Music cover and re-cover


I’ve often mused on musical covers by the same artist. This would be a re-cover in the parlance of the Coverville podcast, which I listen to regularly.

The post was initiated by a 2021 video of a lawyer talking about Taylor Swift rerecording her early albums issued under her original contract. The attorney wondered if the public would purchase the songs again; from the last time I checked the Billboard album charts, three of the ten albums were “Taylor’s version.”

I should compare the old songs with the new ones, but I’m not a Swifty and would feel inadequate to point out the differences in the recordings. (However, I’m quite amused and bemused by the MAGA disdain for her.)

Conversely, I could discuss some of the variations among the records of Frank Sinatra on different labels long before Taylor. A good example would be Snatra’s Sinatra.

“Ten of the album’s twelve tracks are re-recorded versions of songs that Sinatra had previously released, with ‘Pocketful of Miracles’ and ‘Call Me Irresponsible’ being first-time recordings for Sinatra.

“Sinatra’s two previous record labels, Columbia Records and Capitol Records had both successfully issued collections of Sinatra’s hits; this album was the attempt of his new label, Reprise Records, to duplicate this success by offering some earlier songs in stereophonic sound, which by 1963 was an exploding recording technology.” You should be able to hear that album in its entirety here; then, you can tool around and find earlier iterations.


The Beatles had different versions of Get Back and Let It Be, from the single to the album version. Both Get Back and Medicated Goo by Traffic have singles that come to a dead stop – I still own the 45s – while the album cuts do not. Get Back: LP and single. Medicated Goo album cut; I can’t find the single.

I also considered remakes such as Fame and Fame ’90 by David Bowie, Think and Think ’89 by Aretha Franklin, and a supposedly improved version of John Hiatt’s Have A Little Faith In Me. In each case, I prefer the original. However, I have an odd affection for the Trans version by Neil Young of Mr. Soul compared with the Buffalo Springfield take.

In Paul Simon’s In The Blue Light, he re-covers ten of his songs that he thought were previously overlooked. One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor: original (There Goes Rhymin’ Simon) and remake.

My favorite: Crying – the original is by Roy Orbison, the re-cover by Orbison and k.d. lang.

Egregious sins exist on remakes of some compilation albums. I have a Herman’s Hermans greatest hits collection that is all redos; Peter Noone is singing them, but it ain’t the same. Likewise, I have a 4-CD set of soul songs, with the only originals by deceased artists. These are very disappointing.

Licensing rights are often the issue. Rhino put out The Ray Charles Anthology, with 17 songs from his ABC/Paramount period and three live versions of songs he first recorded when he was on Atlantic Records.

Live versions versus studio albums? A whole ‘nother conversation. I tend to like the studio versions, though the live performance of I’m So Glad on Goodbye Cream shreds the studio track from Fresh Cream.

That said, I needed to do much more compare and contrast, scouring YouTube to do the topic justice; frankly, it was too daunting.

O Canada Day music

Take Off

It’s Canada Day, and so I need some Canada Day music. And there’s a LOT of it. I came across this list of the Best Canadian Musicians: 25 Icons From The Great White North.

I’m eliminating anyone whose music I don’t own, which is not a knock on the artists. I don’t have any albums by Shawn Mendes, Drake,  Ron Sexsmith, Blue Rodeo, Justin Bieber, Feist, Bryan Adams, Rush, or Rufus Wainwright (though I have music by each of his parents). And I was not familiar with Broken Social Scene, Joel Plaskett, or Al Tuck.

I do have Bob & Doug McKenzie with Geddy Lee from Rush doing Take Off.

That leaves:

Diana Krall. My wife and I have seen her live, though not simultaneously. Maybe a quarter century ago, I caught her open for Tony Bennett at Tanglewood. We have about a dozen and a half of her albums.  She is one of my wife’s K girls, along with Alison Krauss. Popsicle Toes

Daniel Lanois. I LOVE his album Acadie. Of course, I have several albums he’s produced for others, including U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, the Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, and Bob Dylan. The Maker

Gordon Lightfoot. I have a couple of his LPs. But this is the first song of his I ever heard. If You Could Read My Mind

Cowboy Junkies.  I’ve opted for the last song on The Trinity Session. Walkin’ After Midnight

Arcade Fire. I have two of their CDs, which I’ve been playing every July 1 since. No Cars Go

The Guess Who. I have three of their LPs, plus the greatest hits on CD.  The last song on the original GH. Hang On To Your Life with that ending from Psalm 22

Kathryn Dawn

k.d. lang. I have a LOT of her music, from her country roots to her more MOR material. She is one of the reasons I don’t organize my music by genre. Season Of Hollow Soul 

The Tragically Hip. Road Apples is an album I play on July 1. Twist My Arm

Bruce Cockburn. I bought several used albums from my roomie Mark in the 1980s.  I’ve already written about The Trouble With Normal. Lovers In A Dangerous Time

The Band. I loved the second (brown) album back in high school and then got all of their studio albums. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

Joni Mitchell. I’ve seen Joni twice, in 1974 in Saratoga Springs, NY, and in 1981 in Philadelphia. I bought her early albums on CD in 2022. People’s Parties/The Same Situation

Leonard Cohen. I had one LP years ago. I have songs of his covered by Judy Collins, Jennifer Warnes, and others, but in the past thirty years, I’ve come to appreciate him as a teller of his own tales. If you get a chance, see the 2022 movie about him. Almost Like The Blues

Neil Young. I have scads of Neil Young, from Buffalo Springfield to CSNY to at least 20 solo albums; here is the list from 2010, and I’ve gotten some since then. Mr. Soul from Trans, because why not?

“I would eventually know everything”

Joni Mitchell and Joe Rogan

World Almanac 2016Once upon a time, as I’m sure I’ve told you, I thought that, if I kept learning, I would eventually know everything I wanted to know. I read the local newspaper and watched the local and national news, first Huntley/Brinkley on NBC, then Cronkite on CBS.

Mostly, I read reference books. A lot. The Encyclopedia Americana, which my parents bought and probably couldn’t afford, I devoured over maybe three years. There was also an annual, updating the information.

Also, from about when I was nine, and for more than a half-century, I would receive the World Almanac for Christmas, and I would read it. Early on, it was cover to cover, but even after I’d largely mastered the tallest mountains, longest rivers, and whatnot, I would read the Year In Review material of the most important stories. It was largely November to October, actually, for its publishing deadline, but it would always capture the Presidential and Congressional elections.

Of course, information exploded. Three TV networks became 373. They keep discovering more moons in the solar system, and more elements for the Periodic Table. Of course, the Internet. The World Almanac used to have a list of Celebrities and I knew who most of them were. If there’s such a list now, I have no idea how they would limit it.

Joe and Joni

All of this to say that, until a couple of months ago, I had no idea who Joe Rogan was. My daughter tells me that she has been listening to lots of podcasts to understand different points of view. This is like when I would read William F. Buckley or watch George Will on TV. So SHE knew who Joe Rogan was and, in fact, says she recommended him to me – this is possible. But she says I said, and this sounds accurate, that I didn’t have time for more podcasts.

NOW I know who he is. Recently, my daughter asked me if I knew who Joni Mitchell is. Oh dear, I have failed this child. I told her that I’d seen her twice in person and bought four of her CDs in 2021. Obviously, she brought her up over Neil Young (who she also doesn’t know) wanting to be removed from Spotify because of the info about vaccines on Rogan’s platform, and Joni following suit.


One of the interesting things I learned about Amy Schneider, 40-time JEOPARDY champion, is that she has a younger partner, which is how she knows more current popular culture references.

I’m fascinated how she missed her last Final. COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD: The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous. One of my friends deduced, “I thought about what might precede ‘h’ and could only think of ‘s’. From there, my brain ambled over to Asia and found Bangladesh.”

My process was more mundane. I mentally traveled around the globe for the most populous countries, besides the US (#3). Mexico (#10), Brazil (#6), Nigeria (#7), Indonesia (#4), Japan (actually #11 because of a declining population), China (#1), India (#2). Oh, what’s near India? Pakistan (#5). And Bangladesh (#8). (I forgot Russia, #9.)

I have to conclude that Amy did NOT read the World Almanac every year. But she learned a LOT of other info, mostly of recent vintage, that my brain just doesn’t absorb.

Musician Nils Lofgren is turning 70

E Street Band and Crazy Horse

Nils LofgrenNils Lofgren is quite possibly a musician you’ve never of, even though he’s in the Rock and Hall of Fame. He’s the epitome of the working musician.

“Along with his work as a solo artist, he has been a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band since 1984, a member of Crazy Horse, and founder/frontman of the band Grin.”

He appears on a number of albums that I own. With Neil Young, that would be After the Gold Rush (1970), Tonight’s the Night (1975), Trans (1982), and Unplugged (February 1993). For Bruce, that would include Live/1975-85 (1986), Tunnel of Love (1987), The Rising (2002), Magic (2007), Working on a Dream (2009), Wrecking Ball (2012), and High Hopes (2014).

But he never became a “star.” He was a two-time member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. “In December 2018 PBS NewsHour aired a 10-minute career retrospective Nils Lofgren: 50 Years of ‘just being a guy in the band.’”


After his group Grin “failed to hit the big time, and were released by their record company,” he recorded some solo albums. I have exactly one of them.

His eponymous first solo album “was critically praised at the time of its release, most notably in a 1975 Rolling Stone review by Jon Landau. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said it was a ‘tour de force of unquenchable vitality and disarming subtlety.’

“In 2007, nearly 32 years after the release of Nils Lofgren, the album was again praised by Rolling Stone in the ‘Fricke’s Picks’ column, where David Fricke said it was one of 1975’s best albums. The album was on the Billboard 200 chart for nine weeks and peaked at number 141 on May 10, 1975.” #141.

When I was working at FantaCo, running the mail order, some guy at Rykodisc would send me free music. I believe that this album was one of them, although it was re-released in 1990, according to the Wikipedia article, and I left FantaCo in 1988.

Cry Tough (1976) got to #32, I Came To Dance (1977) to #36, Night after Night (1977 live double albums) to #44.

“With mainstream success continuing to elude Lofgren, A and M brought in Bob Ezrin in 1979, to oversee Nils. Ezrin was known for his successes with Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, and Kiss. Lofgren: ‘The label said they wanted to bring in co-writers, and I said that I didn’t do that. Ezrin said, ‘What about Lou Reed?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, okay. That would be cool.'” The album reached #54, and he never had another album crack the Top 100 except Night Fades Away (#99 in 1981).

Commercial success isn’t everything

In 2014, he as part of the E Street Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Known for backing Bruce Springsteen in his storied performances, the E Street Band is a gang of musicians bursting with skill, soul, and endurance.”

The Springsteen page notes. “In 1984, following the departure of Steven Van Zandt, Lofgren joined the E Street Band just prior to the launch of the enormous, globetrotting Born in the U.S.A. tour. Throughout the 156-date monster Lofgren became known not only for his scorching guitar work but his gift for stage-worthy acrobatics and theatrics — which makes sense, as in high school Lofgren had been a competitive gymnast.

“Lofgren kept up both roles for the Tunnel of Love Express tour in 1988… And when the E Street Band reconvened in 1999, Springsteen diplomatically answered the question of which guitarist would be brought back into the fold by including both Van Zandt and Lofgren.”

Check out his website. Also this article: Nils Lofgren talks ‘Bonus Tracks,’ Neil Young, Keith Richards and Rolling Stones near miss.” And this one: Nils Lofgren On Playing With Bruce Springsteen And Neil Young, 52 Years On The Road And More.


When You Dance, I Can Really Love – Neil Young
Back It Up 
If I Say It, It’s So 
Keith, Don’t Go (Ode to the Glimmer Twin)
Valentine – Nils Lofgren & Bruce Springsteen

You should go to Youtube and search Nils Lofgren Bruce Springsteen or Nils Lofgren Neil Young. Oodles of good stuff.

Nils Lofgren turns 70 on June 21.

November rambling #3: The American In Me

A time-honored American political tradition: disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination

Australia cut off food and water at an offshore detention camp; asylum seekers there more determined than ever to find freedom

Meet the Teenagers Who Started a Film Production Studio in Their Refugee Camp

Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses and Doctors Leaving London

From the November 26 lectionary: Matthew 25:44-45 (NIV): They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work

The recent tide of apologies by famous men have been ‘awful’

Right-wing troll James O’Keefe fails badly at baiting Washington Post with rape lie

Fear of a Black Princess: Britain’s Royal Racial Problem

Bringing an XX perspective to an XY world of movies

What Latino Film Critics Are Saying About Pixar’s ‘Coco’

I’ve seen a variation of this more than once on Facebook: “If we’re being technical here, Charles Manson isn’t actually a serial killer and never killed anyone that we know of.” I think this is pedantic; encouraging others to kill made him legally culpable

How evidence once thought destroyed helped free a man after 39 years behind bars for murder he didn’t commit

NYT responds to readers’ accusations of normalizing a Nazi sympathizer

Fear of crackdown haunts daily life of undocumented immigrants

Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know Now and Without it in Portugal, mobile internet is bundled like a cable package

Thomas Brunell’s appointment “signals an effort by the administration to politicize” the decennial survey

Supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination

Supporter Says He’d Trust Trump Before Jesus Christ

He Now Says That Wasn’t Him on Access Hollywood Tape

Schroedinger’s Tax Hike

In the Land of Vendettas That Go On Forever

Why the rise of the robots won’t mean the end of work

NOW YOU CAN ENJOY GLUTEN FREE VERSIONS OF FAMOUS ART – As gluten-free options are on the rise in trendy circles, someone had the bright idea to go back into classical art and make it gluten-free too

David Brickman’s Italy photos

#Marie Severin is a Comic-Con Icon Award Recipient

#The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour at 50: The Rise and Fall of a Groundbreaking Variety Show

a few thoughts on bathroom signage

This New York Times Website Comment Is the Single Best Comment of the Year

These Aren’t the Tootsie Rolls You’re Looking For

Lessons from the Worst Food Hack of 2017

The strategically planned implosion of the Georgia Dome, captured by The Weather Channel


The Passenger (Randall Thompson) – Chris Trombley, baritone; Todd Sisley, piano

Simple Gifts (excerpt) – Aaron Copeland

Suite from JFK – John Williams

The American In Me – The Avengers

Abraham, Martin and John – Dion

In My Life – Jose Feliciano and Jools Holland

Obsession – OK Go

R. Stevie Moore

Hero and Leander by Victor Herbert

The True History Of The Traveling Wilburys

Neil Young Launching Online Music Archives December 1

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