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Florence and the Machine and Billy Bragg - Fairytale Of New York
December 24, 2009 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Florence and the Machine and Billy Bragg - Fairytale Of New York - Live in Session Video of Florence and the Machine and Billy Bragg performing Fairytale Of New York Live in Session on BBC Radio 1 SLYT
posted by Sailormom (36 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks!
And another version, featuring Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan. Thanks, Deadspin!
posted by inigo2 at 9:31 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a dreadful cover. I'd expect nothing less from Florence & The Machine, having heard their murderization of The Souce & Candi Staton classic - 'You Got The Love', but roping in Billy Bragg... that's unforgivable!
posted by metaxa at 9:38 AM on December 24, 2009


I agree that this is not good, and I love Florence and the Machine. I expected much better from these very talented musicians. Perhaps this proves how great the original is (or at least the popular MacGowan version, I don't know if that is the original)
posted by leading question at 9:53 AM on December 24, 2009


call me when Lucinda Williams hooks up with Tom Waits.
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


having heard their murderization of The Souce & Candi Staton classic

Actually, that cash-in release always sounded to me like a murderization of the true original and classic Frankie Knuckles (or Jamie Principle)/Candi Staton mashup bootleg
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:16 AM on December 24, 2009


Clarification: not that particular remix, but all of The Source versions. If it isn't mashed with Frankie Knuckles/Jamie Principle's 'Your Love', that song just never sounds right to me. Presumably, it's an MDMA imprinting thing.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:18 AM on December 24, 2009


Eh, I don't really know what to say. I don't really like to harp on music posts as who am I to judge people's tastes, etc., but I'm starting to second-guess myself a bit here. Is it me, or was that just really uninspired? Full disclosure: yes I all but worship both MacGowan and Bragg and am sort of indifferent to Florence + the Machine, and I love this song to pieces.

So what's with the flat delivery and the constant glancing at lyric sheets? It's an angry love song, for chrissakes. Although I must admit that Florence nails the "well so could anyone" line like a well-placed kick in the nuts.

I'd like to repent for such flagrant negativity -- on Christmas Eve, no less -- by posting a more pleasant (IMHO) intersection of Bragg and MacColl. And, while we're at it, a rowdier performance by Bragg with the MacColl verse appended.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The the XX remix of You Got the Love is glorious.

I also quite like the Boy 8 Bit and Jack Beats remixes of Drumming Song.
posted by empath at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked it.
posted by rtha at 10:22 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And while we're doing some unrepentant Poguery, why not remind ourselves of possibly the best use of the band as a soundtrack: Jimmy McNulty smashing up his car (twice) on The Wire. Spoiler-free.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:23 AM on December 24, 2009


a bit too soft for me, having retreated to the Pogues version (see inigo2) at xmastime for these many years. MacGowan's sloppy harshness against the anger in MacColl's delivery, stacked against the plain prettiness of the melody and the playing, really make it into a wonderful little mini-drama.
posted by lodurr at 10:23 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I must admit that Florence nails the "well so could anyone" line like a well-placed kick in the nuts.

Yeh, it looks like she took the opposite route to Kirsty M. in the Pogues version. Kirsty seemed to make her character angry until she gets to that line when she allows a little pity; Florence (is that her name? I don't know these folks) seems to repress until that point. MacColl's choice feels more like the women I've known at that place in a bad relationship. So it's an acting choice that works better for me, if you will.

Bragg just didn't really feel like "Billy Bragg" on this one. Maybe it's that I haven't listened to anything he's done in a long time. (Not that I dislike him -- I used to love his work. just lost track.)
posted by lodurr at 10:29 AM on December 24, 2009


I wouldn't have known about this without the post, so I liked it.
posted by Edward L at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2009


Boyzone's Ronan Keating and Clannad's Moya Brennan, for those of you who want to be driven to hate music forever. Seriously, if you have any love for the song, The Pogues, Christmas or life itself, do not click.
posted by permafrost at 10:37 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


at least the popular MacGowan version, I don't know if that is the original

It is. MacColl was not even supposed to be on it, she was just doing reference vocals (as a favor to her husband, the producer), but they gelled so well that she was kept for the studio recording and performed it live (e.g. Top of the Pops).

I'm not sure if the vocal mix for this version (Florence/Billy) is lousy or it's just too weak musically. I think Billy is fine (except for vocal miscues) and I actually like the handling of the execrably sentimental, precipitously song-wrecking third verse better than the original. But generally, yes, this particular performance at least seems oddly unprepared and uninspired. Certainly there is little implied or overt chemistry for what is supposed to be a deeply felt duet.

I don't want to make the original sacred, even as a memorial to Kirsty, but you do need to hit this one out of the park to own it.
posted by dhartung at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Terrible quality, but an oddly satisfying Coldplay version of Fairytale, in Dublin, at Christmas.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:41 AM on December 24, 2009


Well, I really liked it, thanks. I see what everyone's saying, but still. Billy Bragg is the rarest of all pop stars, the kind who seems to stay relevant and human as he matures.

Yes, everyone, we all know how he was so much better in the 80s when you were cool and listening to him, but I think he is still an incredible artist who's always worth listening to.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:42 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's an hour-long documentary on the song from 2005 available on youtube, which I thought well of when it aired.
posted by rollick at 10:44 AM on December 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


dehartung, that's a great closer, and it strikes me as true: It's one of those songs that you have to have your heart into in order to sell it at all.
posted by lodurr at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2009


This makes me stabby.
posted by ryoshu at 10:50 AM on December 24, 2009


Most out-of-place version: Swedish church band
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:56 AM on December 24, 2009


Oh so sad. Both of them reading the lyrics like they've never heard the song before. (Maybe they haven't?) Plus a harp. Ugh.

Here's how it's supposed to be done. Banjo, busted teeth, Porsche shades, a drunken hug -- and on St. Paddy's Day. Merry f'in Xmas everyone!
posted by turducken at 11:07 AM on December 24, 2009


Wonderful post! I adore the Stars cover too. Unabashed sentimentality is okay today, folks.
posted by Sfving at 11:21 AM on December 24, 2009


Oh, permafrost, that's painful!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 12:30 PM on December 24, 2009


And while we're doing some unrepentant Poguery, why not remind ourselves of possibly the best use of the band as a soundtrack: Jimmy McNulty smashing up his car (twice) on The Wire. Spoiler-free.


The Pogues + The Wire, and it's not 'The Body of an American'? (I'd post a link, but any I could find would probably have spoilers).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:54 PM on December 24, 2009


Florence does a much nicer Halo.
posted by creeky at 1:24 PM on December 24, 2009




Here's how it's supposed to be done.

When the crowd came in and sang, "Well so could anyone," I burst out crying.
posted by elmer benson at 2:02 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, this settles it for me.

I've had this daydream for a long time about getting the Iowa City alt-country music scene together in one place some Christmas to play this song live. Maybe at the end of some charity concert or something. I'm not going to link to 'em, 'cause it could end up looking like self-linking, but getting Greg Brown, Dave Moore, Bo Ramsey, Dave Zollo, Kelly Pardekooper, Dave Olson, Tom Jessen together -- all they guys I looked up to and got to work with back in the early part of the '00's. Each of them could sing a verse or a part of a verse, and maybe Amy Finders could sing Kirsty's part. All the side-guys would be crowded onto the stage, too, singing the the background or joking around. If you've ever lived in Iowa City, you could probably imagine it happening- at whatever Gabe's is called now, or the Yacht Club or some other dive bar.

In my mind, it's a drunken rave-up and a helluva good time.

I have now changed my mind, because this video taught me a lesson: No matter how much you love other artists, do not let them sing Shane MacGowan's part. There's an artistry there a mere mortal could not capture.
posted by elmer benson at 2:25 PM on December 24, 2009


"The the XX remix of You Got the Love is glorious."

posted by empath at 10:19 AM on December 2
Quoted for trouth, in case you missed it.
My favourite song of 2009.
posted by ts;dr at 5:10 PM on December 24, 2009


Has no one mentioned this version yet? No Use For a Name. Rocks a lot harder than most of the covers, which is why I love it. They didn't bother trying to do the same thing the Pogues did.
posted by brina at 5:48 PM on December 24, 2009


The the XX remix of You Got the Love is glorious.

No.... it kinda sux.
posted by Doohickie at 5:48 PM on December 24, 2009


That's a melody that makes my hair stand on end. Looks like I'm in the majority though, in disdaining Florence's lockjawed performance. Kirsty McColl is a hard act to follow.

No Use for Name's version has potential...make the third-verse insult exchange into good-natured ribbing, and completely reverse the feeling of the whole thing.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:52 PM on December 24, 2009


If we have to have a cover around, can we just go with this one?
posted by pupdog at 6:53 AM on December 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Previously


There's an hour-long documentary on the song from 2005 available on youtube , which I thought well of when it aired.


Thanks for linking to that as I remember it as great when I saw it ont he TV.. unfortunately I also remember it having the hideous Keating version in it...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:44 PM on December 26, 2009


Sadly, I think the Swedish kids singing in church got the closest. I think the word we've all been looking for is "bloodless."

Another awful cover, but for just a half second, right when the chorus comes in, something beautiful happens. But then they keep going and the whole thing sinks back into the sludge.
posted by Limiter at 6:40 PM on December 26, 2009


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