Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sounds For Sunday: Get Happy!! The Originals

I managed to forget Sounds For Sunday last week. Not quite sure how.

Anyway, I'm on a Costello kick this week: primarily with The Attractions because they were superb. I'm never sure which album is my favourite of those years, at the moment Trust is actually up there. But along with Blood And Chocolate, Get Happy!! is my most listened to Costello album. Loads of songs, mostly played at high energy and filled with soul influences.

Hmm. Motown grooves played with punk energy and topped with snarled vocals singing intelligent lyrics. Weller as always was keeping watch I think, but this album really did show the way for a lot of bands in the early 80s. And what an album, Costello wrote better songs probably, and The Attractions played better elsewhere, but there's something about Get Happy!! that is just so direct and powerful. And some great choices of covers. Sam And Dave's I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down was a ballad and beautiful with it, and there is a Costello version in the same style, but somewhere along the way he sped it up. I Stand Accused was by Jerry Butler originally. Now I don't seem to have it, even after some searching. What I do have is an lovely Al Green version. Again it's a ballad, which is a huge contrast to Costello's extremely speedy version. On the other hand Costello's version of Betty Everett's Getting Mighty Crowded is quite faithful to the original, with a great vocal, and the Attractions powering on like Booker T & The MGs on speed. It's very Mod with a capital M. (It also ended up on a b-side at the time rather than on the album but we'll forget about that for the moment...)

Get Happy!!

Sam & Dave - I Can't Stand Up
Al Green - I Stand Accused
Betty Everett - Getting Mighty Crowded


Davy H said...

Morning squire. This clocks forward thing's a nightmare isn't it? Gone 11:00 already and not a child in the house washed.

Anyway. I too thought I had the Jerry Butler, on this, but the version there (and here for your delectation) is by The Merseybeats. Perhaps the thinking is that EC would've heard that one first, being a Scouse and all.

Chin chin.

Simon said...

Thanks for that! Yeah, I remember reading that was who they were covering at some distant point in the past. Memory's not what it was.

Gone eleven and I've already been to Tescos and bought lunch. The wife has been cooking and I've posted this. Busy day! I'm going for a lie down now.

Uncle E said...

On the same wavelength this week, Simon. Armed Forces, followed by This Years Model have long been my favs (in that order, too), but lately, especially this week, the #1 Costello slot goes to Get Happy! It's brilliant, and I never thought to link Weller's soul excursions to Costello and Get Happy, but after I read it it makes perfect sense. Thanks for this!

plasticsun said...

Actually, if you listen carefully, the Merseybeats "I Stand Accused" (which EC covered) is not the same song as Jerry Butler's "I Stand Accused". It is also equally clear that the Merseybeats ripped Jerry Butler off since any number of lines are the same but the songwriting credits on Get Happy do not credit Jerry Butler. I'm sure that Elvis knew about both. I like both songs but they're very different. By the way, Al Wilson's "I Stand Accused" (the Jerry Butler one) is, in my opinion the best one.

Simon said...

Yeah I realise my error, but yeah, I suspect EC would definately know both songs.

I'll look up the Al Wilson version.

Thanks for the heads up.

plasticsun said...

Don't worry - you are still loved. You have a great blog!

ally. said...

i justplayed betty's tune yesterday too - it's on the same lp as the sam fletcher one and gee but it's bitter and sad despite the merry tune. just up what's is names street then i guess

Boursin said...

It is also equally clear that the Merseybeats ripped Jerry Butler off

Actually the song EC covered was originally recorded as a much slower and jazzier version by one of its two writers, Tony Colton, in 1965 (hear it). The Merseybeats' version (featuring Keith Moon on gong towards the end) was recorded later that same year. I recall reading somewhere that they were originally supposed to have recorded a version of the earlier Jerry Butler song (due to someone having suggested it to them as suitable), but they confused it with the then current Tony Colton song...

I don't think the Colton/EC song is plagiaristic of Jerry Butler - they just happen to share the same judicial theme and therefore use the same metaphors.