Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Yippie-yi-o-ki-yay (Mr. Falcon)

I've been frantically cleaning house the past two days in preparation for the family coming over to bunk during their Olympic stay. Of course, the 2010 Winter Games kick-off here in Vancouver on Friday so blogging's not really on my mind at the moment... though do look for my Olympic-themed guest post on Covering the Mouse on Wednesday! So here are a couple covers I've been meaning to share for a while...

Barenaked Ladies & The Ditty Bops - I'm an Old Cowhand From the Rio Grande/Welcome Back Kotter
["Cowhand..." by Johnny Mercer; "Kotter" by John Sebastian]
I discovered this unlikely cover combo from the archives of the eTown radio show, a public radio broadcast hosted by Nick and Helen Forster that spotlights a diverse range of accomplished musicians and also recognizes community leaders. This particular episode from 2006 featured sets from Fong Songs faves The Ditty Bops and The Barenaked Ladies with the two acts teaming up to do a cover over the closing show credits. There's some talking and sponsor thanking over the instrumental break, but it's worth it to hear this great cover medley. I'm an Old Cowhand was originally performed by Bing Crosby in the 1936 film Rhythm on the Range and it became one of songwriter Johnny Mercer's earliest successes. For your Olympic tie-in, the Barenaked Ladies will be performing next week (Feb. 16) at one of the Victory Ceremonies and also a free show in Whistler (Feb. 17).

Terra Hazelton - I'm an Old Cowhand [originally by Johnny Mercer]
This cover is from Canadian jazz singer Terra Hazelton's sophomore release Gimme Whatcha Got. She used to be a featured vocalist with the late great Jeff Healey and his Jazz Wizards, which is when I first heard and saw her at a 2004 show in St. Albert. She is joined in this rendition by Alberta folk/jazz/swing/etc. band The Polyjesters, who just so happen to be playing a couple free Olympic shows as well, Feb. 25 at the Alberta Plaza (Robson & Beatty) and Feb. 26 at LiveCity Yaletown.

There are a TON of free shows (and not free shows) in and around Vancouver all Olympics long. Way too many to even attempt to summarize. Wilco, Sloan, Sam Roberts Band, Jill Barber, Damian Marley, Feist, Stereophonics, Matisyahu, Nelly Furtado, The Lost Fingers, K'naan, Blue Rodeo, Hawskley Workman, Chromeo, Jeremy Fisher, Randy Bachman, INXS, and on and on and on... they'll all be performing over the next few weeks. Even Jonathan Coulton's playing a show at the Rio, though I think that's more a happy coincidence than Olympic-inspired. There also Hal Willner's epic Neil Young Project, an all-covers concert featuring Lou Reed, members of Broken Social Scene, Ron Sexsmith, Sun Kil Moon, and many more.

Check The Georgia Straight's google calendars for Vancouver shows and Whistler shows. That doesn't even cover the free shows going on at the Richmond O-Zone or Surrey's Holland Park (Serena Ryder and Hot Hot Heat are performing over there). If you're ready to do some major research, this guide to the various Houses and Pavilions may be the best jumping off point I've come across for all sorts of free Olympic activities.

Countdown's on!