Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If I Were A Carpenter - Various Artists


This is the first compilation we've done dedicated to the songs of a particular band or artist.  Fittingly, it is this 1994 tribute to The Carpenters, one of the most sublimely beautiful pop groups of the last 50 years.  Astoundingly, it is one of the most avant garde bands of the last 50 years, Sonic Youth, who provide the best track on this compilation, with their version of Superstar.  Its so good, it has pretty much ruined the original for me.

There are a couple of very pedestrian tracks on If I Were A Carpenter, none more so than the very bland version of Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft by Babes In Toyland.  Thankfully, it is tracks like Dishwalla's updated groove of It's Going To Take Some Time, Cracker's subdued version of Rainy Days And Mondays, Shonen Knife's hilarious Top Of The World and Redd Kross' rocking version of Yesterday Once More that make up for the few dodgy tracks.

If you're a die-hard Carpenters fan, you might want to avoid this but for the rest of us, this is a wonderful tribute to a truly talented duo.



When we were looking for compilations to do, I voted for this album months ago - but weirdly it vanished, only to reappear this month, when we were looking for a different compilation to do.  How strange is that?  It reappeared in the kitchen, which is no surprise as I'd classify this as the ultimate in cooking music - all these songs I know all the words to, but done with a different twist.  Seriously, you can't listen to Shonen Knife's version of Top of the World without a smile on your face.

I once lent this album to a friend who was a mad Carpenters fan, and got it back pretty quickly with the verdict that it "ruined" the songs.  But I don't agree.  I'm a big fan of the tribute compilation album  (we have another, for Aussie band Cold Chisel, that's pretty awesome too) and fully expect to keep on buying them in the future.  (YourZ sez: don't we have one for The Go-Betweens as well?)

I have to admit I love Grant Lee Buffalo's version of We've only Just Begun  the most.  Makes me cry.


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