I haven't read Melissa's blog in a few days so I didn't realize she had tagged me and Jimmy for our versions of great cover songs until Carla told me yesterday. Melissa, I apologize sweetie; the last time I read your blog there was food on it. Anyway, I read it, and I also read Jimmys response. I have to say that I agree with Jimmy about Patti Smith's version of Van Morrison's Gloria. I think it is, hands down, one of the greatest cover songs ever. As far as I'm concerned she does a great cover of the Byrds Rock 'n Roll Star too. She does it with so much more feeling than they do.
It's really hard to pick out good covers; so many of the bad ones come to mind. I recently heard some one doing Aerosmiths Dream On. The song sucked when Mr Tyler and Co. recorded it and it sucks even more in it's new incarnation. But there are some good covers. I like Jimi Hendrix doing "All Along the Watchtower" , it's excellent. And I also like U2 doing the same song, maybe just a bit more than Hendrix:
Moving out of the realm of rock, the Irish band Altan, does a wonderful cover of Bob Dylan's Girl of the North Country. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh has a wonderfully sweet voice which I love. Johnny Cash has covered this song too; his version is passable, but I like Altans better.
I recently heard a cover of Solas doing Darkness Darkness which was written by Jesse Colin Young and recorded by the Youngbloods. I always liked the song; it was one of those that I would occasionally hear and think "Oh I should get that song" and then it would slip to the back of my mind until the next time I heard it. Until Solas, that is. Then it was "I need that song in my Celtic music line up" and it has joined the playlist of my favorite Celtic songs. I couldn't find a video of them doing it on YouTube, but I found this great video of then doing "Coconut Dog/Morning Dew". It is a cover of traditional Irish music, and if you ask me any of a number of the really good Celtic bands covering jigs, reels and old ballads are every bit as good as rock covers. (Melissa, did you really think I could do this without mentioning traditional music?)