutton's jazz version with cello:

I'm a sucker for pure voices like hers.


Troy said...

That is fantastic!

Anonymous said...


Got to say that was pretty good. Might be the song to get me through the Trump years. Falkner's "Beatles at Bedtime" got me through the "why is he/she still up" baby/toddler years. Guy is a superb talent.

Michael D.

Shriner said...

His covers are pretty decent -- his rework of "Photograph" is pretty power-poppy, too! Most of his other covers are pretty straight renditions, though.

Any time Falkner's name comes up it always reminds me to spin "Princessa" -- probably my favorite track by him. Or maybe "Eloquence"...or I could go on and awn.

Anonymous said...

don't hate it, but it doesn't do anything for me. I don't know if it's Falkner's deadpan voice or the breakneck speed that lacks the wistfulness of the Judy Collins version I'm used to.

Anonymous said...

Rich D: You like pure voices? Try this

Been trying to get people to pay attention to this guy without much luck so far.
His original stuff is amazing too.

Dr Wu said...

What has two thumbs and is digging this cover? THIS GUY!
Sidenote: Many thanks for introducing me to Jason Falkner and Brendan Benson. Two of my absolute favorite artists. Just one instance, of many, why your site is a touchstone for music lovers across the globe. And beyond.

Dayn McBee said...

Great song! Thanks for enlightening me!!

M_Sharp said...

Excellent cover, but I immediately wanted to hear a Ramones version! Johnny probably would have shot it down, even for "Acid Eaters", but Joey could have done it on his solo album.

Anonymous said...

This is great! Nice job Jason. Reminds me of the Dickies cover of Nights In White Satin.

Michael Giltz said...

Forgive my innocence, but other than some lunatic purist, why would most people react with horror at a cover of a Joni Mitchell song? Even if they didn't think it was as good as the original, I mean, so what? I guess I don't appreciate how weirdly rigid people can be.

And dear god, what an awesome cover. Totally fun!

I love what the prickly Joni said to an interviewer who wondered if Joni agreed that "River" had become a holiday cliche and maybe people should give it a rest. The reviewer thought she was complimenting the greatness of Joni's original and how most/none of the covers measured up and including the song on a holiday album was a hipster badge of coolness that others didn't deserve. Joni testily replied that a song being covered by a lot of other artists is called a standard and that was once considered a good thing!

stewrat said...

i'm on the good side for this treat - now I need to find it! Cheers

Guillermo Soler said...

Great song. Excellent cover. Makes me wanna hear more Jason Falkner which, I have to admit, I do not know much about.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Hey, Anonymous....very nice recommendation on that Australian kid. That's pure singing. And it takes some stones to cover "First Time..."

Thanks for the tip


buzzbabyjesus said...

I still like the Davey Graham version I shared in a comment a day or two ago much better than either Jason's version, or Joni's original.

Here it is again:

tinpot said...

so glad you liked it. I trust you're checking out his other stuff; stones in abundance.
BUT, he's from New Zealand, just currently based in Oz for professional convenience. He's part of the Lyttelton scene along with Aldous Harding, the Eastern, Tiny Ruins, etc. Rather remarkable for a tiny town of under 3,000 people.
PS. not sure why I was anonymous last time: probably technical incompetence.