Tuesday, June 14, 2016

NSDLD Cover of the Day: Lucinda Williams is "Tryin' to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door" plus "The Rising"

If you were going to create a Mt. Rushmore for the genre loosely known as country-rock, Lucinda Williams would have to be one of the four artists on it. (Who'd be the others? Let me know your thoughts down where the drunkards roll in the comments section.) For me, "Tryin' to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door" was the greatest song on Time Out of Mind, so I'm especially glad Lucinda decided to make it a staple in her live sets between 2013 and 2015. This version is from a semi-acoustic show with Doug Pettibone on February 2, 2103, at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Thanks to Perks for the recording!

Tryin' to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door - Lucinda Williams

Today's bonus cut is Lucinda's cover of "The Rising," the title track from Bruce Springsteen's 9-11 inspired Grammy-winning album. I'm a huge Springsteen fan, but his post-Tom Joad studio work has left me mostly cold. It's just too big for my taste--the sounds overpower the songs. For me, Lucinda gets this one just right. It's from her performance on June 22, 2015, in Ocean City, New Jersey.

The Rising - Lucinda Williams

Thanks Ed Tyre for the recording!

Monday, June 13, 2016

NSDLD Cover of the Day: "The Man in Me" by Jeff Bridges with Jackson Browne

Who can forget the classic moment in The Big Lebowski when The Dude soars over the city to the sound of His Bobness singing "The Man in Me"? Not me, and evidently not Jeff Bridges, who has taken to covering the song in his sets when he's out moonlighting as a country-rock crooner. The version here features harmonies from Jackson Browne, and comes from a benefit Browne headlined for The Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara*, a housing and treatment center for severely mentally disabled persons. Bridges introduces it by saying "This one's for the Dude"--I couldn't agree more.

The Man in Me - Jeff Bridges w/ Jackson Browne

Thanks Scooter123 for the recording!

*The web page for this worthy charity is at www.spcsb.org--anyone who donates gets free downloads on this site for life.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

NSDLD Cover of the Day: "Pressing On" by John Doe
Plus John Lennon's "Imagine" covered by Michael Stipe

First, my apologies to those who had trouble with yesterday's dropbox link. I have switched to sendspace, which seems to be working fine. So if you couldn't download Eric Clapton's cover of "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" yesterday, you should be able to now. Also, if you want to get updates on the daily covers, sign up here or follow me on Twitter; I'm not sure if the Expecting Rain links will continue.

Today's Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan cover is "Pressing On," performed by John Doe (with Cindy Wasserman), from April 15, 2015 at the Hollywood Palladium, where he opened for the Replacements. Doe also sang this on the soundtrack of Todd Haynes's wonderful filmic mediation on Dylan, I'm Not There. He's got a new album out called The Westerner and a memoir about his early days on the L.A. punk scene as one of the founders of X called Under the Big Black Sun.

Pressing On - John Doe

Thanks BLG for sharing this splendid recording.

Pressing on is what the people in Orlando are trying to do--they have had a bad few days. On Friday night, young singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed while signing autographs after her show; Saturday night, more than 100 people were shot and and at least 50 of them were killed while out at a club trying to have a good time. I don't know what the killers' motives were, but I know one thing they had in common: they had guns the whole civilized world now wishes they hadn't. Everyone should do what they can to change this--at the very least, if you are an American citizen, you should vote. 

Both of these tragedies struck people who were out listening to music--which is sad, since music is one of the most healing things we have in what some wise person once called our "world gone wrong." One of the most peaceful, healing songs ever written is "Imagine," by John Lennon. Here it is, performed by Michael Stipe, opening for Patti Smith, at New York's Beacon Theater on November 10, 2015.
 Imagine - Michael Stipe

Thanks Neil D for the historic recording, and thanks John for the song, which can come in handy on a night like this.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan Cover of the Day:
"I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" by Eric Clapton


For several years, I periodically compiled and shared Bob Dylan cover CDs by various artists under the title Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan through the site dimeadozen.org. (The track listing for the whole series is here.*) The last one, Volume 40, was done about four years ago, and I moved on to other things. But I didn't stop collecting Dylan covers. Now, I'm going to try sharing them, one a day, here on Small Figures in a Vast Expanse. If people seem to like getting them this way, I'll continue; if not, we can all move on again.

First up is Eric Clapton doing "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," live in Tokyo on April 19, 2016. (It's also on his new studio album I Still Do, so if you like it here you can buy it there.) Clapton's been covering Dylan a long time, including a great version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and a duet with Dylan on "Sign Language" from his 1976 album No Reason to Cry. I got to see him at the 30th anniversary Bobfest live at Madison Square Garden, where he did beautiful versions of "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "Don't Think Twice It's Alright," as well as taking a verse on "My Back Pages." His version of "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" is great, and it's a song that doesn't get covered much, so I'm happy to start this new series with it. Enjoy, comment, sign up here for updates, or follow me on twitter.

Thanks to Tom and Jerry for taping and sharing this and The Naniwa Hot Brothers for sound editing!

I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Live) - Eric Clapton **

**Apologies to those who had trouble with the dropbox link. I have switched to sendspace. Please let me know in the comments if there is any trouble with this one.

* I've since changed computers and don't have these in any organized way, so I can't repost them. But they're out in the world--if there's something you are looking for, please post in the comments and someone may be able to help you out. That goes for any tracks prior to this one on this blog too.