When DJing, I like to avoid The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Doors and Bob Marley, because they’ve been played to death. People expect to hear these artists; a trick to get around this conundrum is to find brilliant covers- playing them without actually playing them, so to speak.
Session singer Merry Clayton was brought in late one night to record backing vocals for “Gimme Shelter” off the Stone’s Let It Bleedalbum in 1969. According to Open Culture’s Mike Springer; ‘Despite giving what would become the most famous performance of her career, it turned out to be a tragic night for Clayton. Shortly after leaving the studio, she lost her baby in a miscarriage. It has generally been assumed that the stress from the emotional intensity of her performance and the lateness of the hour caused the miscarriage.’ In 1970, Clayton would release her own version of the song, a heart-wrenching stomper filled with soul.
The best remakes take the song to an entirely different place. Formulaic covers are often like the nightmarish world of bad karaoke or drift into wedding/tribute band territory. Prince Buster gives a ska facelift to The Beatles “All My Loving,” his version gets your skank and sway on; it’s a real beaut.
Mutual Benefit (AKA Jordan Lee) will release his new album, Skip a Sinking Stone on May 20th via Transgressive and plays Bush Hall on the 28th of April. Lee recently announced The Lost Dreamers Contest,inviting fans to share their dreams via the band’s website. Each submission sees the entrant in with a chance to win a gift pack, which includes a test pressing, limited edition splatter grey-blue LP, an original tour photo and a dream journal. A selection chosen by Lee will be visually recreated by artists, resulting in an animated Mutual Benefit dream journal. Here’s a single off the album to give you a taster and inspire your imaginings for the competition.
A batch of DJ dates for the Kitchen starts with Thursday, April 21st at The Amersham Arms. I’m in the front from 9:30pm, playing all the things you want to hear ‘til late with free entry.
Next stop is Friday April 22nd at The Good Ship, 289 Kilburn High Road, NW6. Peace In The City presents a night of pop, rock, funk and live music from 8 to 11.30pm. I take the decks after until 4am, blending a spellbinding array of the best new and old skool electronica, hip-hop and dance sprinkled with a dash of indie. I have an unlimited guest list, so please contact me on Facebook if you’d like free entry to this event.
Double DJ duty is happening at my favourite local on Saturday, April 23rd and Sunday, May 1st at The Rose and Crown, 71-73 Torriano Avenue, NW5. A cosy dive bar with free entry, good tunes will abound Sat 7 ‘til 11pm followed by a reggae-ska Sunday brunch from 4-8pm.
I will also be hitting the decks on Friday, April 29th at Paper Dress Vintage, 352a Mare Street, E8. There’ll be live bands and a heap of psych, soul and freakbeat from myself to take you higher.
For all you dreamers out there, I have a special podcast of a Mutual Benefit gig I recorded at St John on Bethnal Green in March 2014.