by Rick Cornell
I’m not lobbying for the position of song-choice consultant for Matthew “Sid” Sweet and Susanna “Susie” Hoffs if the pair decides to release a third volume of their Under the Covers series, following ’06’s Volume 1 and the new Volume 2 (both on Shout Factory). However, I would serve with honor and incurable geekitude. OK, so maybe I am lobbying.
Past the jump are the 10 songs at the top of my Volume 3 wish list. Volume 1 stuck to the ‘60s, whereas Volume 2 was all about the ‘70s. My list reflects the hope that a third volume would be willing to revisit the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as dip into the ‘80s and ‘90s. I did limit myself in one way though: I didn’t choose any artists that are covered on the first two volumes, a who’s who that ranges from The Beatles and Bob Dylan to The Velvet Underground and The Zombies.
“I Want You Bad,” NRBQ
Selfish and simple: I love this song, and I want everyone to cover it. Sid ‘n’ Susie’s take would sit proudly alongside those by The Long Ryders, Dan Baird, Charlie Robison and Freedy Johnston.
“If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” Sugar
Maybe the best power pop song of the ‘90s (present company’s output excepted, of course) and almost certainly the jangliest. Could Sid ‘n’ Susie possibly make it even more wonderful? It’d be fun to watch ’em try.
“Love Untold,” Paul Westerberg
The likes of Glen Campbell and Kelly Willis have already raided the sensitive corner of Westerberg’s Replacements work. (And everybody adores “Skyway.”) From the otherwise rather forgettable Eventually, this one’s an expertly told and paced number from his post-Replacements catalog that I’ve been waiting for another artist to discover. Ripe for verse-swapping, too.
“Only Women Bleed,” Alice Cooper
Sure, this is a couple rungs below “All the Young Dudes” (tackled on Volume 2) on the glammy power ballad ladder. But Susie would own it.
“Pickin’ Wild Mountain Berries,” Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson
The duo of Scott and Benson did this wholesomely horny number as a soul romp in the late ‘60s, but there have also been country takes (Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn) and alt-country takes (Kelly Hogan and Andy Hopkins). The time is now for a pop/rock version.
“Places That Are Gone.” Tommy Keene
When it comes to pop craftsman, Sweet and Tommy Keene are at the top of my list. Thus, it’s be great to hear the former cover my favorite from the latter’s amazing (if amazingly underappreciated) catalog.
“Shoot Out the Lights,” Richard and Linda Thompson
Sid ‘n’ Susie could play-act that they were a busted-up couple to give their version even more emotional oomph. This picks up where their cover of Fairport Convention’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” on Volume 1 leaves off.
“So You Think You’re in Love,” Robyn Hitchcock
This might be a stretch, but, because of quirks shared by the artists, I’ve always thought that Hitchcock could be Todd Rundgren’s British cousin. Sid ‘n’ Susie covered a pair of Rundgren songs on Volume 2, so now it’s Hitch’s turn. Note that “I Wanna Destroy You,” from Hitchcock’s Soft Boys days, would be a more-than-acceptable alternative.
“That’s Alright By Me,” Gene Clark
This one’s as much for the Under the Covers band: Greg Leisz gets to add some pedal steel, and based on some cover-song decisions made by his band Velvet Crush, it’s safe to assume that drummer Ric Menck is a huge Clark fan.
“That Bangle Girl,” Robbie Fulks
It would be Volume 3’s little ironic moment. Plus, it’s a hell of a catchy song. If only Lucinda Williams had written a song titled “That Oh-OK Boy…”
Sid ‘n’ Susie are at the ArtsCenter tonight, Thursday, Nov. 5. Show time is 8 p.m., and tickets are $20.