The votes are in and we can say the mandate from last week’s Cover Wars belongs to…….Grateful Dead.
This week’s edition features a song so fantastic that dudes in many bands have no problem whatsoever citing the opening lyrics, “I am an old woman named after my mother”. Three-chord songs really are a thing of beauty. Wikipedia tells me that, Songwriter Harlan Howard once said “All you need to write a country song is three chords and the Truth.”
That’s all that original performerJohn Prine has here, and it is most certainly was an instant classic. Let’s take a look at a few renditions after the jump.
Bonnie Raitt: I’ll admit it, things are a little fast and loose over here at Hidden Track. Cheating may occur. Perhaps there is a serious advantage here because this live version actually includes the original artist. Raitt originally covered the tune on her fourth album titled Streetlights.
Video of Bonnie performing the tune with an all-star cast:
Dave Matthews Band: I don’t know about you, but I consider myself a pretty serious setlist geek. If you’re into that sort of thing and are remotely interested in the history of Dave Matthews Band, you gotta check out antsmarching.org ; It is on that site that I learned that this song is the second most covered song by DMB, behind only All Along The Watchtower. However, this classic has not graced a live stage in over 6 years. I have selected a very old recording, the second ever known performance of the tune.
Hot Buttered Rum: Don’t let the crowd noise at the beginning of this track make you skip it, because it is a great rendition once it gets going and the crowd quiets down. The only time performed by these guys, they welcome Millicent Cummings to the stage to contribute both guitar and vocals. I dig the volume control for the 3rd verse.
Keller Williams: This is one of the earliest known Keller Williams shows (Well, one of the earliest with a setlist on kellerwilliams.net). Whether you like his looping shtick, his performances with full bands or none of the above, there is little to argue about his pure talent as a singer and guitar player. I recommend checking out the whole show for some early raw Keller.
Max Creek: Wow, 2 weeks in a row someone is in Cover Wars? That must be some kind of record (4th edition). While doing the research for these Cover Wars pieces, Mac Creek shows up a LOT because they have been around for so freaking long and have covered a lot of songs. I believe we’ve got the keyboardist Mark Mercier holding down the lead vocals duties on this take.
Strangefolk: What I love about Strangefolk is that they took this tune and made it their own. Man, I’m starting to sound like the judges from America’s Best Dance Crew…no I don’t watch that show. Anyway, from the opening intro it just sounds like Strangefolk. I love these old shows before Reid Genauer split for graduate school.
Susan Tedeschi: Ahh yes, another rendition where the narration makes a bit more sense, at least in the terms of the gender you know…Pretty soulful stuff right here especially when the ‘Sugaree’ portion kicks in. Derek Trucks you are a lucky man.
Some video with Susan and Sonya Kitchell:
Tea Leaf Green: Only time played, coming at you from a Radio Broadcast last year. This version features Tea Leaf Green sans drummer and with Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth on the fiddle.
So that’s all we got for this one. Now, it’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want covering Angel From Montgomery? I’m DaveO and I approve this message.