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Old 06-13-2007, 06:21 AM   #1
Jesse Joe
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Wednesday June 13th, 2007


Cummings, Bachman revisit old favourites
New album features revamped versions of their old songs plus covers of other classics


The Guess Who's catalogue of rock hits has spawned many covers but it was a lounge singer's version of "American Woman" that made Burton Cummings cringe.


The Canadian rock classic was stripped of its guitar buzz and infused with a piano-bar delivery that Cummings says stands out as one of the worst covers he's ever heard.

"It was just awful," Cummings says by phone from Vancouver, at one point demonstrating the crooner's laboured drawl with a re-creation of the droning chorus.

"'American womaaaan, stay away from me-eee.' I was thinking, 'What the hell is this guy thinking?' You know?"

If anything, the song was successful in demonstrating a cardinal rule in cover tunes: know a song's limits, Cummings says as he releases his own disc of covers with partner Randy Bachman.

"There's a limit, you know, as to how far you should change it," he says of "American Woman," most famously covered by Lenny Kravitz but also subjected to interpretation by the Butthole Surfers and the hardcore band A.C.

Bachman and Cummings revisit the tune for their latest collection, "Jukebox," going for a straight-ahead bluesy take on the rock radio staple.

"If Canned Heat had done 'American Woman,' that's the way they would have done it," Cummings says of their latest rendition.

"I've been singing that for over 30 years the old way, so it's kind of a treat to do it the new way now."

Their first studio album together in decades, "Jukebox" features 17 songs by a mix of music legends and lesser-known acts from the '50s and '60s and largely avoids the obvious hits in favour of more obscure material.

Cummings tackles Jimmy McCracklin's "The Walk," Edwin Starr's "Agent Double-O Soul" and Elvis's "Ain't That Loving You Baby."

Bachman takes on the Beatles' "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You," Eddy Grant and the Equals' "Baby Come Back" and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

Cummings, who splits his time between homes in Los Angeles, Winnipeg and on Vancouver Island, says there are plans to work on new material together but not until he and Bachman can wrap up ongoing solo projects.

He says he's putting the finishing touches on a disc called "Double Nickel," a project he began recording roughly four years at a studio in L.A. owned by Joe Vanelli, singer Gino Vanelli's brother.

That will likely wrap up in August.

"He (Bachman) has a couple of things that I just love and vice versa so we're going to try and squash them together and see what happens," says Cummings, displaying none of the acrimony that marked the partners' famous split in 1970.

The pair will be in Halifax July 22.

[ June 14, 2007, 12:39: Message edited by: Jesse-Joe D18 ]
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