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COVER VERSIONS - CHART HITS ALBUMS

When your dear old grannie used to wander down to Woolworths to buy her dear grandson/daughter a record, chances are she'd come back with one of these little gems - a feature of the UK record scene in the 70s, on which various sessions musicians would (try to) recreate the top hits of the moment. The covers invariably featured a scantily-clad young woman, which probably (for an adolescent lad) was the best bit of the package. Usually pretty dreadful versions, but occasionally a few of them weren't too bad. Old Reg Dwight (aka Sir Elton John), before he made it big, apparently played on a few of these shockers, but not I think any of these featured here.



Contents
  • A Strawb's Guilty Secret
  • Lay Down
  • Part Of The Union
  • Shine On Silver Sun
  • Pick Up The Pieces (Hudson Ford)

    A Strawb's guilty secret .....

    I have recently been contacted by a member of the Strawbs (who shall be nameless, though identifiable by his distinctive two tone hairstyle) as follows:

    "Hi Dick, I've just seen the web-site and I have a terrible secret to reveal. In the late 60's, I actually sang on some of those recordings myself. I don't remember too many details, but I do remember singing Gin House [Amen Corner's hit, I think - spooky connection - DG] on one or other of those compilations. It was like a conveyor belt, no re-takes, one track after another, all done and dusted in a couple of hours. Whether or not they were TOTP albums I can't remember, but I am guilty as charged. The only defence I have is that I was a poor, struggling, young musician. Nothing's changed. .... It's not so embarrassing 35 years later."

    So... those of us who frequent the bargain bins of old record shops, let's try and find some examples of DL's secret past.

    DICK

    Cover versions on chart hits albums

    "Lay Down", "Part Of The Union" x4, "Shine On Silver Sun", "Pick Up The Pieces" respectively

    When your dear old grannie used to wander down to Woolworths to buy her dear grandson/daughter a record for Christmas or a birthday, chances are she'd come back with one of these little gems - a feature of the UK record scene in the 70s, on which various sessions musicians would (try to) recreate the top hits of the moment. The covers invariably featured a scantily-clad young woman, which probably (for an adolescent lad) was the best bit of the package. Poor old dear, she thought she was doing the right thing, getting you a good selection of today's big hits! Sadly, she wasn't to know that they were usually pretty dreadful covers, though now and again one of them wasn't too bad. Old Reg Dwight (aka Sir Elton John), before he made it big, apparently played on a few of these shockers, but not I think any of these featured here.

  • Click on the speaker icons to hear each of these murdered Strawbs tracks on offer
  • Click on the cover images to see a larger cover

    Thanks to various folks who have passed on these valuable items to me, in order that they can be "experienced" by all.

    Any more examples, please let me know and I'll feature them on this page.


    Lay Down

    Starts out not too bad in terms of instrumentation, with a nice fuzz guitar, though no-one can really match Dave's vocal style and this guy sure ain't going to do it - he has a transatlantic twang, and audibly struggles to adopt a British accent on e,.g. "pastures new". The lyrics go a bit astray in the second verse ""in the road I had enough", and it soon transpires that the guitarist really hasn't got the Lambert chord sequence right at all. Oh dear.

    Part Of The Union - Take 1

    Not a bad effort, though a little bass drum-heavy. Starts out sounding as though it'll be a reasonable impersonation of John, but his Northern English "company" gives him away. The piano solo is hopelessly out of time with the backing (or vice versa - who knows)! Captures the essential feel of the song, though, particularly on the choruses. It was obviously considered good enough to make the Europe Edition.

    Part Of The Union - Take 2

    Probably the pick of the bunch, this version appears on two different compilations. The lead singer sounds a bit like Freddie (of the Dreamers) but it's a pretty faithful rendition.

    Shine On Silver Sun

    Not many saving graces to this I'm afraid: here the vocalist (I think it's the same guy as for Lay Down) is so far from a Cousins' soundalike as can be imagined. To add insult to injury, I know we sometimes struggle (in the absence of lyric sheets) to to ABSOLUTELY certain what Dave is singing, but this guy has got it so so wrong it's embarassing (see below, particularly the third verse which is just completely wrong).

    The bass is pretty Cronk-like, which is pretty much all that can be said for this turkey.

    Real lyrics

    Once I sat upon a hill
    To watch the world go by
    My friend the young magician
    Had forbidden me to cry
    But I was the comedian
    With the laughs in short supply.

    Shine on silver sun
    Shine on everyone
    Shine on silver sun
    Shine on.

    The sunlight filtered softly
    Through the pale and watery sky
    To catch the mirrored salmon
    As it rose to take the fly
    The flowers on the riverbank
    Were left alone to die.

    The church bells sounded midnight
    As I rose to say goodbye
    And a solitary tear
    Fell from the corner of my eye.

    TOTP lyrics

    Once I sat a-lonely here
    To watch the world go by
    My friend the young magician lad
    Was getting me to cry

    But I was the comedian
    With the laughs are sure to cry.

    Shine on silver sun
    Shine on everyone
    Shine on silver sun
    Shine on.

    The sunlight filtered softly
    Through the pale and watery sky
    To catch the myriad salmon
    As as he grows to say goodbye
    [DG - Prize for anyone to get the next two lines]


    The treadmills on the kite
    And who's to say goodbye
    It's hard to speak the ending
    From the corner of my eye.

    Pick Up The Pieces (Hudson Ford)

    Another cover that does a reasonable job. The vocals and harmonies are pretty good apart from the "a-ha a-ha" bit and there's no dodgy words.



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