Take Them (They’re Yours): A Coverville Tribute to Squeeze

On a couple of occassions in the last few years, I’ve organized a project called Coverville Idol, where I ask the independent musicians and basement performers in my audience to record a track as part of a themed competition.

For this go-round, I’ve finally figured out what I didn’t like about the project, and it was the Coverville episode I’d record with all the submitted songs, where I (and the unlucky guests I had picked) had to offer criticism and praise to each song. That’s not what Coverville is, nor what I want it to become.

And ever since I came up with the idea for a Spinal Tap Tribute Album, I’ve wanted to release an album tie-in for the podcast.

Well, this Coverville Idol is going to give me the opportunity to satisfy both wishes. Episode 532 of Coverville will feature a song-by-song playthrough of the very first Coverville album, “Take Them (They’re Yours): A Coverville Tribute to Squeeze”, a 17-track salute to Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook and the many performers that have been a part of Squeeze over the years. And not only are the songs going to be included in a podcast, I’ve gathered them all here as individual downloads and as a complete zip archive along with cover art designed by Shelby Miller.

coverart

You won’t have a tangible CD to hold in your hands, but this is the digital age, baby! Music these days is distributed as much on plastic discs as it is in ones and zeroes. So download the songs below, copy them to your portable music player, listen to them on your computer, or if you feel inclined, put them in your favorite order, burn them to a CD and put it in a jewel case emblazoned with the magnificent artwork provided by Mr. Miller.

You’ll notice I received four versions of “Take Me (I’m Yours)”, but what I love is that each one is so different. And it was the fact that I received four versions of this breakthrough Squeeze song that inspired me to name the album as I did.

Now, without further ado, the lineup for this amazing tribute:

track17b

1. Take Me (I’m Yours)

Christoph Drosser

find the Squeeze original on U.K. Squeeze

Christoph is no stranger to frequent listeners of Coverville. He’s been a part of each Coverville Idol to date both solo, and as part of his a cappella band No Strings Attached, he developed an amazing revision of the Coverville theme song, and his Musically Challenged segments are among some of my and Tina’s favorites.

His version of “Take Me (I’m Yours)” really captures the soul of the original while adding Middle Eastern musical elements that fit beautifully into the production.

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2. Walk A Straight Line

etgilles

find the Squeeze original on Play

I’ve been lucky enough to feature etgilles’ music on the show before, and I consider myself twice as lucky to be able to include two of his performances as part of this tribute. Squeeze recorded their version as part of their album Play, which I’ve always regarded as one of their more personal albums. And “Walk A Straight Line” exemplified that as much as any other song on that album. etgilles’ bare-bones, but heartfelt take on that track brings the emotion front and center in a really beautiful way.

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3. Slightly Drunk

Dr. Geoffrey Madden

find the Squeeze original on Cool For Cats

Geoffrey has contributed to the previous Coverville Idol projects before, but I feel that this is far and above his best performance yet. Taking a previously frenetic roller-coaster of a song, and turning into a western-influenced, well, drinking song is a terrific idea, and it’s executed wonderfully.

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4. Slap and Tickle

MC Slap and DJ Tickle

find the Squeeze original on Cool For Cats

If you’ve been following previous Coverville Idols, you’ll remember that there was always a performance by an enigmatic and mysterious artist whose name always seemed to be an uncanny match to the song he was covering (see “My Old School” by Miles Cool and “Say You, Say Me” by Seu and Samie…). To maintain their privacy, I can’t say any more about this track except that I think it’s brilliant.

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5. Goodbye Girl

Zapruder Point

find the Squeeze original on Cool For Cats

A fun song to cover, and they cover it amazingly well. For me, “Goodbye Girl” is one of those songs that is unmistakably Squeeze, and would normally be difficult to cover without either having to completely dismantle it, or to ape the orignal. Zapruder Point succeeds without doing either. He aims the ship straight forward, and takes it steadily through the waters one verse at a time, respecting both the original and his unique style.

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6. Take Me (I’m Yours)

Michael R. Myers

find the Squeeze original on U.K. Squeeze

The more I listen to this track, the more I love it. Michael takes the song in a completely new direction, beginning it with an appropriate desert landscape, and then entering the palace, infusing 1940’s horns and backing vocals with a style reminicent of the swing revival of the late 90’s.

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7. Vanity Fair

Slau

find the Squeeze original on East Side Story

I met Slau at the 2006 New Media Expo in Ontario, CA, and actually even discussed the idea of a Squeeze Tribute Coverville project with him at one of the Expo parties. And when I heard he was going to cover one of my favorite Squeeze tunes, “Vanity Fair”, I knew it would be a home run. After listening to it, I think he knocked it out of the park.

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8. Hourglass

Lucky & Generous

find the Squeeze original on Babylon & On

One of Squeeze’s biggest late-1980’s hits was the original version of this song, “Hourglass” from their Bablyon & On album. A song that got them into the mainstream American eye, and got them airplay and an excellent MTV Spring Break concert. And what I love about this cover is that it seems to borrow an influence from the solo Difford & Tilbrook album that came years before, by use of unusual instrumentation and a very fluid production.

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9. If It’s Love

zOE’S iMAGINARY fRIEND

find the Squeeze original on Frank

One of those rare Squeeze songs that focuses on the joy of a relationship, instead of the sorrow and drinking that usually follows its demise. zOE’S iMAGINARY fRIEND’s version is true to the original but transforms in new unexpected ways by the simple addition of a female lead, beautifully performed by the band’s vocalist, Margie. To hear more, you can find their originals here, and their mySpace page here.

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10. Elephant Girl

The Peptides

find the Squeeze original on the Sweets From A Stranger 2007 reissue

Originally a b-side from the Sweets From A Stranger sessions, the Squeeze version always felt like part of several different songs joined together. It seemed to borrow the intro from “His House, Her Home”, and, according to the book “Squeeze: Song By Song”, it was written as a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque story of a skinhead falling in love with an Indian girl. By turning the song into a paced duet, The Peptides take that lovelorn story and bring it to the forefront of the song, supported by instrumentation that joins both cultures. By the time the two vocalists join together in harmony at two and a half minutes into the song, you’re already hooked.

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11. Take Me (I’m Yours)

Bob DeGrande

find the Squeeze original on U.K. Squeeze

It seems only fitting to include a version of “Take Me (I’m Yours)” as lonely as the desert in which it takes place. Bob’s subtle vocals and his guitar performance nicely strip away anything that would distract you from the lyrics and melody of the song.

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12. Tempted

The Priestess and The Fool

find the Squeeze original on East Side Story

An entry that came in at the last minute, but one that I’m very excited to include. Meredith DiMenna of the band St. Bernadette, and Brian Grosz of the band Dogs of Winter have joined forces and formed The Priestess And The Fool, a band that I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing recently about their new project, “Ride On Santa.” Like their EP earlier this year, “Ride On Santa” is a collection of covers near and dear to the duo’s heart – and even better – is available as a free download. This was a song I was surprised not to see multiple versions of, but this version is so awesome, I’m glad it stands alone.

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13. This Summer

Kim Novak

find the Squeeze original on Ridiculous

Like track 11, this cover shines a spotlight on Difford and Tilbrook’s amazing songwriting skills without diluting it with production. Kim recorded this as part of NaSoAlMo (National Solo Album Month) where people write and record an album all by themselves during the month of November. Fortunately, they’re allowed one cover song, so Kim chose this song, chronologically, the most recent of the Squeeze originals represented here.

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14. Another Nail For My Heart

Yitzy Glicksman

find the Squeeze original on Argybargy

A song that featured the perfect representation of the Squeeze formula: the post-relationship drinking. Yitzy’s version starts out slow, but culminates in a lively rendition featuring keyboard work that orignal ivory-tickler Jools Holland would be proud of.

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15. Up The Junction

Beth Madden

find the Squeeze original on Cool For Cats

I was hoping someone would do a cover of “Up The Junction”, and this cover, performed by the daughter of Dr. Geoffrey Madden (who’s “Slightly Drunk” appeared earlier in the tracklist) did the unimaginable: she took the melancholy soliloquy of the orignal and turned it on its head – slightly altering the lyrics to make it from the perspective of the woman. Beth not only sings on the track, but plays piano and cello. And as you listen to her beautiful vocals, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Beth sings as part of her University Choir QUMS.

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16. Black Coffee In Bed

Sweet Grass

find the Squeeze original on Sweets From A Stranger

This version, a looser rendition of one of Squeeze’s most memorable songs, brings to mind the spontaneous jam sessions that spring forth near the end of the night, when everyone’s feeling a little cheeky, but not ready for the night to be over. This is lead vocalist Mike Pompa’s singing debut with the band which borrows as much from older folk influences like the Old Crow Medicine Show, as new ones like Lucinda Williams and the Jayhawks.

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17. Take Me (I’m Yours)

etgilles

find the Squeeze original on U.K. Squeeze

I thought it fiting to close the disc as I opened it, with another cover of “Take Me (I’m Yours)”, the fourth in the compilation, and the second submission by etgilles. His vocals are ghostly and distant, and the sweeping arrangement (by etgilles’ partner, Johan Olofsson) is majestic and cool. I can think of no better way to close out the album.

 

Complete .zip file containing all songs and album art

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