Is there really anything left to say about the Beatles? Given the covercontext, perhaps only this:
The Beatles canon is etched indelibly on the popular psyche. On one level, these are all folk songs, if only by their memetic virtue. Sooner or later they are played on every busker's corner. And every one of us smiles and sings, faintly, under our breath as they pass by.
And one reason the songbook sticks so well in the brainpan is how simple, how elegant, how open the pages are to interpretation. Chords, lyric, tone and timbre, their mutability in the hands of even a single genre is astounding.
I have almost as many folk covers of Beatles songs as I do covers of Dylan songs. Most are excellent. Today, I'll be using our first of what promises to be a very fruitful Covered In Folk series on the Fab Four to introduce a few deserving folksingers and coversources we just plain hadn't heard from yet. For some reason, today's songs all begin with the letter I.
- Sam Phillips, I Wanna Be Your Man
- Alison Krauss, I Will
- The Paperboys, I've Just Seen A Face
- Allison Crowe, In My Life
- Nellie McKay, If I Needed Someone
That last cut, at least, is from This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul. You need this record; happily, the folks who made it want to sell it to you.
The Sam Phillips cover is from a recent all-covers soundtrack to Crossing Jordan; the soundtrack is so amazing, it almost makes me wish we had television in my house. You'll be hearing more of this disk here over the next few years, but get it now, because CD Universe has it for under 8 bucks!
Now That I've Found You, a collection of Alison Krauss covers and B-sides, is available direct from the Rounder Records label; it's a great CD to start with if you don't own any of her work.
Songwriter and mistress of coversongs Allison Crowe beat out Johnny Cash, Ben Lee, Chantal Kreviazuk and Shawn Colvin covers of In My Life at the last minute. Buy or download all Crowe's albums via Rubenesque - her own label - and you'll know why this Canadian youngster is one to watch for the next half-century.
The Paperboys bring in da Canadian Celtic folk-rock via CD Baby so you can bring it on home. They do a great All Along The Watchtower, too.
Today's bonus coversong beginning with I: