Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out Today: Cat Power - Jukebox

From the opening song on Jukebox, Frank Sinatra’s “New York,” it’s obvious that on Cat Power’s second cover record she’s going to make the songs her own.

While Sinatra may not be that big of a stretch, the next track, Hank Williams' classic “Ramblin’ Man” (which she dubs “Ramblin' (Wo)man”) is quite the contrary. With the help of her band, The Dirty Delta Blues Band, she’s gives all the songs on Jukebox a new life, though it may be a somber, heartbroken life.

Cat Power breathes life into “Silver Stallion,” a song by The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson). As great as the collective members of The Highwaymen were, their production is very dated (hello, 1990), but Cat Power brings the soulfulness out in the song by leaving production to the bare minimum.

The album features a new version of “Metal Heart,” from Cat Power’s 1998 album Moon Pix as well as one new original song, “Song For Bobby.” Both songs are beautifully arranged and written leaving plenty of room for Chan’s haunting voice.

While the album lacks a cohesive theme or genre, Cat Power has put together a strong album full of obscure song choices by many legends of music. Most people wouldn’t have the gumption to cover Hank Williams, James Brown, Janis Joplin and The Highwaymen on the same record, but she makes it work without seeming too contrived. We still can’t wait to hear a new record of originals, though.


Here’s a complete track list with the artists who made the song famous:

New York (Frank Sinatra)
Ramblin’ (Wo)man (Hank Williams)
Metal Heart (Cat Power)
Silver Stallion (The Highwaymen)
Aretha, Sing One For Me (George Jackson)
Lost Someone (James Brown)
Lord, Help the Poor & Needy (Jessie Mae Hemphill)
I Believe In You (Bob Dylan)
Song For Bobby (Cat Power)
Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday)
Woman Left Lonely (Janis Joplin)
Blue (Joni Mitchell)

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