Under The Covers
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2013 album from the Country star. On Under The Covers, Gretchen performs her own interpretations of some of the songs that influenced her including 'I Want You To Want Me', 'Doctor My Eyes', 'Stay With Me', 'Hot Blooded', 'Lights' and many others.
Top Customer Reviews
Now, as you know Ms Wilson is one of my favourite country singers. And you should also know that my youth was spent metal thrashing mad to the sound of seventies and eighties guitar rawk. So this is a bit of a no-brainer for me. But there are some surprises, some hits and some misses.
The misses. Well, no-one should ever cover `Hot Blooded' by Foreigner. No-one. Not even the new Foreigner. And I would much rather that `The Song That Killed Billy Squiers Career', had remained just that. I reckon Mr Squier would happily forego his thruppence in royalties if he never had to hear `Everybody Wants You' ever again.
However, the surprises are, well, surprising. Bearing in mind what I said about `Hot Blooded', you would have thought that `Lights' by Journey would have fallen into the same category, but blow me down, if it isn't an absolute cracker. Seriously, Ms Wilson actually makes you feel like you're hearing it for the first time. The same applies to `Over The Hills And Far Away', albeit for different reasons. She actually makes me want to listen to a Led Zeppelin song more than once.
Some of the material falls into bar band territory, even if it's a very good bar band, so `Stay With Me' and `Bell Bottom Blues' bring nothing to the table, but for every one of those, there is a `Bad Company' and a `Funk No 49′, so it still ends up being a winner.
But sadly, this 12-track album is for the most part a prime example of how not to do a cover album. Doing covers of classic rock from the `70s can be a tricky business. You either should have an original take on them (I had expected Gretchen to do a country adaptation of these songs, which might also have failed but at least could have been interesting) or you should have the power-vocals to do these classics justice if you want to do faithful-to-the-original renditions.
The songs she covers are "Stay With Me" (Faces), "Doctor My Eyes" (Jackson Browne), "Everybody Wants You" (Billy Squier), "Bell Bottom Blues" (Derek and the Dominos), "Funk #49" (James Gang), "Hot Blooded" (Foreigner), "Over The Hills & Far Away" (Led Zeppelin), "I Want You To Want Me" (Cheap Trick), "Lights" (Journey), "Her Strut" (Bob Seger), "Bad Company" (Bad Company) and "Into The Mystic" (Van Morrison).
I like Gretchen's vocals and CDs and I have a broad taste in music, so I'm not turned away just because she strays out of the boundaries of country. And she might be a redneck woman with a lot of sass and a great voice, but on most of these songs she suddenly seems to lack the "rock chick" power to do them justice. In fact, some of these covers sound like her heart wasn't in them. They are curiously flat with just not enough emotion in their delivery; weird, because these are supposed to be some of her favorite `70s rock songs.Read more ›
It seems to me that if you're going to record a version of a song which most people will know from a great original recording, then you need to do something to make it your own. There are hundreds of great examples, but James Taylor's brilliant and completely different take on Sam Cooke's Handy Man shows what I mean. Here, though, Gretchen Wilson and her band virtually re-create the originals note for note - even down to the distinctive, echoing effect after the words "six-gun sound" in Bad Company. Frankly, if you try to reproduce songs that faithfully which feature guitarists like Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, and singers like Rod Stewart, Paul Rodgers and Robert Plant you're inevitably going to sound like a not-quite-so-good facsimile of the real thing. I'm afraid that's exactly what happens here.
Wilson sings extremely well, the band are good and each track is perfectly decent - but I kept thinking I'd be better off listening to the original. It's certainly not a bad album, but I can't really see me playing it that often. I'll be going back to Gretchen Wilson's earlier work which is very good indeed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I noticed that the first few reviews were all 3 stars which is a shame. I actually quite liked it. It's probably more a matter of taste whether you feel the songs work or not. Read morePublished on 17 Feb. 2014 by E. J. Stevens
SHE'S BETTER KNOWN FOR COUNTRY AND WESTERN BUT THERE ARE A FEW COULD COVERS ON HERE ( ONE OR TWO TERRIBLE ONES AS WELL. Read morePublished on 28 Aug. 2013 by A. Fairweather