Monday, April 03, 2006

A Handful Of Covers

Last week was my birthday - 42 ripe, old years. My lovely wife and daughters gave me the latest Blondie collection, Greatest Hits:Sound And Vision which has a DVD with the band's videos on it - a lot of fun to watch! They also hooked me up with Pirate Radio - Pretenders 1979-2005, pictured above. It is 4 CDs worth of absolutely classic tunes - hits, misses, b-sides, oddities and live stuff along with a DVD of killer live performances and some great Top Of The Pops appearances. I am a huge fan of Chrissie Hynde and the various incarnations of the Pretenders that she's had over the years. I have been waiting patiently for years for Warner Brothers to remaster/expand/reissue the old records. The old LPs are a bit scratchy, and the older CDs are "quiet" ones. That hasn't happened yet, so this is the next best thing. I watched the DVD first, and loved it. I'm pretty sure that I saw a few of those TOTP performances when they were originally on, and it gave me a real rush of nostalgia to see them again. The music is wonderful of course, full of great hooks, memorable lines ("but not me baby, I'm too precious, f@#k off!") and the (to me) tremendous sexiness of Chrissie's voice and her rock 'n' roll stage persona. She is one of my all time fave rock babes - her smoulder makes me quiver, as does that quiver in her voice. The Pretenders were always a good cover band too, notable for doing songs by her ex-husband Ray Davies as well as Jimi Hendrix. Then we have these...

Every Day Is Like Sunday - a Morrissey original given the "twangy" treatment - lots of slide guitar and some strings.

Creep (Live) - the Radiohead classic. Chrissie kills me with it - it's cool to hear those words coming from her.

The Needle And The Damage Done - Neil Young given the Pretenders touch - tough and gritty and hard rocking.

Windows Of The World (Original Mix) - a dreamy version of the old Bacharach/David chestnut. I have always been floored by this song's lush melodicism, and to hear this take for the first time was one of those goose pimple moments for me.

All in all it's a thumbs up from me for the box. There are some memorable photos in the booklet, and a cool poster by S. Clay Wilson. The DVD is the clincher - if you're a fan you will want to see some of the old performances, especially the ones with the original lineup!

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