|photo by derekb||via PhotoRee|
Janice Whaley's Smiths Project -she spent a year covering EVERY Smiths song, a cappella, using up to 50 tracks of layered vocals on some tracks- has had a fair amount of coverage already, but I wanted to start with Rubber Ring, a song about the importance of songs, and there aren't many covers of it to choose from. While I admire the effort and dedication that went into Janice's project, some songs come off less successfully than others, but this is one that I think works wonderfully. The original is untypically funky for the Smiths, and this cover is in some ways more Smithy than The Smiths, thick with dollops of gothic atmosphere.
When Morrissey sings 'Don't forget the songs that saved your life', he's addressing both how much artists like Bowie and the New York Dolls meant to him and at the same time showing that he is aware of how important his own songs are to Smiths fans. This cover adds another layer, as someone for whom The Smiths were so important she decided to record their entire back catalogue, sings their song about the life-changing power of songs.
You can find out more about Janice's Smiths Project at http://thesmithsproject.blogspot.com/ where you can stream all the tracks in full, and if you're suitably impressed, buy a beautifully packaged 6 CD box set. I'll try not to draw from this particular well for posts too often, but it's nice to know that if I'm struggling to find a cover of a particular Smiths track, I always know where I can get at least one.