Posts Tagged ‘tribute album

08
Jan
10

Dub Side of the Moon

As I think I’ve alluded to in previous comments, I’m not big on cover bands or tribute albums, unless the band takes the original material and makes it their own, as opposed to simply playing someone else’s song note for note off the sheet music.  I have recently found an album that does the former – “Dub Side of the Moon” by the Easy Star All-Stars, a reggae group based in New York City.  As the title suggests, this is a reggae/dub version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album.

The Floyd is my favorite band of all time, and I am always skeptical when bands cover their songs.  And I’m not a huge fan of reggae – most of it is a little slow and repetitive for my taste.  But “Dark Side” is a pretty mellow album as it is, and so the songs work fantastically as reggae/dub versions – “Dub Side” is a truly enjoyable album.  The Easy Star All-Stars added a few of their own touches, like instead of the cash register sound effects at the beginning of “Money,” we hear a bong being lit, ripped, and then a man coughing.  Several of the songs also feature some additional lyrics during the instrumental portions.  But some amount of the original recording is also retained in the songs, so it’s almost like some songs are remixes rather than brand new recordings…but this only adds to the charisma of the record.  In all, it’s a loving tribute to a landmark album, redone in a way that keeps the charm of the original but presents it in a new light.

The Easy Star All-Stars have also released two other cover albums which I am eager to try out – Radiohead’s “OK Computer” (released as “Radiodread”) and the Beatle’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” (released as “Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band”).  I’ll let you know the result.

“Dub Side of the Moon” gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!

22
Dec
09

Christopher O’Riley – Home to Oblivion (Elliott Smith)

Being an Elliott Smith fan I was really sad to hear about his passing a few years ago; it was a huge loss to the music world.  Smith’s work, although popular among certain circles, remains still unheard by many, even posthumously he has not received the accolades he deserves for his profound contributions he made with his music.

A few years after his death I was introduced through a segment on National Public Radio (NPR) about a number of tribute albums being released in his honor.  One in particular that caught my attention was by classical pianist Christopher O’Riley.  O’Riley had been a fan of Smith’s compositions and noted how complicated and uniquely structured they were for someone who was not formally trained in writing music; he decided to transcribe them for piano in honor of Smith’s genius. 

Home To Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute (2006) is O’Riley’s fantastic representation of a variety of Smith’s work in the classical style.  O’Riley hand picked the songs he liked from a broad spectrum of albums spanning Smith’s early work on Roman Candle (1994) to his last album A Basement On The Hill (2004) which was unfinished and released shortly after his death.

The album is sincere and slow, clearly O’Riley’s intentions were to create an album that would both represent the beauty of Smith’s arrangements yet also create a mood for the listener to reflect upon how much more could have been if Smith was alive today.  O’Riley has done several tribute albums reflecting the music of Radiohead and the late Nick Drake. 

Although a solid album a  highlights  would be “Let’s Get Lost” and “I Don’t Understand”, simply incredible and worth buying just for those songs alone.  You can listen to the album in its entirety prior to buying by going to LaLa Music and typing O’Riley’s name in the search bar.

Christopher O’Riley’s Home To Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute gets 4 out of 5 stars.




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