Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Album of the Week: Bettye LaVette - Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

Covers albums are a mixed bag: sometimes inordinately reverent, sometimes taking the song in a new and different direction that you almost forget the original. Bettye LaVette's Interpretations falls into the latter, and I'm not so sure that's always a good thing.

Being an Elton John fan, I immediately fast forwarded to her cover of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." While I liked her bluesy take on it, I'm so accustomed to Elton's nasal-y whine it was hard for me to get into it. Same for Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed." I wonder if there's such a thing as a song "too iconic to cover?"

Don't get me wrong, overwhelmingly Interpretations succeeds more than it fails. Mostly, I blame my own bias. I loved 2005's I've Got My Own Hell To Raise, another album of covers, but those skewed more modern (Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams) and less well-known. Not ones I've lip-synced in my bedroom for years.

(Stream it here .)

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