Monday, April 26, 2010

Take Cover: Take a Good Look, Billy Bragg

For the record, "Tracks of My Tears" is the best go-to karaoke song probably ever, and I'm calling dibs for whenever WGTB holds our first karaoke contest. While the genius (and steeeez! check out their uniforms in the video below) of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles is hard to top, it has become a popular song for artists to work into their live catalog, especially as a convenient segue into another song: see Gavin DeGraw's "Cupid" and Elvis Costello's awesome rendition of "Alison" with the London Philharmonic. And I can't deny that I harbor a secret love for the Boyz II Men version. Seriously, it is smooth, even if their dance moves are ridiculous.

But, the best cover of this song is the one that changes the tone from a danceable soul crooner to an aching, restrained rendition. Sans backup singers, drums, and choreography, Billy Bragg's solo take on "Tracks of My Tears" gets at the heart of the song and extracts a particularly poignant vibe as his ragged voice dips and dives over the chorus. He's just so noticeably and remarkably alone-- and it works.
Listen to the original below:

-- Caroline Klibanoff
"Melodious Intoxication," Thursdays 12-2 pm on WGTB

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