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Damien Jurado & Richard Swift — Other People’s Songs Volume One (2016)

Damien Jurado & Richard Swift — Other People’s Songs Volume One (December 2, 2016)

 Damien Jurado & Richard Swift — Other People’s Songs Volume One (December 2, 2016) Damien Jurado & Richard Swift — Other People’s Songs Volume One (December 2, 2016) Ξ   Nemělo by být překvapením, že “Other People’s Songs Volume One” je album složené výhradně z cover~verzí, nebo že Damien Jurado a Richard Swift pracují společně — Swift produkoval několik předchozích Juradových projektů. Co překvapivé je, že Jurado a Swift společně svléknou těchto devět písní donaha a přetvoří je jako něco zcela originálního. Odráží škálu jejich hudebního vkusu, díky dokonalému zvládnutí svého řemesla vzdávají hold kultovním ikonám, jakou je Bill Fay a byl John Denver, a také ještě populárnější akty, jako progresivní band Yes (Chris Squire), Chubby Checker a dokonce i Kraftwerk (Ralf Hütter [70 let]~Florian Schneider [69]~Emil Schult [68]). Vřelost, kterou tyto lo~fi nahrávky vydávají a kterou je cítit skrz naskrz, je průvodním duchem alba: doufejme, že ‘Volume One’ je pouze začátkem toho, co by mohlo být ve finále neuvěřitelnou sérií. Vždyť motivem této volby písní je určitě demonstrativní nadšení pro 50., 60. a většinou ‘70s éry rock‘n‘rollu, soulu a popu, které je přitažlivé, pozitivní a hlavně — groovy.
Ξ   Over the weekend of August 21~22, 2010, not long after Damien Jurado and Richard Swift first collaborated to produce Damien’s 2010 record, Saint Bartlett, the pair hunkered down with a 4~track recorder and one Coles 4038 ribbon microphone to record a collection of cover songs that run the gamut from John Denver to Chubby Checker to Kraftwerk.
Ξ   The timing was perfect. On Other People’s Songs Vol 1, we can see the scaffolding of what would become a creative turning point for the pair — later seen with the release of Damien Jurado’s Maraqopa, the first record in his Maraqopa trilogy — less than 2 years later. The opening drum hits of “Be Not So Fearful”, the falsetto vocals of “Sweetness”, and the Spaghetti~Western swing of “Radioactivity” are, by now, hallmarks of the Jurado/Swift sound, but Other People’s Songs Vol 1 is a transitional fossil, a marking of the pair’s collaborative evolution.
Ξ   Indie singer/songwriter with garagey inclinations who moonlights as a producer/studio musician for acts spanning Damien Jurado and the Pretenders.  Born: 1977 in California
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Album release: December 2, 2016
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
Duration:     29:12
01 Be Not So Fearful     3:29
02 Hello Sunshine     3:05
03 Sweetness     4:03
04 Sincere Replies     3:19
05 If the Sun Stops Shinin’     2:57
06 Follow Me     3:34
07 Outside My Window     2:12
08 Radioactivity     3:50
09 Crazy Like a Fox     2:43
★   Bill Fay     1
★   Phil Pearlman     2
★   Jon Anderson / Clive Bailey / Christopher Squire     3
★   Jacques Levy / Peter Schickele     4
★   Chubby Checker     5
★   John Denver     6
★   Hal David / Sherman Edwards     7
★   Ralf Hütter / Florian Schneider / Emil Schult     8
★   Larry Kusik / Richard Ziegler     9
★   Jon Anderson Composer
★   Clive Bailey Composer
★   Chubby Checker Composer, Original Recordings
★   Link Cromwell Original Recordings
★   Link Cromwell & the Zoo Original Recordings
★   Hal David Composer
★   John Denver Composer, Original Recordings
★   Sherman Edwards Composer
★   Bill Fay Composer, Original Recordings
★   The Fleetwoods Original Recordings
★   Jeremy Gardner Photography
★   Ralf Hütter Composer
★   Damien Jurado Arranger, Producer
★   Kraftwerk Original Recordings
★   Larry Kusik Composer
★   Jacques Levy Composer
★   Phil Pearlman Composer
★   Relatively Clean Rivers Original Recordings
★   Peter Schickele Composer
★   Florian Schneider Composer
★   Emil Schult Composer
★   Christopher Squire Composer
★   Richard Swift Arranger, Engineer, Mastering, Producer
★   Shawn Tetrault Photography
★   Yes Original Recordings
★   Richard Ziegler Composer                                                                                           AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson; Score: ***½
Ξ   In a bit of a twist given the prolific songwriting output of its performers, Other People’s Songs, Vol. 1 is a collection of covers from the duo of Damien Jurado and Richard Swift. The two first worked together when Swift produced Jurado’s album Saint Bartlett, which saw release in the spring of 2010. The fast friends made plans to get together over a weekend that August, just to hang out. What emerged was this set of cover songs taken down on a four~track cassette recorder in Swift’s home. Each title addressed was originally recorded in the ‘60s or ‘70s, but that’s where similarities end among a selection that digs deep and encompasses John Denver, Kraftwerk, and the Broadway revue Oh! Calcutta! Jurado and Swift make them all play nice together with psychedelic treatments, such as on their rendition of Yes’ “Sweetness.” The prog rock icons’ already trippy first single is embellished with effects that emphasize the ethereal. ★   Another curio is “Outside My Window.” First recorded by the Fleetwoods for a 1960 release, it was written by Sherman Edwards, songwriter of the musical 1776, and lyrics legend Hal David. Wistful and spare in both versions, Jurado and Swift emphasize the bassline and move crisp backing vocals into a cavern as the song’s surveillant notes “You’re so glad you found him/You’ll never once look up to see me/Inside my window/I’m just as sad as I can be.” Arguably the most distorted reworking is their “Follow Me.” Swift’s echoing falsetto, guitar, and clanking percussion suggest a haunting rather than the bittersweet affection of John Denver’s original. They even end it with a fade out on lone, harmonized oohs, a spectral call from the distance. Their lush, orchestral folk version of Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity,” though, is a near complete reimagining built around the original’s deadpan vocal line. Elsewhere, Jurado gives a commanding vocal performance on a fairly loyal version of Chubby Checker’s organ hymn “If the Sun Stops Shinin’.” Throughout, the arrangements have an organic feel despite tinkering and effects, with a dreamlike expansiveness that foreshadows the sound of Jurado’s Swift~produced Maraqopa Trilogy. Other People’s Songs shouldn’t be missed by fans of those albums or by record~store scavengers unfamiliar with any of the more obscure treasures represented here. [The album was first issued as a temporarily free download in 2010, but received a proper multi~format release by Secretly Canadian in 2016.] ★   http://www.allmusic.com/
By Zack Fenech, Published Nov 30, 2016 / Score: 8
★   http://exclaim.ca/music/article/damien_jurado_and_richard_swift-other_peoples_songs_volume_one
Website: http://damienjurado.com/
Label: http://www.secretlycanadian.com/
Interview: http://bigtakeover.com/interviews/interview-damien-jurado                                            Notes:
★   William “Bill” Fay is an English singer, pianist and songwriter whose early releases were made on the Deram label in 1967. Following the release of his second album in 1971, Fay was dropped by the label. His work enjoyed a growing cult status in the 1990s, and his older works were re~issued in 1998 and 2004/2005. Fay’s 2012 album, Life Is People, was his first album of all~new material since 1971. His next album, Who Is The Sender was released on 27 April 2015.
★   Fay was born in north London, where he still lives. 
John Denver
Born: Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., December 31, 1943, Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.
Died: October 12, 1997, Monterey Bay, California, U.S.

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