Patti Smith Group: "Horses / Hey Joe"

>> Thursday, December 30, 2010

Well, shit: I may have a new favorite version of "Hey Joe" to trump Medeski, Martin & Wood's version. The Patti Smith Group and the one-and-only (world's not cool enough for two of her) Patti Smith, natch, on the Old Grey Whistle Test back in '76 with an incendiary version of "Horses" segueing into a lovely raw version of, yeah, "Hey Joe." Damn.


Almaz,  Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 10:08:00 PM EST  

My favorite is Willy DeVille's.

Eric Friday, December 31, 2010 at 11:06:00 AM EST  

Oo, that's an awesome cover, Almaz, thinks for sharing that!

Almaz,  Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:30:00 PM EST  

Yes, it's important that a song about a psychopathically jealous man, who's going out to buy the biggest gun he can find so he can blow away his lover and then evade justice by fleeing to Mexico, be upbeat and backed by a Mariachi band. Amirite?

Eric Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 1:21:00 PM EST  

It's important to try to find a distinctive voice for a song that has been "definitively" covered dozens and dozens of times since at least the mid-60s and "definitively" by Jimi Hendrix, yes. I found, and I say this without irony, DeVille's version to be clever and have an interesting voice; much as I love Medeski, Martin & Wood's instrumental version for it's sluggish, churning spaciness.

And version of a dark song about a man fleeing to Mexico performed as an upbeat version with a distinctly Mexican vibe also has a certain interesting irony to it in a literal sense: it's not what you would expect, which forces you to approach the song differently as a listener.

So, like I said, awesome cover, Almaz!

Eric Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 1:28:00 PM EST  

Oh, this is interesting, too--wrong, in that DeVille apparently thought the song originated along the border when it appears to have been written by a South Carolinian living in California, but interesting:

"DeVille said about 'Hey Joe': 'The song originally comes from the Texas-Mexico border area ... [T]hey call it Texico. I tried, instead of doing something that sounded like Jimi Hendrix that would have been a cliché, I tried to take the song back to the way that it must originally have sounded, which would be with mariachis. It's classic, but it's classic with a little twist. A little different. I put a bit of pachuco Canal Street slang talking. I added a couple of verses of my own.'"

(Source: Wikipedia.)

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