Take this song and cover it!
April 24, 2011 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Straight outta the Department of Obscure and Unlikely Covers, here's Hank Crawford's version of Johnny Paycheck's Take This Job and Shove It.

The [more inside]? I'm hoping it'll be those cover tunes that you, dear fellow Mefites, will dig up from those dusty vaults, deep within the Department of Obscure and Unlikely Covers. Ideally, that would be links to the unlikely cover and the original, whenever possible.
posted by flapjax at midnite (59 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
An album of such: When Pigs Fly.

Here's the YT of the first, Jackie Chan and Ani diFranco singing 'Unforgettable' and a more likely version by a couple of Nat Coles.
posted by titus-g at 5:56 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Loving the Crawford. Additionally, Shove This Jay Oh Bee by Canibus.
posted by The White Hat at 6:01 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ice-T and Tupac singing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"

(incorrectly credited to Saturday Night Live, was actually from Roseane Barr's incredibly short lived Saturday Night Special)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:03 AM on April 24, 2011 [7 favorites]

The Yayhoos (Dan Baird from the Georgia Satellites) do a deliciously southern rock version of ABBA's Dancing Queen.
posted by COD at 6:05 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

A couple more album collections that possibly fit the bill:

Guilt by Association: WikipediA, Myspace - Indie covers of pop/rock classics (many improving on the original.

Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and ChanteysMost by to-be-expected folk artists, but one or two you wouldn't

I'll leave it there or it'll end in Japanoise covers of horror surf classics, and I should be working.
posted by titus-g at 6:12 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's Bread's "If."

And the same song by Telly Savalas.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:12 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

In the 80's there was a radio station in Syracuse, New York called "Y-94" that would have an end of the week segment that involved "Take This Job and Shove It." It was called "The Shove It Line." Leading up to five o'clock, people would call the DJ and tell their employer to "shove it." It would go something like this, "Hi, this is Debbie at McDonald's telling Steve and all the other managers that they can shove it!" or "Dan and all the other mechanics at Cole Muffler want to tell Cole Muffler they can shove it!"

These people weren't quitting. They were celebrating the end of the week. The segment was very popular and they would play ten or so people dedicating a "shove it" every week.

Well, as fate and logic would have it, someone got fired for going on the radio and telling his employee to shove it. Y-94 instantly stopped the segment. They would still play the song Fridays at five, but "The Shove It Line" was no more.
posted by flarbuse at 6:27 AM on April 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I suddenly want to hear "Take This Job and Shove It" covered by Coach Z. "Take this jyarb and shorve it!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:34 AM on April 24, 2011

Thanks for that list, Joey Michaels, although I gotta say, a lot of those really don't seem all that unlikely...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:41 AM on April 24, 2011

...you wouldn't think he'd have the time to learn how to cover basically every song.

Well, dude doesn't have a day job or anything.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine once collected an entire disk (19 versions) of covers of Dolly Parton's "Jolene". From straight bluegrass to Finnish metal, Japanese dance to ambient, it's quite something to listen to. Not sure what to 8do* with it, but...
posted by notsnot at 6:43 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I started doing that (collecting all the covers) with the song Summertime once; gave up as I figured soon it would be scriptable, and lo http://www.coversproject.com/search?q=summertime
posted by titus-g at 6:53 AM on April 24, 2011

(e.d. not that that's a particularly good list, as it's missing both the Billy Stewart and Love Sculpture versions).
posted by titus-g at 6:56 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

don't seem all that unlikely...

I got on a roll. Most of them are actually on a bootleg of his called Such Unlikely Covers, which is a pun on one of his songs' titles and not a statement of actual oddness. Truth be told, since he covers almost everything, I suppose its silly to call any of his covers unlikely. I retract my earlier list of songs. Feel free to ignore it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2011

Rhythm & Country Blues

That collection of "unlikely" pairings is actually a brilliant reminder from the relatively recent past (the 90s) that several decades earlier in American musical history, before these genres and musico-socio-racial constructs and divisions were solidly formulated and propagated, *black* music and *white* music were a lot more intertwined than people think.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:20 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I dug up some covers from one of my favorite old cds circa 1994: Rhythm & Country Blues. Not totally unlikely covers, but the pairing of duos from r&b are a little quirky and make them gems, imo.

Man, I had totally forgotten about that album. My mother LOVED it, so it was a big part of my childhood. Half those songs I originally heard in that format, which is kind of weird, although I still love that version of "Patches."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:22 AM on April 24, 2011

From Brave Combo, the bravest of the bizzaro cover bands:

Hey Jude
(with tiny tim, no less)

Dance of the Hours

People are Strange

Mission Impossible Theme

Hokey Pokey

posted by tommyD at 7:27 AM on April 24, 2011

Al Green & Lyle Lovett - Funny How Time Slips Away

And Al Green had actually covered that tune long before his duet with Lovett. It appears on his classic Call Me (1973) release, as does his cover of country icon Hank William's I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 AM on April 24, 2011


or Williams's

or, my preference, Williams's's's
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:34 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

And, getting back to Take this Job and Shove It, here's living legend (and current hardest working man in show business) Eugene Chadbourne's version.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:43 AM on April 24, 2011

Hayseed Dixie has made a career out of doing bluegrass covers of metal songs, especially AC/DC songs:

Highway To Hell
You Shook Me All Night Long
Bohemian Rhapsody <--- worth hearing
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:46 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, but madamejujujive, I am compelled to mention, regarding this:

I didn't find all the originals - but here are a few:

The Weight - Jackie DeSannon

The original was from The Band*

*and this version, from the Last Waltz also featured guest collaborators the fabulous Staple Singers.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:51 AM on April 24, 2011

Bedhead made a poignant, or at least interesting, cover of Cher's Believe, recording the refrain bit of the song from phone's push button tones.
posted by Flashman at 8:01 AM on April 24, 2011

try again The Replacements -- Kumbaya
posted by puny human at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2011

If you like Hayseed Dixie, Saturday Night Hay Fever might also be up your alley. Bluegrass covers of disco tunes.
posted by immlass at 8:39 AM on April 24, 2011

Ok, so it's an arrangement instead of a cover, but this was my introduction to Tom Waits way back when. Cole Porter's It's Alright With Me from the Red Hot and Blue album. If you're unfamiliar with this album, and have any affinity for Porter's music, I highly recommend checking it out. More roses than thorns, and some real gems from the likes of Annie Lennox and K.D. Lang.
posted by calamari kid at 9:16 AM on April 24, 2011

It was 1977 union factory jobs were still abundant enough to allow the common man to just tell their asshole foreman that they were done. It might be the loss of a lover or the daily grind of making the same weld over an over again while no one appreciated the artistry or cared about quality. The entire conservative wave was built on the myth of soullessness of that era. It is like proto-fight club.
posted by humanfont at 9:23 AM on April 24, 2011

How about Einstürzende Neubauten's oddly straightforward (for them) cover of Sand, originally by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood?
posted by mubba at 9:27 AM on April 24, 2011

Oh, and:

The Austin Lounge Lizards cover Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage"

The Austin Lounge Lizards merit an FPP. Someone get on that.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:38 AM on April 24, 2011

Eclectic covers, you say? I know you said unlikely but oboy *rubs hands*
Schneider TM - The Light 3000 Smiths cover
Steve & Eydie - Black Hole Sun via b3ta podcast a looong time ago
The Boss Hoss - Hey ya Outkast country/bluegrass. And remember Rodeohead from a while back...
anything by
Nouvelle Vague
Dune - Who wants to live forever NB "ridiculous 90s Euro rave covers" is a post which must never happen
Bonus crazyness Destiny's Child - Bills Bills Bills (James Blake Remix)

posted by yoHighness at 9:47 AM on April 24, 2011

My personal fav: No Woman No Cry - Nenes (Japan)
posted by moonbird at 9:51 AM on April 24, 2011

I believe "take this job and shove it" was actually written by David Allen Coe.
posted by snofoam at 10:13 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I always thought the Nina Gordon song was oddly pretty.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:32 AM on April 24, 2011

Has anyone linked to this previous thread on AskMefi?

I'd like to add 'This Flight Tonight' by Joni Mitchell and then Nazareth

and 'Mad World' by Tears for Fears and then Gary Jules (charming original video)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:59 AM on April 24, 2011

Los Lobos doing "I want to Be Like You" from the Stay Awake compilation that also has the Sun Ra version of "Pink Elephants

And from another great compilation September Songs, the Music of Kurt Weill, Lou Reed doing the title song,
posted by readery at 11:28 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

And Nazareth covering Joni Mitchell is just awesome!
posted by readery at 11:32 AM on April 24, 2011

A few by Max Raabe, because there are few songs that can't be improved by doing them big-band stylie with a strong German accent.

Oops I did it again (video is for the original, so it's both in one.)

Sex Bomb, a death metal version (not Max, Ten Masked Men ), and the original

Tainted Love, and the Gloria Jones original

and to tie in with the Joni Mitchell/Nazareth one...

Diamonds and Rust: Judas P. vs. Joan B.
posted by titus-g at 12:02 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Sweet Emotion" was originally by Aerosmith. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones did a frenetic ska cover, and Chick Corea did an almost unrecognisable Cajun-swamp-banjo cover. (It's unfortunate that I can't find a link, because it is so very very good.)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 12:09 PM on April 24, 2011

Always liked this-- Bigod 20 - Like a Prayer
posted by wildcrdj at 12:57 PM on April 24, 2011

Stay Awake is one of the best unlikely cover albums ever.

Here's my unlikeliest from that album: Tom Wait's Heigh Ho and the original from Snow White
posted by marsha56 at 1:41 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don Ho - Shock the Monkey
posted by moonbird at 1:50 PM on April 24, 2011

Love Sculpture's Summertime

And Billy Stewart's version.

Thanks to titus-g for pointing me to these and thanks also for introducing me to Max Raabe. Amazing.
posted by marsha56 at 4:03 PM on April 24, 2011

Back in middle school (30 years ago) we came up with a version called "Take This @($ and Lick It" which was about a disgruntled Playboy photographer who was fed up with the photography and was telling his employer he was quitting. I guess I'll stop right there, but it obliquely pays homage to the "dream job" that most 1970s boys always professed to have (somewhere below 'fireman' and 'astronaut').
posted by crapmatic at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2011

The Bobs - Whole Lotta Love

The Bobs have at least two albums of nothing but covers. They manage to get out of the "oh, look, an a cappella cover" trap by being just too damn clever, such as coming up with a lovely version of Light My Fire as a madrigal.

I really like the Balanescu Quartet, the string quartet who covered a bunch of Kraftwerk songs in 1992. A brilliant stroke of digital-to-analog conversion.

You can find all the clips on YouTube (including a hypnotic Computer Love and Autobahn) but my favorite is a live version of The Model they performed on the late, lamented Sessions at West 54th program.

This model of The Model comes complete with theremin and guest vocalist/dancer David Byrne.
posted by Spatch at 10:33 PM on April 24, 2011

The Persuasions did some phenomenal covers. One of my most seemingly incongruous favourites -- Ripple
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:56 AM on April 25, 2011

Dion, Purple Haze
the Lost Dimension, Purple Haze
Kronos Quartet, Purple Haze

No love for Johnny Jones and the King Casuals? Purple Haze
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:08 AM on April 25, 2011

I didn't realize until a few years ago that "Johnny Paycheck" was a play on "Johnny Cash."

There's a weird bit of intersection of Johnny Paycheck and Chicago soul. On 1971's She's All I Got, a comeback album of sorts, he did two songs by the Jerry Butler-Calvin Carter-Curtis Mayfield songwriting team: "He Will Break Your Heart" and "You Once Lived Here." Years later Mavis Staples contributed to a tribute album with "Touch My Heart."
posted by hydrophonic at 7:40 AM on April 25, 2011

Voltaire Coin Operated Goi => Dresden Dolls Coin Operated Boy

Yat Kha In A Gadda Da Vida => Iron Butterfly - From their album of (Tuvan throat sung) covers, also includes:

1. When The Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin)
2. Man Machine (Kraftwerk)
3. Ramblin’ Man (Hank Williams)
4. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly)
5. Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
6. Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles (Captain Beefheart)
7. Song About A Giraffe (Vladimir Vysotskiy)
8. Orgasmatron (Motorhead)
9. Will You Go, Lassie, Go? (Mcpeake Family)
10. Toccata (Paul Mauriat)
11. Black Magic Woman (Carlos Santana Version)
12. Exodus (Bob Marley)
13. Play With Fire (Rolling Stones)
14. Song Of Mergen (Alexei Tchyrgal-Ool)

Bonus covers by: The Simpsons, Slayer, Boney M, The Incredible Bongo Band, Siniestro Total {Galician Punk}, Blind Guardian {German fantasy/power/speed metal}, Mongo Santamaria {Latin} (link is spotify), Nguyên Lê {world/jazz} (spotify again), Vesa-Matti Loiri {Finnish funnyman}, Joe McBride {Lounge}, Nash the Slash {Odd}, Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper {Psychobilly [+church of the SubGenius member]} - and now I'm really kinda sick of that riff.
posted by titus-g at 9:04 AM on April 25, 2011

Don't think I've seen anyone mention the Spoek Mathambo cover of Joy Division's Control. Watch the video; it's a trip.
posted by immlass at 10:21 AM on April 25, 2011

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