Critical Karaoke Episode 4:
Some interesting themes emerge over the course of this episode. By and large we are talking about “cover songs.” But invariably end up on the political ramifications of covering an existing piece of music. What are the implications when a white artist covers a black artist? Are the implications different when the situation is reversed? How does the past play into such considerations? Does distance from a recording or event change our interpretation of any given cover song?
What do you think? Let’s keep the conversation going. Leave us a reply below!
If you would like to get into greater depth with such questions, here are some of the readings that inform our own considerations:
- The notion of putting on another person’s “musical skin” is drawn from the concept of “the mask” as introduced by Eric Lott’s discussion of blackface minstrelsy in his book Love and Theft.
- On Fletcher Henderson: Jeff Magee’s book The Uncrowned King of Swing.
- On Jelly Roll Morton & “King Porter Stomp: Jeff Magee’s article “‘King Proter Stomp’ and the Jazz Tradition”
- On the concepts of “authenticity” and “aura”: Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”
- Gerrard Winstanley’s pamphlet The Law of Freedom in a Platform
- Christopher Hill’s book The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas During the English Revolution.
Episode 4 Audio: More than 2.5 hours of listening!
And of course there is the music. Lots and lots of music. In addition to the three central songs discussed, we mention, reference, or play the recordings listed below. Items not included in the above Spotify play list are given as hyperlinks. Enjoy!
Band Name Pop Quiz:
- The Dead Milkmen – Bitchin’ Camaro
- Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
- AC/DC – For Those About to Rock
- Van Halen – Jump
- The Go Go’s – We Got the Beat
- Killers – Mr. Brightside
- Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
- Oasis – Wonderwall
- Foo Fighters – My Hero
- Roxy Music – More Than This
- Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
- Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song
“No Diggity” by Blackstreet
- Anna Kendrick as Beca in Pitch Perfect
- Chet Faker from Thinking in Textures
- Paddy Casey with the Dublin Gospel Choir
- Postmodern Jukebox
- Ed Sheeran
- “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers
- “Friday” by Rebecca Black
- “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice as covered by Ben Kweller
- “Bitches Ain’t Shit” by Dr. Dre as covered by Ben Folds
- “Natural Woman” by Carole King as covered by Aretha Franklin
- “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan as covered by Jimi Hendrix
- “Proud Mary” by Credence Clearwater Revival as covered by Ike and Tina Turner
- “I Heard it through the Grapevine” by Credence Clearwater Revival as covered by Marvin Gaye
Air Break #1:
“All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan as covered by Jimi Hendrix
“King Porter Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton
- Benny Goodman (1935)
- Fletcher Henderson (1928)
- Morton’s interviews with Alan Lomax
- “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince as covered by Sinéad O’Connor
- Benny Goodman’s radio program Let’s Dance
Air Break #2:
“Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order as covered by Frente!
“The World Turned Upside Down” by Leon Rosselson
- Billy Bragg
- Dick Gaughan