From the desk of Rob Miller:
Agree or disagree on the merit of, or necessity for, a Hall of Fame celebrating a subjective art form like music, the HOF exists. I mean, I don’t LIKE beets, but they do exist, so I must deal with them.
There are no-brainers and there are head scratchers. Some make you throw the devil horns in rock and roll happiness, especially when someone subversive like Public Enemy, The Ramones, or Wanda Jackson sneak in. Some make you want throw your radio out the window and wonder what the tired old baby boomer elitists who vote could POSSIBLY be thinking. Personally, I’d bulldoze the Hall & Oates, Bob Seger, and KISS sections and replace them with The Cramps, Andre Williams, and Irma Thomas, but I’m just one crank with a keyboard and a contrarian sensibility.
Regardless, many Bloodshot artists have covered songs by Hall of Famers. Some covered songs we already loved, some covered artists we hate. Some songs become whole new songs with whole new ways of hearing them. We love ‘em all, though.
Here’s our Hall of Fame playlist, almost two hours of reverence, irreverence, oddities and new spins on old tales. It may be the perfect antidote to the anti-climatic induction concert, though, holy shit, if NWA and Cheap Trick team up, who KNOWS what could happen?
Here's the breakdown:
The Who as done by the WACO BROTHERS. Who better to capture the anarchic spirit? Everyone, singalong “And now we want some BEER…..”
Abba as done by THE MEAT PURVEYORS. Icy Swedish disco revamped thru the prism of TX punk bluegrass.
GET UP JAKE
The Band as done by The DEADSTRING BROTHERS. From the Band’s Self-titled album, DSB sit in the pocket and groove, baby, groove. Dig that roadhouse piano breakdown!
WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS
The Beatles as done by ROSIE FLORES. Rosie gives a cool, loungy, lonesome vibe to this cornerstone song on the White Album.
Bob Wills as done by KELLY HOGAN & THE PINE VALLEY COSMONAUTS. Inducting Bob Wills indicates SOMEONE at the Hall is paying attention to their roots. Kelly & the boys give The King of Western Swing an album’s worth of tribute, and this one struts across the stage like New Orleans stripper.
THE HARDER THEY COME
Jimmy Cliff as done by the Waco Brothers. Rabble rousers both. Jimmy’s protest anthem given a hopped up punk country re-birth.
Elvis Costello as done by Lydia Loveless. A gem. Just Lydia and her guitar on this track from My Aim Is True. Quiet and urgent.
Fleetwood Mac as done by Nora O’Connor. I’m not gonna lie here and say I like Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks witchy poo persona and the coke-addled blatherings of her bandmates were the stuff of high school super-boredom and annoyance. But if Nora does it, it sounds great. ‘Nuff said. Also, I don’t think I even knew it was a Mac cover until later, which is good, otherwise I likely would have reflexively hated it.
Jimmie Rodgers as done by Alejandro Escovedo and Jon Langford. Another early innovator inductee! The Singing Brakeman gets a glam rock makeover.
The Grateful Dead as done by Graham Parker. I cannot condone the Grateful Dead. Bloodshot Nan likes them.
LET’S HAVE A PARTY
Wanda Jackson as done by Wayne Hancock. A perfect pairing! The Fujiyama Mama meets the Train. One of Rock N Roll’s true pioneers covered by one of contemporary music’s most strident throwbacks. It is a party.
LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE
Little Willie John as done by The Detroit Cobras. Talk about a party!!! This song smokes---no matter who does it (it was also covered by The Sonics, The Yardbirds and the Beatles). The Cobras give it an electric, raunchy swing. Me-YOW!
GO DOWN OL’ HANNAH
Leadbelly as done by Scott H Biram. Harrowing, hair-raising field holler (emphasis on HOLLER) from SHB. Primal stuff from one of THE towering figures in all of American music.
MY SWEET BLUE-EYED DARLIN’
Bill Monroe as done by Old 97's. Murray sings the lead vocals on this dirt track take on the King of Bluegrass.
Led Zeppelin as done by Devil In A Woodpile. Propelled by Joel Patterson’s Resonator guitar, this one never fails to whip the Hideout into a frenzy. Acoustic back porch country blues sung over the hills of Wales and garbage dumps of Chicago.
LOVED ON LOOK
Elvis Presley as done by the Sadies. Late model Elvis (1969) off From Elvis In Memphis and the King still had it. The Sadies do it loud and proud.
GOIN’ OUT WEST
Tom Waits as done by The Blacks. Sinister, apocalyptic and thrilling. This Bone Machine classic was a eye and hear popping staple of the Blacks all-too-short performing lives. Plus, it mentions Tony Franciosa—so bonus points for obscure 1970’s TV references.
I AIN’T GOT YOU
Jimmy Reed as done by Rosie Flores. The Rockabilly Filly puts on a roots wah-wah clinic on this classic also covered by the Yardbirds, Billy Boy Arnold and any garage band with taste.
I WANNA BE YOUR DOG
The Stooges as done by Alejandro Escovedo. Alejandro’s live orchestra out-Stooges the Stooges on this 7+ minute soaring, chaos-in-full-control version. You’ll never hear the original the same way again.
YOU LOOK LIKE THE DEVIL
Leon Russell as done by the Deadstring Brothers. While made famous by Willie Nelson, Leon wrote it and that’s good enough for us. DSB oil the hinges on the barroom doors, and duet the shit out of it with Kurt and Masha trading verses.
I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Dusty Springfield as done by The Meat Purveyors. TMP capture the uplifting, sunny disposition of Dusty, throw it into the middle of the TX desert and give some wide open space. Put the top down and head to the canyons.
The Beatles as done by The Sundowners. A classic love song turned into a smooth country swing number. Recorded live at the Sundowners Ranch, you can hear beer bottles, people talking, and the hair-raising harmonies of the boys that defined Chicago country music for decades. If you can listen to this without smiling, I don’t want to know you.
YOU DON’T KNOCK
The Staples Singers as done by the Detroit Cobras. A decidedly Saturday night band greases and punks up a Sunday morning classic by one the Greek columns of American soul and gospel music.
COLD COLD GROUND
Tom Waits as done by the Grievous Angels. The GA’s turn this one on its head. A garage two-step take on this carnival dirge from Frank’s Wild Years.
SO SAD ABOUT US
The Who as done by the Dex Romweber Duo. Dex digs deep into The Who’s Mod catalog. Walks the Romweber tightrope between pop and manic edginess.
Hank Williams as done by Andre Williams. Mr Rhythm gives the KING OF ALL COUNTRY MUSIC’s existential lament a demonic turn. While Hank went out quietly, Andre ain’t going down without a fight. Looky here…
Trivia bit: That’s a VERY young Jack White on piano.
PALE BLUE EYES
The Velvet Underground as done by Alejandro Escovedo. Dueting with Kelly Hogan, Alejandro and the orchestra never failed to reduce the room to a breath-holding hush with this one from the VU’s self-titled album.
Neil Young as done by the Waco Brothers. The end times never sounded so good as this apocalypse boogie from Neil’s On The Beach album.
LIKE A VIRGIN/ BURNING UP/ LUCKY STAR
Madonna as done by the Meat Purveyors. Who knew that the saucy, sexy Madonna could be so capably covered by the saucy, sexy Meat Purveyors? This medley by TMP routinely ended their set---it HAD to, as the room would be a sweaty wreck when it was over. Nothing could come after it.
HIGHWAY TO HELL
AC/DC as done by Red Star Belgrade. Axl Rose is to Bon Scott as a Burger King hot dog is to Hot Doug’s. Just sayin’. (And it turns out Axl is JOINING AC/DC?! The end is nigh.)