Saturday, January 12, 2008

Set me free why don't you babe

A conversation with co-blogger and friend darkblack tonight led me to this post. Back in the '60s, when rock was still finding its way through various permutations, and before rigid categories had been established, there was just music.

As I have writen here before, there were, in my opinion, several watershed moments in rock, where suddenly, "everything changed." The Beatles, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, are among them.

But after the Beatles, and before Zep & Sabbath, came one band that scared a lot of musicians, because of both their virtuosity and their creativity. They became known not for their original music, but rather their innovative and unique choice of cover songs.

Never mind the frilly shirts and '60s clothing styles common at the time. Instead, listen to the way these guys bent songs. Remember The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On"? Check out Vanilla Fudge's version:

I saw them live in '68, opening for the Bee-Gees on their first tour of America. I went with the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of my band at the time, and as we had been doing 3 or 4 songs off the first Vanilla Fudge album already, we were fans. Does anyone remember the Maxell ad at the top, because that's what the experience was like.

Here's the Fudge doing Jr. Walker and The All-Stars "Shotgun":

And just to prove they were no fluke, here's a different live version of "...Hangin' On":