Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stay away from that song

We're OK with covers for the most part. Songs are made to be sung and played by the masses, and truly great songs are open to a wide variety of intrepretation. Well, except for one song:

"Ring of Fire."

Don't do it, man. That's Johnny Cash's song. The Coffee House has had a loop recently where it plays Elvis Costello's version of "Ring of Fire." We don't approve. Weird thing is, we had heard the song before on an album of covers and it never bothered us that much. It appears on the Dualtone record Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash.

On that very same disc is a rousing cover of "Jackson" by Carlene Carter and Ronnie Dunn that stands up very well. And who's going to complain if Loretta Lynn takes a turn with "Wildwood Flower"? That girl and her voice can do anything she wants.

The Man in Black himself did some remarkable covers during the final years of his life for the American recording series. Who could have imagined his take on "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails would be so deeply moving? The Sanctuary has touted daughter Rosanne Cash's album The List, a compilation of songs her daddy wanted her to sing. We're not against covers.

But Costello, who has done some fabulous covers when he's not in a songwriting groove, should stay away from "Ring of Fire." We don't like the arrangement, the harpsichord and most of all the vocal phrasing.

Don't do it, man.


  1. I've heard some ass-kickin covers of "Ring of Fire" mostly by obscure bands, tho none involve harpsichords.

  2. If you want to keep your wits about you steer clear of Olivia Newton John's attempt.