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Dark End Of The Street (Matador)
There’s no good reason to record a classic tune unless you can bring something new to it. Simply slowing down the tempo and clumsily square-pegging alternate lyrics when you forget the words isn’t really sufficient.
That’s not to say that Chan Marshall’s ballsy attempt to take on Dark End Of The Street – Dan Penn’s exquisitely rendered hymn to forbidden love – is particularly horrid. You can tell her cracked heart is in the right place, but she’s got nothing to add to James Carr’s definitive version or even Gram Parsons’s inferior cover. The same goes for her crack at Otis Redding’s unstoppable I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, which underscores the fact that you need pipes to sing soul classics you can’t really bluff your way through.
Cat Power fans who aren’t familiar with the originals might be thrilled, but most everyone else will be left wondering, why bother?
Top track: Who Knows Where The Time Goes