Mustang Sally (was Re: Pocono Blues Festival

Stan Erhart stan_erhart@pcworld.com
Wed Aug 6 13:07:01 EDT 2008


You know, "covering" tunes (or whatever we choose to call it) is a
tradition in jazz, and blues, and every type of music.  It's how musicians
developed the languages and continue to develop them.  We can try to define
when it's ok to cover a song and when it's not, but hopefully musicians
will continue to take their own path and do what they feel is best.  Some
will take a popular approach and appeal to one audience.  Others will take
a more innovative approach and risk being criticized for not playing in a
traditional way.  Some will take both approaches.  The greats typically get
criticized by both sides during their careers, but somehow find a way to
keep playing and eventually innovating if they're lucky.  Fortunately for
us.

Stan

    ----- Original Message -----

    From: Ron Weinstock [rbluesw@YAHOO.COM]
    Sent: 08/06/2008 12:17 PM AST
    To: BLUES-L@LISTS.NETSPACE.ORG
    Subject: Re: Mustang Sally (was Re: Pocono Blues Festival

I would be hard-pressed to call someone who interprets "Angel From
Montgomery," decades later as a cover version, although many use it for any
rendition of previously recorded material.  I do believe the original use
of the term came from singers such as Lavern Baker and Ruth Brown
complaining about contemporaneous copycat versions of their recordings that
had the affect of limiting their sales, particularly when the copycat
artists were white pop artists, although covers in this sense was not
simply restricted to whites copying blacks.  I believe Don Robey sued Sun
Records to stop Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat" as a copy of Big Mama's "Hound
Dog."

With respect to B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone," Dick you hit it on the
nail.  The original Ray Hawkins' recording was a great, doomy West Coast
Blues, whereas B.B. redid the melody and the arrangement to transform it
almost into a new tune, at least 15 years later. Again, the use of the term
cover does not strike me as appropriate.

Incidentally, the late Al King did a terrific song "The Thrill is Gone,"
which is a totally different number than the Hawks-B.B. one, using "The
Things I Used to Do" melody.


On Wed, 6 Aug 2008 12:16:14 -0400, Dick Waterman <jinxblues@aol.com> wrote:

> -----Original Message-----From: Scott Cable <scottcable@aol.com>
>
>To: BLUES-L@LISTS.NETSPACE.ORG
>Sent: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 10:36 am
>Subject: Re: Mustang Sally (was Re: Pocono Blues Festival
>
>
>>
> point taken...I know there are tons of great obscure covers.
>_________________________________
>
>
>Two points:
>
>Bonnie Raitt's version of "Angel From Montgomery" is totally different
from the song that John Prine wrote but artists subsequently have taken to
her version and that is the one that they cover.
>
>The other point is that B. B. King had kept "The Thrill is Gone" in his
memory for some number of years because he liked the song and wanted to re-
do it at some point. He changed the tempo somewhat and the producer added
strings to bring forth a song that was quite different from the original.
>
>
>
>Dick Waterman
>Oxford, MS
>www.dickwaterman.com
>
>
>

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