I was meant to be doing Lib Dem campaigning today, but a family emergency kept me from being able to (had to sit by the phone waiting for news of a hospitalised relative – nothing too serious, don’t worry), so while I was sat round twiddling my thumbs, I decided to digitise a CD I’d found the other day.
The CD was one an online friend had sent me about six or seven years ago – a live recording by The Covers Problem, one of several more-or-less interchangeable ‘bands’ (others being The Negro Problem, The Broadway Problem and Stew) formed around singer-songwriter Mark ‘Stew’ Stewart and bassist/vocalist/arranger Heidi Rodewald. In their Covers Problem guise, they used to perform occasional shows where they’d perform cover versions of entire albums – they did, among others Dark Side Of The Moon and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. This one is them doing Thriller (apart from two songs they didn’t get round to learning).
They’re not straight covers though – PYT is done as a fast No New York style punk track, while The Girl Is Mine is done in the style of Here, There And Everywhere by the Beatles, and so on.
For those who don’t know their work, Stew & Heidi have released three Stew ‘solo’ albums of singer-songwritery stuff (all on eMusic if you want them) plus three (sadly out of print, though you can buy two of them as MP3s on Amazon) albums of psych-pop as The Negro Problem and the soundtrack to their Tony award-winning musical Passing Strange (which has been filmed by Spike Lee and is apparently in regular rotation on PBS), but as Stew says on their website, he’ll probably be best known for writing Gary Come Home for Spongebob Squarepants.
(Stew and Heidi also wrote and recorded a song for my wedding, on commission, and it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever heard – Stew is one of the great songwriters of the last decade).
I don’t know the full line-up of the band here, but I do know that it includes Stew (guitar/vocals), Heidi (bass/vocals), Carolyn Edwards (herself a great singer-songwriter – buy her eponymous solo album) (keyboards/vocals), the wonderful Probyn Gregory (various instruments including trumpet and presumably banjo), and Steve Stanley of The Now People as Vincent Price.
My CD of this was made straight from an audience tape, all as one track. I’ve tried to split it sensibly, and the tracklisting I’ve got now is:
Wanna Be Startin’ Something
Here, There, Everywhere/The Girl Is Mine
Between Songs Chat
Between Songs Chat (nose widening/’I love your tits’)
Between Songs Chat (audience requests)
Bad Mama Jamma/Rocky Racoon
This is a copy of an audience recording, and has never been available commercially, and I suspect never will be. That said, if you believe you own the copyright in this and object to it being posted, please contact me on andrew at thenationalpep dot co dot uk and I will take it down immediately.
Download here (rapidshare link).