Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Scratching Backs With Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel
Scratch My Back
And I'll Scratch Yours
Real World Productions
Four Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Over four years ago, Peter Gabriel had a great idea for a two disc album.

The idea was to cover and interpret twelve songs from twelve different artists.  In turn, those twelve folks would cover twelve of Gabriel's songs.

Gabriel held up his end of the bargain by releasing the twelve track album in 2010 entitled Scratch My Back.  

In the first album, Gabriel covered music from Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Arcade Fire,  Randy Newman,  David Bowie, Bon Iver,  Elbow, David Byrne from Talking Heads, Regina Spektor, The Magnetic Fields,  Neil Young, and Radiohead.

The original plan was to have the second album with the twelve artists putting their spin on Gabriel's music out simultaneously with the first album.

The Best laid plans of Mice and Men.

Nearly four years and various delays later the second part of the project entitled And I'll Scratch Yours arrives on Jan. 7.

Not all of the artists that Peter Gabriel covered are represented on the second album.  And it's not the ones you would think.

Lou Reed, for instance, contributed a soulful and gritty version of "Solsbury Hill" before his death last year.

Surprisingly and disappointingly missing are the contributions from David Bowie, Radiohead, and Neil Young.

Filling the void left by those three artists are Feist, Brian Eno, and Joseph Arthur.

My only criticism of the second album is the same one that I gave for the first part of the album.

I am more of a fan of the Peter Gabriel music that is uptempo or the driven and almost danceable numbers like "Sledgehammer",  "Shock The Monkey" or "Big Time".

So when Randy Newman slows down "Big Time" or Joseph Arthur does the same with "Shock the Monkey", I was a little disappointed.  Not that these are bad renditions of the music.  It just takes a while to get used to the slower tempo.

It is the same thing when Gabriel takes on Paul Simon's "Boy In The Bubble" or David Bowie's "Heroes" in his part of the two album set.

My favorites on the second part of the album are David Byrne's rendition of "I Don't Remember" and Arcade Fire's faithful interpretation of "Games Without Frontiers" which was actually released as a single a couple of years back.

Rounding out the second album are takes of Gabriel's  "Come Talk To Me" (Bon Iver),  "Blood of Eden" (Regina Spektor),  "Not One of Us" (Stephin Merritt),  "Mercy Street" (Elbow), "Don't Give Up" (Feist) and "Mother of Violence" (Brian Eno).

It was a great idea for Gabriel to do this and it is executed fairly well,  but it also leaves us anxious to hear new music by this talented artist.

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