Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CooooOOOOOOoooonQUEST is Where It's At

Last week the White Stripes newsletter team sent out notice that Jack and Meg had finished up a new music video and 3 brand new songs including a "special collaboration". Would it be a re-teaming with Loretta Lynn? The long anticipated Bob Dylan/Jack White combo? Patti Page coming back to reclaim Conquest? In the latest in a series of curious coincidences, just days after posting about Beck it was revealed yesterday that he was in fact the special collaborator of three new songs with The White Stripes coming out next month! SCORE! This brings me back to the glory summer of 2005 when I saw Beck, Aimee Mann, and the White Stripes (twice!) in Vancouver all within a few weeks. And to think I almost missed that Beck concert, which I assumed was sold out then I ended up buying a ticket 3 hours before the show. It was general admission, but since I was concerting solo I was able to snag an empty spot in the 8th row. Sigh, good times.

The White Stripes, who aren't finished yet despite the unfortunate cancellation of the rest of their US and UK tour earlier this year, are busy prepping the release of their latest Icky Thump single Conquest, which incidentally is a cover of a Corky Robbins tune. A music video set for release on November 26th will feature an "explosive - if unconventional - love story that pits man against bull in the ultimate conquest". Jack White even underwent training with bullfighter Dennis Borba, bullfighter teacher of the stars. I've read that Borba specializes in bloodless bullfighting, in which the bull is "pierced" with a spear that velcros to a patch on its back so it isn't harmed or killed. Though as I understand it, even bloodless bullfighting is banned in the majority of the States unless it is part of a religious festival...

From the White Stripes newsletter: "Jack and Meg recently recorded the new tracks with Beck, who co-produced all three tracks during a recording session in his living room and also contributed vocals and piano to "It's My Fault For Being Famous" and slide guitar on "Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap". The third song is called Cash Grab Complications On The Matter, which will be on the flipside of an "Acoustic Mariachi version" of Conquest. The vinyl singles (with each song as a B-side) will be released December 18th.

The White Stripes - Conquest [originally by Corky Robbins]
Popularized by Patti Page in the 1950's that's currently making the rounds in an eBay commercial, the White Stripes version appeared on this year's Icky Thump. Has anyone even heard the original by Corky Robbins? I've had a hard time tracking it down.

Lounge Brigade - Where It's At [originally by Beck]
A lounge cover of Beck for good measure.

Now I guess this collaboration was inevitable considering the number of times Beck and Jack have teamed up in the past, though this is the first time on any official release that Beck and The White Stripes (as in Jack AND Meg) have made sweet, beautiful music together. Let's see here...

In conjunction with the release of Beck's Sea Changes in 2002, Jack White interviewed him for Interview magazine, using Chuck Berry's 13 Question method. As you might imagine, this was not your typical interview. For example, "Question number 10: I would love to own a pet chimp. But, I recently heard that they cost $40,000. What do I do?" Read the whole thing here. Don't know the 13 Question Method? Neither do I, but Ry Cooder knows all about it and it's definitely the one to use.
Ry Cooder - 13 Question Method [originally by Chuck Berry]

Beck cameoed in the White Stripes video The Hardest Button to Button, directed by the Michel Gondry. If you're a fan, check out the brilliant DVD compilation The Work of Michel Gondry, part of Palm Pictures' Diectors Label series. Much looking forward to his upcoming Be Kind Rewind next month, which incidentally stars Jack White's cosmic doppelganger Jack Black.

Beck has covered The White Stripes' Black Math live in concert before, although a bootleg has never surfaced. By the way, THE most conprehensive index of every live Beck song (invaluable to this post) can be found at

At a 2002 concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan Jack White joined Beck on stage for three songs, two of which were covers. As far as live recordings go, these are pretty great.

Beck with Jack White - 99 (live) [originally performed by Barbara Feldon]
Beck struggles with making a proper introduction to his special guest, who turns out to be Jack White (not Ghostface Killah). Now get this: they cover a novelty song spun off from the classic series Get Smart sung by Agent 99 herself, Barbara Feldon. Now I know as soon as you read that last line you were all itching to hear it, so here's the original too:
Barbara Feldon - 99

Beck with Jack White - Cold Brains (live)
Next, they played the acoustic folk song Cold Brains from 1998's Mutations.

Beck with Jack White - Last Fair Deal Gone Down [orginally by Robert Johnson]
...and then a Robert Johnson blues cover. Nice!

Beck - Go It Alone (featuring Jack White)
From 2005's Guero, Jack played bass on this groovy track. Producer duo The Dust Brothers produced Guero as well as 1996's Odelay. which reminds me... I've got to post that Dust Brothers remix of the Squirrel Nut Zippers sometime.

Beck - Wish Coin (Go It Alone) [Diplo Remix]
And because I'm fascinated with reinterpretations of all sorts, here's a remix of Go It Alone from the Guerolito remix album.

This isn't the only Beck that the White Stripes have teamed up with. In 2002, they played a set of Yardbirds songs with Jeff Beck himself, but that's a tale for another day...

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