So I was looking for a cover of 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' by a proggy trio from the Netherlands that I'd seen at around the time I featured Danni Green's version, and I found this live recording from 1989, by a bona fide hitmaking pop group from the era, Hue and Cry from Scotland. It's soulful, though I don't like the sound of the piano much.
This could well be the earliest cover with a male singer, so these guys were breaking new ground.
While we're on the subject of fucked up covers, this industrial version of 'Experiment IV' by Seven Graylands actually sounds like the sound that could kill someone from a distance. The barking/growling, a-melodious vocals appear to be cut and pasted together and all the instrumental sounds are harsh and edgy. A huge change from Kate's more rounded, understated original.
Compared to yesterday's entry, it's pretty tame, but on the Kate Bush cover spectrum, this is still pretty out there. Background information can be found here, where it confirms that the vocals are indeed cut and pasted together from five or six tracks of takes.
Now this is a lot more interesting! The intro of Danni Green's version of 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' suggests that it is about to explode into a light techno version, perhaps similar to Opus III's cover of King Crimson's 'I Talk To The Wind' (which I haven't heard in ages, by the way, so the comparison may be completely off) but it instead develops into a pure pop version, mixing electronics, including a moderate level of Autotune, with the original symphonic arrangement. Along the way, it manages to surprise pretty much constantly.
On YouTube, about 1/3 of the people who bothered to rate this, didn't like this at all, probably because the vocals are clearly Autotuned, so you can't tell if Danni Green can actually sing or not. I'm not bothered by this at all - the unashamedly plastic pop approach sets this apart from the pack, and it works as what it is.
It's "Army Dreamers" again! This is what, the fourth version that I've featured? Plus at least one artist who was featured previously has done this song as well. I'm really surprised by that.
From an EP released in 2010, Mary Dillon puts in an outstanding vocal performance, with what is otherwise another straight reading of the song, without major changes to the arrangement. I don't think there's that much you can do with this song, which is what makes it so surprising that so many people are covering it.
I thought I had already featured this version of "Running Up That Hill" by American Darkwave/Gothic duo Faith and The Muse, because the name rang a bell. But apparently not. I like the drum parts on this one; other than that it's not that distinctive.
Our first song from The Red Shoes is a techno version of "And So Is Love" by Dutch group (not actually an individual as is implied by the "Mr. A Balladeer" designation on YouTube) A Balladeer. I was actually familiar with them; I have exactly one song from a Plato sampler collection on my iPod. Perhaps it's time to check them out some more, as I rather like this one.
With the techno beat, electronic instruments and the change from female to male lead vocals (there are some female backing vocals by Charlie Dée), A Balladeer have definitely put their own stamp on it, but strangely, nothing feels like a radical change. It's close to the original tempo, just subdivided differently, and more importantly, the original's atonal chord progression is preserved. As a result, this is a highly individual version that does not stomp all over the feel of the song as originally intended.
This cover version was released as a single just two months before the release of The Director's Cut, which also contains a new version of this song. For the purpose of this blog series, covers of songs that appear on The Director's Cut will be tagged as covers of songs from The Sensual World or The Red Shoes if they came out before the release of The Director's Cut on May 16. If they came out after The Director's Cut, they will still be tagged as coming from those earlier albums unless they are clearly influenced by the Director's Cut versions. I have now heard previews of several songs and some of them are reinterpreted drastically enough to have the difference reflected in any cover versions - and good enough to have covers made of them! Which is a relief, to be honest.
It's... a transatlantic collaboration over the internet, performed live before the camera. And it's really good. That's pretty much all you need to know. Well, that and that the duo have a whole playlist of Kate Bush covers they did together. At the end of each video, the guitar part is repeated without the vocals and with the fingerings clearly visible, for those wanting to learn the parts.
So far, I've avoided songs from tribute albums, because I figured that would be cheating in some way. But in my new quest to avoid live solo renditions, this jazzy gangsta-rap arrangement, originally featured on the 1998 tribute album I Wanna Be Kate was too good to pass up. While this isn't really my bag, it's an original spin on the song and that's what interests me right now.
Video is a live performance from the release party.
The video for this, featuring clips of Kate Bush dancing from her music videos, was created by YouTube member vibesinthesky, who says s/he found the audio on the Internet and doesn't know who made it. If someone can ID the remix artist, I'd be very grateful.
Obviously, this uses Kate's original vocals and sampled instrumental parts from the original recording, which is on 'The Dreaming', arguably the second-best work of music ever created. So does it count as a cover version? It probably does as it was not authorised or commissioned by the original artist and isn't on any of her albums. But who cares? What matters more is that this is about as far from a solo acoustic cover you can get. It's also about as far from any moody/scary approach that you can get, and considering that the original is essentially a heavy metal piece*), turning it into something as joyous and lightweight as this is as much of a new spin as I've heard and seen so far. I'd like to hear more like this, please.
*) Yes, I know. Just imagine what it would sound like if it did have distorted guitar plastered on it. Jimmy Bain's already on it, all you'd need to do is invite Vivian Campbell to do a session, is all I'm saying.
Patrick Wolf has done several Kate Bush covers over the years, but the ones that I could find until today were all solo live recordings made from the audience, and aside from the fact that I'm getting a bit sick of live solo recordings, they also had poor sound quality. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this studio version with additional musicians. Patrick Wolf's reading is grimmer, angrier and just individual enough to stand out, without subverting the song. I'd like to hear more like this, please.
I'll hear more of this, because there's a free download. And it's from a compilation that is for a good cause, but the website for that is down at the moment.