Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Compare and Contrast: Special Music Minus One Edition

Okay, from the genuinely epochal Rain Dogs album, please enjoy the visionary Tom Waits and his absolutely astounding collision of Brill Building 60s r&b romanticism and 80s SoHo artsy primitivism -- "Downtown Train."





And from 1989, here's the hit cover by Rod Stewart that...

Oh fuck it. I just re-listened to that Stewart version, which is so appallingly bad on every level that there's no way I'd inflict it on you guys even in a sort of academic isn't-it-horrible lets-make-fun-of-80s-kitsch way.

Seriously, just a fucking inexcusably clueless bastardization of something sublime.

19 comments:

MJConroy said...

Ah, don't pick on Rod, he's apologized, see:
http://www.crystalair.com/content.php?id=18200806015

Hah! If only....

Sal Nunziato said...

Patty Smyth does a pretty okay version. NO really.

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

Great song! Waits rules! BTW - who's the lead guitar on it?

steve simels said...

Lead guitar is the great Marc Ribot. His stuff on the whole album is amazing...

steve simels said...

MJC:

That piece you linked to is hilarious.

"Rod Stewart Sings Songs He Heard on the Way to the Studio."
:-)

master cylinder said...

I always thought Rod's version was a sort of great
"poor man's" version for the uninformed masses.
Really.

steves said...

"Seriously, just a fucking inexcusably clueless bastardization of something sublime."

Doesn't that pretty much describe most of Stewart's post-Maggie May output?

(And remind me to tell you what happened in 1984 when he covered "Hungry Heart" at MSG.)

Noam Sane said...

I notice that Rod covers "Blue Moon" on his latest crapfest with special guest - Eric Clapton! At least his sense of humor is intact.

I actually downloaded it to check it out. It sucks.

Faces reunion in 2010? Maybe. The guy could use some redemption.

David said...

Hey Steve, what happened in 1984 when Rod Stewart covered "Hungry Garden" at the Heart? er, you know what i mean....

cthulhu said...

Marc Ribot is made of awesome. Saw him live playing lead for T Bone Burnett a couple of years ago; frickin' unbelievable.

steves said...

I'm glad you asked David...

As he was singing, the crowd, as is their wont, started chanting "Bruuuuuucce, Bruuuucccce." Midway through the song, Stewart threw down the mic and stormed off the stage in a huff. Apparently, he thought he was being booed. He came back about 10 minutes later, presumably after being assured it was nothing personal.

(Sadly, this remains one of my clearest concert memories, probably because I found it hysterical at the time. And still do.)

Edward said...

For a real compare and contrast watch Stewart's lame ass video and compare it to Waits hilarious but still beautiful video.

Yeah, Ribot Rules!

David said...

Not all that surprising that Rod the Mod is thin-skinned and petulant, but his little hissy fit sure added a lot to a lame cover version. While we're obliquely on the subject of Flo & Eddie, I saw them doing "Happy Together" on the Ed Sullivan Show the other night, and they have got to be one of the most unlikely duos to even temporarily be considered hip. I'll take their profane rants on The Mothers Live at the Fillmore East over just about anything in their catalog...although "You Showed Me" is pure heaven.

Michael B said...

Funny thing about the Stewart version is, the Gasoline Alley-era Rod could have sung the hell out of this song (if it had existed then, I mean). Can't you just hear what could've been?

jackd said...

Thank you, Sal, thank you. I was going to make a guilty confession of my affection for the Patty Smyth version (that's in addition to the original, not instead of!) and now I feel validated.

David said...

I bet Waits would do a mean cover of Patti's "The Warrior" --that wizened voice: "shootin' at the walls of heartache...bang bang.."

Walking Oliver Productions, Ltd said...

This is without a doubt the greatest album ever made. It's Number 1 on my Desert Island Discs. When it first came out I used to listen to it once a day for about the first year. Granted, I had a bit more free time then....
PK

When's the next bus to Oswego? said...

i'm with master cylinder in actually kinda liking rod's take on 'downtown train.' tom's is better, sure, but...

rod also does a nice version of 'tom traubert's blues' on his 'unplugged' album with ron wood, which is something of a live return to form. with good material, like ron sexsmith's 'secret heart,' he's still enjoyable, even his pipes aren't what they used to be.

merciful-lee said...

Hey, I'm late getting to this, but had to chime in nonetheless and note that Rod once caused me to leave my grocery cart in mid shopping spree to flee his spinal-decalcifyingly bad rendition of a Van Morrison song. He clubbed that poor tune like it was God's own baby seal. I think (adding insult to injury) it was "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" Isn't that ironic?