Monday, February 8, 2010

Currenty listening to- Patti Smith's 2007 CD Twelve

Patti Smith's 2007 CD Twelve is a collection of covers, featuring unique interpretations of songs originally recorded by well known artists. Covers albums don't usually work for me, but this is one of the better ones.

Patti Smith brings her unique interpretative style to these songs and extracts new meaning and pathos from many of the songs. There is a moving version of Neil Young's "Helpless" and she inhabits Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit" with power and energy. The song crackles and screams with mandolins and banjos, played by actor and playwright Sam Shepherd and his son. An awesome performance.

There are covers of songs by famous bands The Beatles "Within Without You" and the Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter" and then there are the left of centre covers- Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble" and Tears for Fears "Everybody wants to rule the World".

But the highlight of this CD is her version of Bob Dylan's "Changing of the Guards". Smith strips the song back focusing on the poetry of Dylan's words. She recites the lyrics over a haunting and rolling sound featuring bass, guitar, percussion and keyboards. Patti Smith brings to life in a new way the power of Dylan's lyrics and music. This is a hypnotic and atmospheric performance, worth the price of the CD. I have written before of the ways that female singers bring Dylan's songs to life in anew way and this is another example.

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