…five different ways!
In a bit of a twist on some of the “Five songs I love” posts I’ve done, I thought I’d take one of my favourite songs and see if I could find a bunch of different versions of it.
Some songs seem to naturally lend themselves to re-interpretation by different artists, and Warren Haynes’ song Soulshine seems to be one of them. he recorded it first with The Allman Brothers but he’s also performed it both as a solo act and with his other band, Gov’t Mule. As we shall see, it’s also been performed by other acts as well.
Now, I have a bit of a dilemma here. There’s a version of this song that I prefer over all the others, but should I put it first in my list, on the assumption that if you’re going to listen to any of them that’ll be it? Or should I build up to it and put it last? Well, I’m going to do the former.
Soulshine. One song, five different ways.
- Larry McCray. Wow. Larry McCray is one of those under rated bluesmen that just seem to get lost in the shuffle sometimes. He’s just fantastic, as this version clearly shows. Like I said, my favourite. There’s another very good version by McCray on Youtube where he really channels BB King, from the guitar sound right down to the facial expressions. A couple more versions here and here.
- Allman Brothers. Haynes first wrote and recorded this song with The Allman Brothers for their Where it All Begins album. This version is a real treat because it features both Haynes and Derek Trucks on guitar. BTW, you could do a lot worse than getting the Derek Trucks Band’s most recent, Already Free. It’s fantastic.
- Gov’t Mule. The first time I heard Soulshine it was on Gov’t Mule‘s Live…With a Little Help from Our Friends. Mule is Haynes’ other band. They also do a cool reggae version. A Warren Haynes solo versions here, here and here.
- Beth Hart. Hart also does very laid-back version.
- Hanson. Yes, Hanson. Not as bad as you might think.
Some other bands giving it a shot: Tore Down House, Jammies band with Gov’t Mule, Gregg Allman, Derek Trucks, Trey Anastasio, Sol Lagarto, Little Louis Vega, Kayla Black Band, Adam Hood, Josh Shilling, Acoustic Soul, Brandon Scott Sellner, The Chris Cioffi Project, Brandi Thornton Band, The Southern Style Band, Hello Dave, Timmy Rough & Mozi Shababi, Anthony & The Crossfire, Mike Beck, Soup Bone Charley, The Peacheaters with Michael Allman, Against The Grain.
Now for the really interesting thing: a bunch of amateurs. You really owe it to yourself to give a few of these a listen: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen. There are tons more.
Ok, so not five versions, but there’s about forty-six different versions that I’m linking to. Incredibly, there’s at least that many more on Youtube from various fans. And that’s not to mention countless versions by The Allman Brothers or Gov’t Mule or Haynes’ solo bands. Just incredible.
Which makes me think of more serious issues. If I may descend into relevance here for a moment, I find it incredibly moving and inspirational that so many people — pros, semi-pros and amateurs alike — can share their passion for this song in particular and music in general on a platform like Youtube. The web culture that creates this kind of opportunity for sharing is like nothing else. One of the most amazing things is that if you read the comments on most of the amateur videos, they are almost without exception very positive and supportive, not at all like the vibe in so many other parts of Youtube.
What’s your favourite song? Any cool cover versions that you’d like to share with the rest of us?
And what are some of the other songs out there that lend themselves to such abundant user generated content?