Wednesday, September 03, 2008

His Girl

A third attempt at my song recommendation-of-the-week, which I hope grows into a regular and regular-on-Sunday feature here. This post, I hope, will go over more smoothly than the last minute substitute that served as last week’s.

Have you heard of The Budos Band?

They’re good, at least as far as eleven-man, brass-heavy, Staten Island-based, 60s-influenced, instrumental Afro-soul bands go. I enjoy them, even if a few of their songs are easy to confuse with a few of their other songs. Instrumental songs have that tendency. In general, The Budos Band’s catalogue sounds like a group of selections from the soundtrack to some forgotten Quentin Tarantino film, if not Jackie Brown in particular. For me, this is a good thing, because I’m the kind of guy who likes driving around town with what sounds like exploitation movie-era chase music playing. You know, to feel cool.

The track I’m recommending you look into today is one from their sophomore-yet-not-sophomoric effort, The Budos Band II, “His Girl.” Technically speaking, it’s a cover of the Smokey Robinson-composed, Temptations-sung, 1964 song “My Girl,” but with an important difference: a few off notes. Just when the song begins to sound familiar, the band changes the tune. (Possibly to a minor key? My music terminology is failing me here.) The result is an alternate take on a classic, the bent of which reflected in the altered track title. It’s not my girl, it’s his girl, hence the scattered sour notes.

“His Girl” represents everything I want from a cover: a competent remake of a song that manages to stay more or less within the confines of the original work while making small departures in one work or another that manage to take the piece in a way the original may have only hinted at or may not have intended at all. (Another success story along these lines: Cat Power’s cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” in which she never sings the chorus and, thus, denies the listener the satisfaction of hearing the complete song.) Such songs are few and far between.

Oh, how I wish I the below YouTube video actually played “His Girl.” It doesn’t, tragically. It instead plays “Ride of Die,” one of their more car chase-y songs. It will, however, give you enough of an idea of how the band’s sound works to let you know whether you should bother downloading “His Girl.”

As a bonus, here’s “Volcano Song,” which is also pretty damn good. Don’t know if this is the official video, but it’s an entertaining thing to watch dance around your monitor.

So please, if you share my appreciation of covers, check out “His Girl.” Download illegally, if you must, but if you’d rather be honest about it, look into buying the track through the MP3 store or iTunes.

Previous songs of the week:

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