The Carpenters V's Shonen Knife
Thanks to AM radio, the music of The Carpenters became a part of the lexicon of my early musical youth. That and those dodgey TV specials. I also recognised the uniqueness of Karen Carpenter - the only female singer/drummer I was aware of in those days. Dig the pedal steel guitar in their version of "Top Of The World".
In another lifetime, when commencing a three month back packing holiday through Indonesia with my then new girlfriend (and now lovely wife), we found a cassette copy of the wonderful cover album "I Wish I Was A Carpenter". We were to play the album over and over while travelling some of the remote islands of Indonesia, including the area which used to be known as the Spice Islands. Great memories, but I digress. This is what I love about cover versions, where songs can be given a completely different treatment, and often improve upon the original. This album is full of excellent reworkings of the songs of The Carpenters by such excellent bands as Sonic Youth, Matthew Sweet, Grant Lee Buffalo, Redd Kross, Bettie Serveert and heaps of other indie bands. This is a rare compilation of cover versions where most of the performances actually improve on or add an interesting new dimension to the original version.
But my favourite cover version on this album is "Top Of The World" but the very cute girls of Shonen Knife. It takes the original version and turns it into a Jap-Pop mini-anthem. Very cool!