Friday, December 15, 2023

La Fin De La Semaine Essay Question: Special "You Know, Mary Travers Really Could Have Had Me If She'd Played Her Cards Right" Edition

From a suburban North Jersey living room sometime in the early 70s, as captured on a primitive home two-track stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder, please enjoy The Weasels -- featuring some Zal Yanovsky-wannabe whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels on electric guitar -- and their quite lovely version of Tom Rush's folkie classic "No Regrets."

And I should add that the piquant lead vocal is by friend of PowerPop Jai Guru Dave. Take a bow, Dave.

Rush, BTW, was one of my favorite of that generation of folkies, and we should note that he was also pretty much the first of them to go, as they used to quaintly say, electric (on the wonderful 1966 album Take a Little Walk with Me, where he covered the likes of Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley(!), with the help of notable musicians including Al Kooper. It's still in print, and you should hie thee over to Amazon and snag a copy HERE immediately.

But now to business. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) traditional or contemporary folk song as re-interpreted by a rock solo artist or group is...?


Meanwhile -- have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Steve Schwartz]


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

i heard tom rush sing this at an outdoor venue in the early to mid 70s in the boston/cambridge area - as i recall it was him on acoustic and someone else on electric - someone in the audience sobbed all through this song

as for folk song cover favorites - and these preferences go back to my teens/early 20s

lovin' spoonful - sportin' life
traffic - john barleycorn
byrds - turn turn turn

Tinpot said...

Bryan Ferry: "Carrickfergus" an old Irish folk song. Beautiful.
Anais Mitchell did a whole album of Child Ballads, which is gorgeous. Does she count as a rock artist?

M_Sharp said...

The Move - The Last Thing On My Mind

Porter & Dolly do a fine version, too:

Anonymous said...

Have been listening to some Fairport Convention recently and Matty Groves and their rendition of Matty Groves really hit home with all the murdering and whatnot.


steve simels said...

Matty Groves was gonna be my pick, too.

Alzo said...

'Knoxville Girl' is usually given the somber treatment, but the Lemonheads amped it up nicely.

'Whiskey in the Jar' is an interesting case, as done by Thin Lizzy and Metallica...
Phil Lynott's vocal is just right, but James Hatfield's somehow just isn't.

pete said...

My late mother-in-law Cynthia Gooding did a great version of Matty Groves. And, yes, Traffic's arrangement of John Barleycorn has lasted in my book for decades. While I'm reminiscing here I'll say that I saw Tom Rush in 1967, where he did songs by a then-unknown Joni Mitchell, definitively. Also, I opened for him in Atlanta mid-'70s and saw him handle (which is to say turn down) a frankly horny fan-girl with the most class and sympathy imaginable.

But to your subject: I nominate "O! Susanna" by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. I also love his arrangement of Don Gibson's "O Lonesome Me," which may or may not be a "folk song."

Roger said...

Does "Sloop John B" count?

steve simels said...

Roger — yes.😎

cthulhu said...

Love Son House’s Death Letter Blues as interpreted by the White Stripes on their second album.
I saw Pete Townshend in a solo acoustic set just after John Lee Hooker died, and Pete did a version of St. James Infirmary Blues in tribute.
(I’m counting both of those because they came out of the American folk tradition into the blues tradition.)
And yes, Traffic’s take on John Barleycorn, and the Fairport Convention take on Matty Groves are both fabulous.

M_Sharp said...

Johnny Cash - Frankie & Johnny

Anonymous said...

Dark Eyed Sailor by Steeleye Span would top my list. rs

salhepatica said...

"How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live," the Del-Lords version.

Anonymous said...

House of the Rising Sun as done by the Animals is a contender.

Tinpot said...

Steve, noticeable lack of upvotes for your Mary Travers comment. Kids today! YOUNG MT was incredibly hot.