(BRIAN EDIT - These files are about to expire, and since this is the grandaddy of all my cover projects, I wanted to slide it up here, so hopefully it gets some more hits. If you haven't supped from this particular cup of madness, dig in!)
I was gonna do a big "greatest hits" covers post initially, maybe 50 to 75 songs....but this thing kept growing! I became obsessed...could I find every one? Well no, but I was hellbent on finding as many covers of BD songs as I could. Now you're curious to see the track list I bet. I'm taking a precaution with this post though - hence the "BD" used everywhere. Because...well... all these songs' titles belong to big SNY, I've put the tracklist on a text hosting page. Open it in a another page, and we'll come back and talk....
....Welcome back. Fuckin' nuts, right? That's why it's on a separate page...this steps on a whole bunch of music publishing rights! It's around 230 songs, about 16 1/2 hours of music, almost 2 GB! The idea boggles the mind, and it took me awhile, but I went for it! Damn near melted my iPhone doing it, though. Given the mammoth task, I gave myself a few guidelines...
1.) No song gets repeated. I know there's multiple great versions of many of the songs, but given the size of this I couldn't risk overlap. There are two accidental doubles, though. Richie's "Times/Changin", and PP&M's "Too Much" were forgotten in the shuffle, so delete those two if you wish.
2.) Artists get two or three songs... Except for a few who get 5. It's not to show preference to them, because I wanted absolute diversity, and not lean towards any particular artist, but they were useful in filling in songs that not many others had covered.
3.) I tried to stay away from famous versions (Byrds, PP&M, Jimi), but not the famous people. I just want to get away from the standard stuff everybody knows or owns. A lot of the people you expect to see are here, but not doing the songs you usually think of.
4.) I stayed away from the Chimes of Freedom Amnesty Intnl. box set. I honestly was underwhelmed by Chimes. There's a few names on there that should be nowhere near a BD song. (Go listen to Kesha's solo track from it....ugh). I guess that was part of the inspiration for this. And given the size of this monster, I think I outdid them. Musical richness and great performances were a key goal here, not marketing disguised as charity....
Try as I might, not every song of his is here. Because of the common words of some of the song titles (Tell Me or Poor Boy, for example), they were hard to search for. Every non-traditional album of BD's is represented up to the mid 2000s, even albums nobody listens to like Saved. And I didn't include versions of songs he'd done that were traditionals, cuz that would be a whole other post. Just BD-penned songs as far as I can tell. A few traditionals may have snuck in, but I consider them performances influenced by BD.
The keen-eyed among you may notice I also violated the rules in one spot - I put Bob doing a song. Simple: that version of Babe is an amazing reinvention, and one of my favorites, so nyah!
When it comes to the BD songs to look for, I referenced his main albums, the tracks that were unique to the Greatest Hits sets, the B00TLEG Series 1=3, some of the Witmark stuff, and the original Bsmnt Tapes album. There may be songs of his that aren't here, but I was hitting dead ends for the reasons I said earlier, and had to stop! Many of them are here though. Maybe they weren't all covered....
Everything was edited on my iTunes, so all are tagged, despite their disparate sources. The Artist name will just be "Various Artists", though each track will have the artist's name in the title. Though the titles of the files look clipped, when you upload them the whole file name will be there. And it's a point of pride of mine that only 2 of these are YouTube audio rips, and they sound stellar! Everything else is a 192-320 Kbps mp3 file. No .m4a or .aac tracks hiding in here, I promise.
And regarding the organization of songs: I had originally put them with the artist name first, but then realized that would make it harder to search for a song. So, it's alphabetical by song title. And the pile is divided up into ten volumes, each with its own art. It should be noted that the divisions were meant for the uploading limit (200 MB) - not a CD length - so the running time for each is at least 90 minutes, except for the last volume. And dividing them that way makes for some interesting listening. For example: J-M is largely quiet and contemplative, until RATM's track punches you in the face!
This isn't too compilation-heavy. Many of these come from an artist's proper albums, or BD-themed albums done by that person. Lesser-known tribute and themed albums out there were sampled, but I copied none of them over completely. As I said, no Chimes, and I only hit the 30th Anniversary Concert for Lou Reed's track. This is intentionally off the beaten path. And none of this intended to be funny in a Golden Throats kind of way. Even Sebastian Cabot's "Boots Of Spanish Leather" from his much-ridiculed spoken word BD album is actually really good! This is great music, not an attempt to gather a bunch of oddball versions together.
Guys...I thought I knew a lot about music, but I didn't know about 85% of these covers! And when it comes to BD's material, there's whole parts of the discography I was unfamiliar with - mainly the late 70's through the late 80's. And hearing versions of these lesser-heard songs done by others made me admire BD's words even more. There's plenty of known and unknown names here, but so many great versions! Some of the best covers are done by country or blues artists. That's fitting, since both those genres are where BD's musical soul comes from. But there's also different kinds of pop, R&B, jazz, and rock and roll represented here. And then there's whatever the hell that version of "Wiggle Wiggle" is. (Note: that's Gene Ween though!) These are intentionally diverse, so please don't be a snob or a purist with this stuff. It has its own flow... even just laid out alphabetically. Open yourself up to these songs, and BD shines through them, trust me!
Even a brief survey of highlights would be a hell of a list. Bonnie Raitt will crush your heart during "Standing In...". You'll want to smash a pint glass over some bloke's head during the Pogues' "When the Ship...". The applause will shock you at the end of Baez's angelic "With God..." Jack Downing's gorgeous "Queen Jane" makes me ache. Link Wray's "Baby Blue" will rock your ass. And then you'll have to surrender to the power of Laibach's "Ballad Of A Thin Man"! Jodi Jean & Aylon (a U.S. bossa nova/jazz vocal combo, of all things) deliver an unbelievably graceful "Simple Twist". Mick Taylor wrings every drop of blues out of "Blind Willie McTell". Neil Young's "Blowin" (from Weld) is a guitar apocalypse! Sheryl Crow's "Tombstone" has a well-honed but shambling electricity, like the original. Hanne Boel (a Scandinavian popstar) shows "Emotionally Yours" to be the great soul song it always was. D. Matthews' cover of "Watchtower" is astonishing! Bryan Ferry makes "Hard Rain" all his own. And I'm utterly smitten with Glen Campbell's "I Don't Believe You". Hell, even the much-maligned Great White do a full-bodied, rocking "Tangled...". And I'm glad I dug through all the versions of "I Shall Be Released" until I found Pearl Before Swine's take on it.
I could go on and on and on. I've been road-testing these for a week, and I love em! Hearing all these people - across many many styles - sing BD's music is just amazing. And nothing was arbitrary: all these songs got a listen, got checked against other versions, got a yay or a nay, and then put in the files.
I'm glad I've inspired some others to look for covers. You want some well-worn advice? Here's the sites I used...and don't edit or tag the MP3 file names until you put them on your computer. Trust me!
I could've almost done a complete other post with different versions, there were so many great
I'm a Level 3 out of 5 when it comes to being a BD fan. Not an obsessive, but I've got quite a bit. I've always tried to turn people on to his stuff, and it hasn't always worked. I made these for people who may not like him, to show them the rich diversity of the man's music. I also made this to appeal to BD fans by chasing down every damn track I could. If you are in either of those camps - or if you just like really good music - dig into these! I guarantee you, people, no one has ever put all this material together!!!
COMMENTS MOST WELCOME. Just don't use BD's name, OK?