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Rush - Feedback CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

2.85 | 211 ratings

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3 stars I think all of us have some good covers by well-established bands in our collections, or at least have checked some out on YouTube. I actually went through a phase in the mid-eighties of collecting these (mostly as b-sides to vinyl singles). Some favorites over the years have included Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”; Jason & the Scorchers doing “19th Nervous Breakdown”; the Fugees reverent remake of Roberta Flack’s “Killing me Softly”; Camper van Beethoven redoing the entire Fleetwood Mac album ‘Tusk’; and the screaming unspoken messages wrapped up in Sid Vicious covering Frank Sinatra’s signature song “My Way”.

Sometimes covers are done as jokes. Me First & the Gimme Gimmes nailed a hilarious version of Coven’s “One Tin Soldier”; in fact, they’ve built their career on irreverent covers. Other times I think the artistic challenge is the stimulus, such as when Luther Wright remade Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ or Camper van Beethoven’s take on ‘Tusk’. In some cases a band is simply trying to use something that’s already popular to boost their own careers – UB40 and Chrissie Hynde’s 12” Sonny & Cher single “I Got You Babe” comes to mind. And sometimes you just don’t know what the ‘artist’ was thinking: Celine Dion embarrassing herself with AC/ DC’s “You Shook me all Night Long” is hands-down the all-time worst cover in the history of music.

But Rush have managed to find a new twist for a music concept that by-definition has already been done before. This collection of mostly sixties tunes is one of the things they released to mark thirty years of making music. The other is the R30 live DVD package, which my kids love but for me doesn’t offer much new except the chance to hear what Rush sounds like live after the crowd’s input has been mostly erased.

This collection, as the band points out in the very brief liner notes, represents some of the songs they grew up learning to play in their early years. As young musician wannabe’s they would have memorized every note, tempo change, and nuance, and that kind of familiarity with the material is evident here.

But Peart makes another interesting comment in the liner notes; namely, that the band was actually first exposed to many of these songs being performed as covers themselves. Cream’s version of the Robert Johnson standard “Crossroads” and Blue Cheer’s take on Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” for example are probably the versions most of us know best as well. So in some ways these represent a twice-removed representation of the classics. This also helps explain things like why the overdubbed response vocals are missing from “Summertime Blues” – Cochran had them in the original but Blue Cheer did not. Or why the harmonies of “For What it’s Worth” have been dumbed down from the original Buffalo Springfield cut - pretty much everybody but Buffalo Springfield who’ve done this tune skimp on the backing vocals.

But not too far removed really, since the band is pretty faithful to whatever version of each song they are representing. As a result there is very little innovation or musically progressive expression here, and that is clearly by-design. The band was simply looking for a clever way celebrate a thirty year career by showcasing some of the old music that inspired and got them started. If I were in a similar situation the songs would be a few years newer (early seventies instead of mid-sixties), and probably a little wider variety than just heavy blues and hippy psych.

But that’s okay, this is a fun little disc to play and sing along to. Most music fans will know these tunes and probably even the lyrics. The other tracks besides those already mentioned are the Yardbird’s “Heart Full of Soul” and “Shapes of Things”; Who’s “The Seeker”; Buffalo Springfield’s Neil Young tune “Mr. Soul”; and Love’s “Seven and Seven Is” (which is probably the least well- known of the bunch).

Good musicianship, decent production, fun to sing (or even play) along to. Nothing progressive or even original here, but I can’t imagine that most middle-aged music fans won’t at least enjoy the trip down memory lane. Good enough for three stars.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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