Rhino’s Got You Covered: Tracy Chapman, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, and John Keating
It’s Wednesday, so it must be time to take another dip into the Rhino catalog and trot out a new quartet of cover songs that you may or may not have heard before. Let’s get started, shall we?
• Tracy Chapman, “Stand By Me” (2015): The singer-songwriter who brought you “Fast Car” and “Talkin’ ‘bout a Revolution” covered this Ben E. King standard during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, and she did it so well that it ended up being situated as the closing track on her 2015 greatest-hits collection.
• Bing Crosby, “Cabaret” (1976): Originally released on Crosby’s late-career LP for United Artists, AT MY TIME OF LIFE, this titular Broadway musical tune is now part of a collection that culls together all of the crooner’s UA output. When it comes to Crosby’s take on this number... Okay, well, he’s no Joel Grey, but you can’t say he didn’t make it nice and jaunty! It’s also worth mentioning that he’d actually covered the song a decade earlier when he hosted an episode of The Hollywood Place, so by ’76 he really knew his way around the “Cabaret.”
• Peggy Lee, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” (1974): By the time she recorded LET’S LOVE for Atlantic, Peggy Lee was unquestionably a legend – she’d achieved that status with “Fever” alone – but her profile certainly wasn’t as high as it once had been. It got a significant boost, however, when Paul McCartney not only acknowledged what a big fan he was but, indeed, put his money where his mouth was and wrote, arranged, and produced the title track for that album. In addition to that notable number, Ms. Lee also recorded songs by Melissa Manchester (“He Is the One”), Alan O’Day (“Easy Evil”), Thom Bell and Linda Creed (“You Make Me Feel Brand New”), and this James Taylor tune.
• John Keating, “I Feel the Earth Move” (1972): Although he started out as a musician, Keating’s skill as a songwriter, producer, and arranger is what first brought him significant fame and led him to provide hits to such artists as Petula Clark, Sammy Davis, Jr., Adam faith, and Anthony Newley. Although he also scored a top-10 UK hit of his own in 1962 with “Theme from Z-Cars,” this track came during the portion of his career when Keating was making the most of his Moog, and if you dig this sort of groovy lounge material, you’ll definitely want to dig into his back catalog, because it’s amazing.