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Sunday 26 March 2023

An Hour Of Weatherall Covers

We all love a good cover version don't we? The reconstructing of a familiar song in a new form, the buzz of hearing someone do a song differently, irreverently or lovingly, and the nodding of the head to influences and inspirations. At times cover versions can also seem a bit lazy, a way out of writer's block or something thrown together for B-side at a late hour and under pressure, but when done well and with the right intent, they're a joy. 

In two weeks time it would have been Andrew Weatherall's 60th birthday had he lived. There are a series of events taking place nationally throughout April to celebrate this- a full on night at Fabric in London with a huge line up of DJ talent together with nights in Glasgow, Belfast and Todmorden, all places with strong Weatherall connections and crowds. I'll come back to the Todmorden one nearer the time (29th April) with more details but it does include a second ride out for The Flightpath Estate DJ team (which includes yours truly). I expect to run several Weatherall posts over the next few weeks- that's probably not much different to usual round here, he does tend to feature fairly often- and thought I'd kick off with this one, a mix for Sunday of cover versions Andrew either recorded as an artist himself or other other artists he remixed. It is not surprisingly a fairly eclectic bunch of songs and artists. It now occurs to me that I should have put the originals together as a mix too so maybe that will follow at some point a companion piece.

Fifty Five Minutes Of Andrew Weatherall Cover Versions

  • Carry Me Home
  • Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves)
  • Witchi Tai To (2 Lone Swordsmen Remix)
  • The Drum (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
  • A Love From Outer Space (Version 2)
  • Sex Beat
  • Slip Inside This House
  • Goodbye Johnny (Andrew Weatherall's Nyabinghi Noir Mix)
  • Faux/ Whole Wide World
Carry Me Home is a cover of a Dennis Wilson song from 1973, a wracked funereal blues for a dying soldier in Vietnam that was written for the 1973 album Holland but was left off. 'Life is meant to live/ I'm afraid to die', he sings. Primal Scream's version which Andrew produced is from the Dixie- Narco EP, a very downbeat and beautiful way to pay homage. Andrew and Hugo Nicolson's mix of instruments and production is stunning, Duffy's electric piano at the start and the acoustic guitar and cello in the end section especially so. 

Only Love Can Break Your Heart is a Saint Etienne cover of a Neil Young song. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that. Andrew's remix sent the song into a dubbed out bliss, Augustus Pablo- esque melodica in the first half (played by Pete Astor of The Weather Prophets), the Jean Binta Breeze dub poetry sample in the middle cutting the track in half, and then the song appearing in the second (along with the Jean 'cool and deadly' sample). 

Witchi Tai To was a 2007 single by X- Press 2, the Two Lone Swordsmen remix adding the live drums of their sound from that period and matching the Wrong Meeting albums of the same year. The original was a a 1971 single by Jim Pepper, a Native American singer and saxophonist who took a peyote chant his grandfather taught him and turned it into a hybrid jazz/ Native American song. X- Press 2's cover was sung by Tim de Laughter of The Polyphonic Spree. 

The Drum was a single for The Impossibles, an Edinburgh duo who made early 90s jangly indie- pop. The original is a Slapp Happy song from 1974. Weatherall's remix, from 1991, is a lesser known one from his early 90s hot streak, a tour de force of throwing whatever is at hand in the studio/ imagination at a remix and it working. Andrew was ably assisted by Hugo Nicolson on this one too. 

A Love From Outer Space was the calling card from the 2013 album by The Asphodells, the outfit he formed with Timothy J. Fairplay after they had bene working together on remixes and their own material and realised they had enough for an album. Andrew's vocals were a big feature of The Asphodells (following on from the Two Lone Swordsmen records of the previous few years where he stepped up to the mic for the first time since the early 80s). A Love From Outer Space also became the name of his traveling club night, with compadre Sean Johnstone, a night never knowingly exceeding 122 bpm. The original song is by late 80s one offs A.R. Kane, a duo of dreads who made spaced out dub/ dreampop. 

Sex Beat was a Two Lone Swordsmen single in 2004 and on the From The Double Gone Chapel album of the same year, a radical shift in sound and style after the pure electro of 2000's Tiny Reminders. Andrew and Keith Tenniswood becoming a garage band with Nick Burton on drums and Chris Mackin on guitar. Sex Beat was such a blast when it came out in 2004, an energetic swerve in the road to somewhere new. Sex Beat was on The Gun Club's 1981 debut Fire Of Love, a blues/ rockabilly/ Southern Gothic classic. Leader, singer and writer Jeffrey Lee Pierce pops up again in this mix in the form of Goodbye Johnny.

Slip Inside This House is a cover of The 3th Floor Elevators song from their 1967 album Easter Everywhere, the second song on Primal Scream's 1991 opus Screamadelica, a juddering statement of acid house intent after the rock n' roll opening of Moving On Up. Hypnotone's Tony Martin was involved in the production of this track too. It was sung by Throb. Bobby Gillespie is said to have bene suffering from 'acid house flu'.

Goodbye Johnny was on Primal Scream's 2013 album More Light. It came from a covers project that paid tribute to Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Weatherall's spaced out remix tips its hat to the Nyabinghi sound of African Head Charge, a big influence on Andrew. 

Faux/ Whole Wide World comes from a Radio One session from 2004. Faux was the first single ahead of From The Double Gone Chapel, a scuzzed up slice of electro- rockabilly, combining rapid programmed drums and fuzz guitars with Weatherall vocals and lyrics about the love of his life, Elizabeth Walker. As a touring band Two Lone Swordsmen had a habit of working Faux into Wreckless Eric's Whole Wide World, a peerless 1977 single. At the time Andrew was recommending the new album then just released by Eric, Bungalow Hi, a record Andrew described as 'like Duane Eddy meets Aphex Twin'. The recording here is ripped from a radio session, never officially released. There was a version on the Rotters Golf Club website for a while too, part of a three song session they recorded playing at the Bloc Weekender. Of all the lyrics that swirl around Andrew's world and outlook, 'I don't do faux', is as good as any. 


Khayem said...

"We all love a good cover version don't we?" Well, you'll never guess what I've posted this morning...

However, whilst the Scream feature on mine, sadly no Weatherall on mine, so this is an absolute treat. Their version of Carry Me Home is stunning and the Dixie Narco EP as a whole is one of the best things they ever released, a perfect follow on from Screamadelica.

A fab selection from start to finish. I was all for Two Lone Swordsmen's 'new direction' with Double Gone Chapel and I continued to enjoy Weatherall's stints at the mic on subsequent solo albums. First time I've heard Faux/Whole Wide World, great stuff.

Adam Turner said...

That's a lovely case of blogging synchronisation Khayem.

KevM said...

This was just the ticket tonight. Good mix, thanks Adam.