The Curious Case of Artists Covering Full Albums

Twang-rockers Old Crow Medicine Show will release a full cover of Bob Dylan’s 1966 album Blonde On Blonde as their first album for Columbia Nashville.  Recorded live last year at the Country Music Hall Of Fame, 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde will be issued on April 28th.  Here’s a taster:

Artists covering full albums is more common than you might imagine.  Between 2009 and 2010, Beck and a back-up band recorded covers of 5 albums, ranging from INXS’ Kick to Yanni’s At The Acropolis, with, it must be said, mixed results (e.g. the INXS one is muck).

It’s an interesting concept.  The key to a good cover version is to keep the spirit of the original while infusing it with the sound of the artist interpreting it.  To extend this over a full album and do it justice is no mean feat.  Here’s a list of 5 great full albums covered:

  1. Easy Star All-Stars: Radiodread (2006) – OK Computer Reggaefied

Highlights: Subterranean Homesick Alien, No Surprises, the horns on Paranoid Android


2. Ryan Adams: 1989 (2015) – Taylor Swift with added gravitas

No “Ironic” cover this, Adams loves T.Swift’s record.  And why wouldn’t he?


3. Camper Van Beethoven: Tusk (2002) – Fleetwood Mac’s mountains of gak replaced with mountains of reverb

Recorded in 4 days.  Rumours is the huge seller, but Lindsey Buckingham’s folly is the go-to Mac album for the cool kids


4. The Smithereens: Meet The Smithereens (2007) – Lovable Moptops transposed to the 21st Century

Note-for-note cover of Meet The Beatles, with slightly more advanced recording facilities.  Meet The Beatles is the prototype Power-Pop album, perfect for these boys


5. Primus: Primus & The Chocolate Factory (2014) – Willy Wonka Soundtrack to your nightmares