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Cat Power - Jukebox

2009-01-19 17:31
And for the most part Cat's covers are. Sure her breathy cocktail bar blues revamp of Sinatra’s "New York, New York" tiptoes around sounding like one of those emotionally airbrushed Nouvelle Vague soundtracks. Then again, a Vegas lounge belter that big ups the Big Apple probably isn’t going to make emotional sense in any setting off Broadway.

Thanks to her all-star Dirty Delta Blues band (feat. Dirty Three drummer Jim White and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion guitarist Judah Bauer) - Cat gets loads of testosterone to sink her claws into. And boy does she, teasing the torch song out of country legend Hank Williams with a slow-motion makeover ("Ramblin (Wo)man") and deconstructing the boys own outlaw bravado of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson with a mischievously erotic monologue ("Silver Stallion").
Elsewhere she ponders whether George Jackson's "Aretha, Sing One For Me" was something Mick Jagger might’ve sung in the shower back when the Stones were looking for a honky tonk woman in exile on main street, stumbles across the acoustic soul simmering beneath James Brown’s evangelical funk ("Lost Someone"), and tosses off a pair of rasping originals that wear her Dylan fandom on their sleeves ("Metal Heart", "Song to Bobby").

Cat’s not exclusively hung up on un-covering men though. She stares the self-sabotage fuelling Janis Joplin’s "Woman Left Lonely" in the face…only to find Norah Jones - rather than the usual Cowboy Junkie Margot Timmins - staring back at her. This sort of explains why she then quickly retreats to more comfy ground with Nina Simone styled readings of Billie Holiday ("Don’t Explain") and Joni Mitchell ("Blue") that ooze a break-up blues seduction.

- Miles Keylock

Cat Power proves she's way more than a manic depressive, femme folk one trick pony with these classy interpretations of jukebox-ready country, folk, blues and jazz joints by Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Joni Mitchell and more. Jukebox? Interpretations? Um…you mean covers, right? Cool.

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