Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Two For Tuesday: I've Got You Covered


I wouldn't call myself a fan of Juliana Hatfield. Something about her voice has always given me the twitch. But she charmed the hell out of me with her collection of Olivia Newton-John songs. Then, I got right off the bus with her collection of Police songs, which I did not think worked at all. Now, she tackles the work of Jeff Lynne, a long time hero of mine on "Juliana Hatfield Sings ELO" and I am loving a lot of it.

Many complain about the kitchen sink production on ELO records, even though that is sort of the point. I never minded it, except on "Out Of The Blue," where many brilliant pop tunes just soak in layers and layers of strings and percussion and high squeal background vocals. So hearing "Sweet Is The Night" open up the Hatfield set stripped to a quartet really tickled me. Lynne's gorgeous melody sounds even better with so much less behind it. 





I felt the same about "Don't Bring Me Down." Yes, the drums are iconic on the original, but Hatfield and her band slow it down just a bit, cleaned it up a bit, and now, those chugging guitars give it a swampy groove that just killed me. Most of the record killed me, just because I love the songs so much. 

In other news, I can't say I've followed Shooter Jennings career by any stretch of the imagination. I do know he is the son of an outlaw, and for a brief time was a Soprano-in-law, after spending many years with Drea De Matteo. But I did go into his new live album "Shooter Jennings & The Werewolves Of L.A. Do Zevon" expecting an unhinged live set featuring covers that would be as raucous as the man the band was paying tribute to. Man, did I get it wrong? 

This is one bland record. I felt like I was in an Atlantic City casino lobby. The band couldn't play it any straighter and that's disappointing. I know Jennings began his career playing some hybrid of hard rock and country and according to All Music, he's dabbled in Euro Dance and hip hop. I would have taken a Euro Dance/Hip Hop hybrid of Zevon covers over this pointless exercise. 

Here is one more from Juliana, so we go out on a high note.


Anonymous said...

I like the ELO songs too. And the biggest part of me says I like the Hatfield covers. But a small part of me starts thinking Shelley Fabares.

Been listening to Looking For the Magic 3-CD power pop comp. Haven't checked out Shooter Jennings album yet. His pop sure was something. Must have seen him 75 times between the Palomino and the Crazy Horse. High, Low & Inbetween.


kevin m said...

We saw Juliana Hatfield open up for Jesse Malin at City Winery about 10 years ago and she was horrible. Haven't thought of her since.

Anonymous said...

Just streamed the needle on each song on Shooter's live. It's worse than bland. I don't know shit about the guy but I guess I don't like him. Completely lifeless in performance and production. It pisses me off cuz those are some of my favorite Zevon songs. Really, what's the point? Thumbs way down.


Sal Nunziato said...

"Completely lifeless in performance and production"

Yes exactly.

That Cherry Red power pop has an oddball tracklist.
Television "See No Evil?"
"We Gotta Get You A Woman?"
Jonathan Richman?

This is power pop??

Anonymous said...

It is now.

It's like glam. Loose definition.


Anonymous said...

When I think of power-pop the first thing that comes to mind is Blue Oyster Cult :)


Shriner said...

Julitana Haftield has long been a favorite in the Shriner household. Live she can be hit-and-miss as she's not the most engaging performer due to her public admission of her depression-related issues, but she's an excellent and creative guitarist/songwriter. Her albums range from "excellent" to "good" to "meh" -- usually in that cycle and then it starts over again.

The Olivia and ELO albums work because of the source material were ripe for the picking. The Police one didn't for the same reason.

Michael Giltz said...

I saw that power pop compilation and even not being a power pop aficionado, I thought WTF? In no universe are Television and MC5 power pop. They're not even pop! No definition can be THAT loose.

I've heard Lynne considers A New World Record (an album title so bad it's good) and Out Of The Blue his two peaks, so I was wondering what you disliked about the latter. Good to know and I'll look forward to her covers. My block about getting into ELO has always been the vocals; I resisted them because they always lacked a warmth or humanness in the way they were recorded, at least for me. But those two albums (esp New World but also the over-loaded OOTB) finally cracked the code for me.

steve simels said...

Great minds think alike today, Sal😎

Jimbo said...

I gave her Police and Olivia covers a whirl and I have to say I'll give it a miss thanks, she totally destroys the Police songs. Her ELO covers is passable but not for me.