Friday, July 25, 2008

"The First Cut Is The Deepest"

One of the things I've always had a problem with as a music lover is the idea that we should be faithful to artists rather than to songs. Now, no matter how blinkered your attitude is to your favourite artist, you've got to admit that he/she/they have on occasion produced a real clunker.
So for every "Gimme Shelter" or "Sympathy for the Devil" in the Stones' catalogue, there's a "Under Cover of the Night" lurking at the back of the pile.
I've got no problem with that. In fact, I can't put my hand on my heart and say that I have the complete works of any of my very favourite artists. There's always something you wish they hadn't committed to record.
Which is why I prefer to concentrate on individual works rather than entire albums. I don't think there's anything like a single, complete album on my MP3 player - there's always one or two songs that you can do without.
I may be lying. I think I have the whole of "Dark Side of the Moon".
In any case, I think this is all just a way of justifying why I have so many single tracks by particular artists in my collection. And here's another example.
I know full well that P.P. Arnold was perhaps the best of Ike & Tina's Ikettes, and that she performed many wonderful songs in the 60s. But, for the most part, they're not SongsWithoutWhich.
This one is, however.
Cat Stevens wrote it and around a hundred different artists have covered it, but nobody has come close to this performance. Arnold's voice is a husky, swooping, pained and wavering miracle, cut open to the bone and revelling in its sheer brutal honesty.
There's a great video here that was shot on Camber Sands with the Small Faces, but the video below show Arnold in all her glory. Enjoy.

2 comments:

Holly A Hughes said...

Man, that video is a little GEM! This version is way better than Rod Stewart's, which was my introduction to this song. One of the better Rod Stewart hits, though that's not saying much. Listening to this makes me wish Dusty Springfield had covered this song....or Tammy Terrell...

The Sheryl Crow cover is so pale in comparison.

emergingontheotherside said...

You never lose your touch. That's such a great version of a fabulous song; yes, even when Rod Stewart sang it... just.

And it's so good to hear that I'm not the only one who fucking hates "Under cover of the night".

Feh.