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Askew Review 15

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Cover Your Ass
Ben Hunter

 There’s really nothing like a good cover song.  I can be miserably watching the most God-awful, shitass band and suddenly feel elation if they kick into something familiar yet with their own upbeat spin on things.  While a song must have at least a little something to make it likeable to begin with before it’s covered, the cover-ors, if you will, really have to do something to then make that song uniquely their own. It’s putting your own twist on the song that is really the key part.  Think about it: Who, besides brain-dead dipshits who enjoy whoopin’ it up on weekends to their favorite Top 40 cover bands, actually enjoys covers that add nothing to the original?  That’s why I think Me First and the Gimme Gimmes totally rule.  Yeah, they generally put the SAME spin on most of their covers, but they do it so goddamn well that the lack of variety doesn’t bother me a bit.  Because I’m a nerd who likes lists (and because I’m completely bored off my ass at the moment), I’ve put together a tally of my all-time favorite covers.  I’ll probably remember something I forgot and want to alter this list 5 minutes after I send it to Denis, but here’s what I came up with after a quick perusal of my records, tapes and CDs.  A few bands show up more than once, but it’s my damn list so I can put whatever I want on it.  I’ve put the original artist in parenthesis for anybody who likes that kind of thing.  I seem to have a disproportionate amount of TV themes in there, and I’m sure that means there’s even more wrong with me than I actually realize. 

#20- The Cramps- “Psychotic Reaction” (Count Five)
#19- Nick Cave & Shane MacGowan- “Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong)
#18- The Lemonheads- “Mrs. Robinson” (Simon & Garfunkel)
#17- The Dickies- “Banana Splits” (Theme from the TV show)
#16- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes- “Leavin’ On a Jet Plane” (Peter, Paul & Mary)
#15- The Pretenders- “Stop Your Sobbing” (Kinks)
#14- Dead Kennedys- “I Fought The Law” (Bobby Fuller Four)
#13- Husker Du- “Love Is All Around” (Theme from Mary Tyler Moore Show)
#12- The Dickies- “Gigantor” (Theme from the TV show)
#11- The Jam- “Batman” (Theme from the TV show) 
#10- English Beat- “Tears of a Clown” (Smokey Robinson)
#09- Stiff Little Fingers- “Doesn’t Make It Alright” (Specials)
#08- The Clash- “I Fought The Law” (Bobby Fuller Four)
#07- 7 Seconds- “99 Red Balloons” (Nena)
#06- Ramones- “California Sun” (Rivieras)
#05- Nirvana- “Son of a Gun” (Vaselines)
#04- Lemonheads “Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now (Patience and Prudence)
#03- The Specials- “A Message To You Rudy” (Dandy Livingstone)
#02- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes- “Over the Rainbow” (Judy Garland)
#01- Ramones- “Do You Wanna Dance” (Bobby Freeman, then The Beach Boys)

And what the hell- here’s a list of my 5 favorite covers I did while in my band, The Medveds.  Listen Mouseketeers, I’d love to hear Me First do any or all of these songs justice on their next release, so get your pencils and paper out and drop them a little note encouraging them to try their hand at these gems. Hey, while you’re at it, draw a stick figure of yourself and highlight where it would make you feel dirty if they touched you there. 

#05- “I Walk The Line” (Johnny Cash)
#04- “Welcome Back Kotter” (John Sebastian)
#03- “Georgy Girl” (The Seekers)
#02- “Bonanza!” (Johnny Cash)
#01- “Let Me Be” (The Turtles)

That’s I’ll I gots.  And to leave you with one of my favorite phrases originally uttered by the guy from Splodgenessabounds, “Thank you, goodnight, fuck off.” 



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