Monday, November 15, 2010

Compare and Contrast: An Acuff-Rose is a Rose is a Rose

From 1955, it's Queen of Country Kitty Wells and the original hit version of the sublime "Making Believe."

From 1977, it's the preternaturally beautiful Emmylou Harris and her heartbreakingly pure remake of same.

And finally from 1993, here's former hardcore SoCal punks Social Distortion with a slightly less rarefied but no less heartfelt recreation.

I've been mildly obsessed with "Making Believe" for the last few days, and I'm not sure why. I do know, however, that said obsession ultimately dates back to an afternoon (sometime in the mid 90s) when I wandered into NYCD, the lamented worlds-greatest-indie-record-store hosted by our pal (and current proprietor of Burning Wood) Sal Nunziato at a moment when the Social Distortion version was blasting on the store stereo. I half-remembered the song from my childhood, of course, but having never heard SD (and singer Mike Ness's surprisingly expressive adenoidal vocal stylings) before, nor even imagined that the song could be played in such a bracing and unexpected way, I had something of an epiphany on the spot.

Anyway, it's as great a country song as has ever been written (in this case, by the amusingly monikered Jimmy Work); I suspect that it's all but impossible to perform it badly.


Sal Nunziato said...

I had this whole story to relate until I realized it was about Mike Watt.

(Thanks for the mention. I'm still lamenting.)

TMink said...

I think all stories that are not about d boone are about Mike Watt. But then that is just me.

We moved back into our post flood home this weekend, which was great! I am putting the boxed records in their storage rack, and found some interesting things. I have WAY more joan Armatrading than I thought I did or need.

When did I buy all that Dylan? No complaints, but I forgot about them. I never knew Al DiMeola made that many records, much less that I had them. And finally, I have three vinyl copies of Born To Run. I may need another. 8)


Billy B said...

Unfortunately, I can't watch Kitty or Emmylou at work, but I really like the SD version of the tune (I have the CD at home).

Surprising how well that disc holds up 17 years later.

steves said...

I had pretty low expectations, but I loved that Social Distortion cover. (And goddamn! That Emmylou was one fine-looking woman!)

steve simels said...

She still is. But my god, her younger incarnation is almost more than I can contemplate.

Noam Sane said...

Of course, there's a great Merle Haggard version as well. Love it.

Speaking of Mike Watt, what's up with his new record - with Nels Cline and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto I mean, how could that record be bad? Anybody heard it?

TMink said...

Indeed, she still is. I saw her recently around town and, wow. And she does not have that plastic beauty, she looks like a beautiful woman who is older.

Elvis Costello had a joke. "Emmylou Harris called me up and asked me if I could help her with Sleepless Nights. I said I had been waiting for the chance since 1975."


Seven Years of College Down the Drain said...

Emmylou on the cover of 1976's Elite Hotel still weakens me in the knees. But I do agree with the commenters who admire her deeper beauty now. Ever since she pushed her hair silver (which was pretty early, like the mid-1980s or so), I just can't speak intelligently for a minute or so upon seeing her.