The King – Return to Splendour (Epic 2017 #147)

The Epic 2017 Project #147: 170527

The King – Return to Splendour (2000)

The small town where I live in Sussex, UK used to be graced by an equally small record shop – ‘Atomic Sounds’. Sadly, it’s no longer with us but, in its heyday, I’d spend most Saturday mornings there, browsing through the eclectic selection of new and back-catalogue stuff on offer.

One Saturday Elvis Presley was playing over the stereo. At least that’s what I thought; it’s just that something wasn’t quite right. Elvis seemed to be covering (and rather well, I might add) ‘Pretty Vacant’ from the Sex Pistols. And there laid the rub. Theoretically possible as the Sex Pistols released it in July 1977 and Elvis didn’t pass on until three weeks or so later on 16 August. But the King would have had to have been unbelievably sharp off the mark and it just didn’t quite jell as to why he’d bother. Just didn’t seem to be his style at all.

Duly puzzled, I asked the owner who immediately confirmed that it was indeed The King on the stereo. “Seriously?” I replied, “Elvis covered the Sex Pistols?” “Of course not!” Tony replied, “But the King did!” And there laid my introduction, as well as sealing which album I’d buy that day.

Jim ‘The King’ Brown hails from the bad end of Belfast. An ex-postal worker, he’s acclaimed as one of the greatest Elvis tribute acts working today. Backed by a stunningly talented band (The Questionnaires), The King takes the Elvis tribute to a whole different level covering the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Lynryd Skynryd and, of course, the Sex Pistols.

Hayseed Dixie – Weapons of Grass Destruction (Epic #107)

The Epic 2017 Project #107: 170417

Hayseed Dixie – Weapons of Grass Destruction (2007)

Sixth studio album from the American Dixie Paraodiers, this time continuing their theme of getting the word ‘grass’ into common phrases with their own take on the Faithless song.

And, as is also their want, there are covers a-plenty here as well. Although none from their Australian namesakes this time.

Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things (Epic 2017 #084)

The Epic 2017 Project #084: 170325

Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things (1973)

These Foolish Things is the debut solo studio album by Bryan Ferry, who at the time was still Roxy Music’s lead vocalist. Released in October 1973 on Island Records in the UK, and Atlantic Records in the United States, it was a commercial and critical success, peaking at number 5 on the albums chart in the United Kingdom.

The album consists entirely of cover versions, most of the tracks being personal favorites of Ferry’s and spanning several decades from 1930s standards such as the title track through to the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s with Elvis Presley,Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” (for example) was written by Bob Dylan in the summer of 1962 and was first recorded for his second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Ruth Copeland – Gimme Shelter (Leaping Ahead #167)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #167: 160615

[Favourite guitar riff (5)]

It’s all about the funk groove in this classic cover from Copeland’s 1972 album ‘All that I am”. No one particular riff – just the whole thing as it melds and moulds and builds to one spine-tingling crescendo of wonderfulness. Yes – you’ve guessed it – this is probably my most favourite cover of all time.

The King – Voodoo Chile (Leaping Ahead #124)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #124: 160503

[Favourite cover song (5)]

Sadly no longer with us – it closed down a few years back – there used to be a little independent record shop called ‘Atomic Sounds’ just down the road from where I live. It was a firm favourite of mine and I was a very regular customer, purchasing something at least weekly and keeping its owner convinced that there was still a paying public out there who didn’t want to buy all their music from Tesco’s!

Rant aside, Tony (Atomic’s owner) was always playing something new, many of which I ended up buying ‘cos I liked what I heard so much. This is a prime example. The opening riff was playing as I opened the door one Saturday morning but, when the vocals kicked in, I was immediately puzzled. “Who’s this?” I asked. To which Tony candidly replied “The King of course!” Convinced that Elvis never covered Jimi Hendrix, I asked to see the CD case. And of course, it was ‘The King’ (aka Jim Brown from Belfast), Elvis impersonator extraordinaire, covering everything from Hendrix to AC/DC. Suffice to say, I brought the album! (Gravelands – 1998)