Beneath the covers:: Kentucky Woman

After playing in the semi-finals and finals (both unexpected) in our football league, I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to plunk myself on the couch. It was overcast and the movie channels were not offering much, so we sat through Elizabethtown. It was (obviously) not great, but it made me remember a nice cover that would fit perfectly into our Monday covers feature.

Kentucky Woman – Neil Diamond
There are not too many more iconic songs than the hits from Neil Diamond’s catalog. A simple acoustic riff, Neils borderline swarmy vocals and that that double-down stroke on the chorus. I don’t know many people who can hear this song and not sing-along. On a side note, in university my basketball team used this on our warm-up tape (along with some Sly and the Family Stone and other old funk tracks) and it was funny to see how it affected other teams. Usually we started home games on a 10-0 run.

PS - Seriously, how awesome is that performance. He's got his hair snazzed to the nines, he's rocking an Evan Merrick mock turtleneck with his suede coat and apparently he stole the wall from An Evening at the Improv for his backdrop.

Kentucky Woman – Sun Kil Moon
Mark Kozalek has long been known to take a cover, and give it the royal, honest treatment. After the notoriety he received for stripping down a full album of Modest Mouse songs (as well as AC DC, John Denver, Yes – well you get the deal), Kozalek’s take on this song is not surprising.

He strips it down, and the song is almost unrecognizable. His finger picked melody and vocals change the upbeat, lounge friendly number into a back of the coffee house special. The warmth draws you in and much like most of his reworkings, you really start to appreciate the tenderness of the song when it isn’t lost in a boisterous chorus.
MP3:: Kentucky Woman – Sun Kil Moon

As much as I enjoy Kozalek’s take on the song, you have to give it to the original. Any song that still holds its chops after all these years is going to come out on top.

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