Friday, January 13, 2017

It's Covers Week (Part V): Special Make America Grape Again! Edition

From 2002, please enjoy Robert Plant and his lovely (if less intense than the original) cover of the Moby Grape/Skip Spence stunner "Skip's Song."

I should add that technically this should be called "Seeing," as it was named when it originally appeared on the Grape's amazing Moby Grape 69 album; the song was retitled in the '90s when it appeared in demo form on Sony's Grape box set.

Here is what it sounded like when given the full Grape treatment; I think it's one of the greatest rock-and-roll records ever made, but as Chuck Barris used to say, what do I know -- I like cold toilet sets. In any event, Skip Spence was a goddamned genius, and good for Robert Plant for recognizing that.

Have a great weekend, everybody.


Billy B said...

Love solo Plant. My man had a hell of a lot to do with Zep's sound. He also can do a hell of a cover tune. On to Moby Grape - I can't believe that bunch didn't make it big. A real shame as they could rock like a mammerjammer.

Unknown said...

Both versions are great. I can't stand Plant with LZ but on his own I've enjoyed him. Solo he doesn't try signing like his voice is a second guitar. Page (hammer) & Plant (yammer)!

Was Skip on the Grape version or were the other four Grapes doing it without him after he left?

Captain Al

Anonymous said...

Re: Allan's comment
I think on the version posted, Skip sings lead on the verses. The lead voice on the chorus - and a key part of what makes the track great, IMHO - is that of the Grape's bass player Bob Mosley, who belongs, again IMHO, on a short list of the greatest rock singers EVER. From what I understand, Plant is a pretty big Moby Grape fan and I think Mosley's singing style was a bit of an influence on him. If you don't believe me, check out a slow, bluesy track called "Never" from "Grape Jam", the bonus LP that was appended to their second album "WOW". Right around 3:50 mark in the track, the way Mosley intones "Can't you hear me baby/I'm cryin'", it's hard not think of Plant.

J. Lag

Mark said...

I had completely forgotten how great a song SEEING is. And is there a bad Moby grape album?

Apart from the first, I'm partial to TRULY FINE CITIZEN, and in its expanded 2007 Sundaze version, you can hear (at Spotify) the demo version of SKIP'S SONG. Within the past year, a friend brought to my attention (read "sent me") a Moby Grape album, LEGENDARY GRAPE, that was initially released in 1989 (and is NOT on Spotify), which apparently was put together from songs written by band members, but damn! It's one fine album. More conventional as a rock album than all other Grape albums, and frankly, it took me a while to believe it was a real Moby Grape album, principally because I don't recall its initial release or a later re-release, but it is worth digging it up.

steve simels said...

J. Lag -- Zep wasn't just influenced by the Grape's NEVER, they totally ripped it off.

Anonymous said...

Two "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards. Nice way to end the week. I dunno why many think Moby Grape was ignored. They were pretty big 1967-1969 and were a headline act. The first two LP's performed very well on the charts, especially considering the stuff they were up against. In California they were huge. I musta seen 'em around ten times during that period, both high and low.

First time I saw them they opened for Hendrix and were fantastic. The debut album had been out only a couple of months. My cousin from Modesto tipped me on the band before the album was released. The Grape, like Santana, were big in California long before their debut records. They were also extremely cute. Seriously, one of the best looking bands ever. A plus for my teenage lust.

I remember them cancelling quite a few shows in SoCal, which was kinda frustrating. They were supposed to open for the Jimmy Page Yardbirds with a slew of other bands, including Beefheart, but they cancelled. They kinda camped out in SoCal for a few weeks around Easter 1968, when they had the Teenage Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium. They headlined over Spirit at the beach and over The Youngbloods at the Kaleidoscope. This was when those blue tabs of acid were ubiquitous. My favorite LSD of all time. Perfect Goldilocks dose made you smile from ear to ear and dance in telepathic, fully-connected wonderment. Don't ever recall them doing "Skip's Song" live though.

But there is this amazing version from South By Southwest with Skip's son Omar on vox. Watch or die.


steve simels said...

Vicki -- I've seen other clips of Omar before, but that live SEEING is just astounding. Thanks for posting the link.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Percy did one of the best tracks on "More Oar", too. "Little Hands".