Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Freedy - Perfect in So Many Ways

The all covers record was possibly a great concept 50 years ago, but in the rock era there are few that reward repeated listening (feel free to list any that do). Generally seen as a stopgap during a creative lull, a timekiller between labels or a last ditch effort for a long past their prime artist to get back on the radio (see Stewart, Rod as exhibit A), the "covers album" inspires initial curiousity followed by the inevitable "what were they thinking?"

Well, Freedy Johnston hasn't released a studio record since 2001, I doubt he's still signed to Elektra and maybe this record will get him back on AAA radio. But he's got a new covers record out soon (currently available directly here) called My Favorite Waste of Time and, surprise, it doesn't suck. Substitute a Jimmy Webb song and a Paul Simon for the two dud McCartney choices ("Listen To What The Man Said" and " ugh... "Let 'em In") and you might have one of the better cover albums of recent vintage.
Anyone that tackles Marshall Crenshaw, Matthew Sweet, The Hollies, Tom Petty and NRBQ and doesn't get their ass kicked is doing OK. And his cover The Eagles "The Sad Cafe" trumps the original, but that's probably a back-handed compliment. But overall the album's simplicity, pop jangle, muted horns and obvious affection for its source material make it worth checking out. And after all, who doesn't love Freedy?
Check these out:
Remember, if you like these tunes, support independent music and buy the dang thing.


Anonymous said...

I'm thoroughly disappointed. Freedy's version of "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes" is incredibly superb. But, "Bus Stop" sounded really lame to me. Like a baseball player you loved, in obvious decline. Just being honest.

Trip McClatchy said...

Anonymous (if that truly is your real name), we can agree to disagree. I like the "Bus Stop" and most of the new disc. I do agree that his "Love Grows" cover was aces.

don said...

I heard the original of "I Want You Bad" yesterday on XPN. Plate o' Shrimp ;)

The McCartney choices are really bad. The two samples are okay, not sure if they inspire me to plunk down the sheckles for the whole thing.

Did Lou put you up to this?