Bob Seger’s new album, Ride Out, isn’t all Seger tunes but what choices he made for covers! You can’t go wrong with writers like John Hiatt, Steve Earle, and Woody Guthrie. “Detroit Made” is from Hiatt’s Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns, 2011, and is a perfect tune for Seger to take on and the result is a stronger bass drum, more rock overall, and a brilliant cover by Seger and friends. The covers are of that variety; he makes them sound like Seger. Don’t forget too, he has always done covers.
Imelda May’s Tribal maintains her authentic sound, though—as with her previous albums—Imelda is never just about rockabilly. The primary sound is rockabilly and no wonder with Darrel Higham for a husband and band mate. So you are guaranteed great guitar throughout, yet Imelda May’s music is certainly not a single groove. If there is a weakness in Tribal it’s its variety. It would be nice to hear more songs in certain of the directions explored on Tribal.
There are so many cover albums these days, with even great bands recovering their old material, that it’s difficult to get excited about them anymore. We seem to be reliving that time in the 50s when the jazz dudes and Rat Pack folk were doing the Vegas thing while the other music, rock and roll, emerged. Paul Rodgers put out a long overdue release, though it’s covers and really reduces Rodgers to a voice.
Let’s pretend “Have a Cigar” refers to a birth of one of the best acoustic guitarists and singer-songwriters to come out of the UK in many years, instead of a tune from the 70s that may haunt this young man in peculiar ways. Yes, Nick Harper is Roy Harper’s son and his first band would have been his father’s, with which he toured back in 1985 with band mates that included Jimmy Page, Steve Broughton, and Tony Franklin. With that kind of heritage it may be difficult for the younger Harper to be appreciated as an artist in his own right. That seems to be the case, though he’s a phenomenal guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Don’t get us wrong, he is appreciated—just not enough.