Cover Versions, Hard-to-find

Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen…..

…..Gie’s ma effin’ Halloween. So goes the battle cry of every West of Scotland child this Wednesday night. Apart from all the teeth-melting tablet, I hate Halloween. When I was younger I hated it cos every year my Dad dressed me up as a one man band. Every year. And every year, every house I went into I’d be asked the same question. “Who are you supposed to be?” Two years ago I painted myself yellow and put on a bald wig. Mrs Plain Or Pan painted herself yellow and put on a 3 feet high blue Amy Winehouse style wig. “Who are you supposed to be?” they asked again. D’oh! Like I said, I hate Halloween. These tracks are for all you Scary Monsters, Super Creeps  and Vampires who dare to dress up this week.

First up is someone who’s no stranger himself to dressing up, David Bowie. Some say that the ‘Scary Monsters…‘ album was his last true great record. I don’t know. I actually really like ‘Heathen‘ from 2002.


Two versions of ‘Scary Monsters’ for you. The first I’ve got on a bootleg titled simply ‘Live and Acoustic 96 97’. Sorry I can’t give you much more information on the track in question but it’s a belter. Bowie talks about Johnny Cash at the start. It’s delivered in the style of Johnny Cash and if Rick Rubin’s listening he must surely be tracking Bowie down as the next megastar in line for the ‘American Recordings’ treatment. The second version is from a well known bootleg called ‘Vampires Of Human Flesh’ (that’s the cover above) that has alternate/demo versions of the ‘Scary Monsters’ album.


I once read that Mercury Rev had the brilliant idea of recording the whole of Neil Young’s ‘OnThe Beach’ LP and putting each track out individually as a b-side to all the singles they released from the ‘Deserters Songs’ album and beyond. Great idea, considering ‘On The Beach‘ was unavailable at the time. Of course, you can get it now but that’s not the point. Thing is, Johnathon Donahue sounds an awful lot like Neil Young. If you were being nasty you’d say he couldn’t really sing. I’d say his voice is a fragile thing of beauty etc etc. In any case, Mercury Rev got round to recording only 2 ‘On The Beach’ tracks. ‘Vampire Blues’ was Neil Young’s rant against the oil industry. “I’m a vampire baby. Sucking blood from the Earth.” He likes a rant does old whiny Neil. Anyone heard Chrome Dreams 2 yet? Still not sure if I like it or not. Anyway. Mercury Rev’s Vampire Blues is fantastic. Some open/drop tuning acoustic guitars, Donahue’s thin reedy voice and not much else. I think it was originally done for an XFM radio session, but it eventually appeared on the ‘Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp’ CD single.

Bonus track. Mercury Rev also got round to recording ‘Motion Pictures’. This version has some nice bluesy acoustic guitar playing and prog keyboards. It’s a cracker, even better than ‘Vampire Blues’ I think. Now. When will Mercury Rev do ‘Ambulance Blues’?

4 thoughts on “Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen…..”

  1. I’m sure these would be great to hear, except that you’ve exceeded your bandwidth, so I can’t. I hope you leave them up long enough for me to get them later.

  2. Superb site you’ve got here….hope you don’t mind that I’ve provided a link from TVV.

    And while I’m not a huge fan of Bowie, I loved the Cash-inspired version of Scary Monsters. Thanks.

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