Clumsy Lovers
"Under The Covers"

(Clumsy Lover Records 2002)Clumsy Lovers - Under The Covers

With a quicker pace and a few instruments not found on the originals, The Clumsy Lovers perform covers of thirteen (if you count the extra, unlisted track) songs. Covering the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, among others, The Clumsy Lovers put their "raging Celtic bluegrass rock" spin on rock favorites plus some traditionals.

"Under the Covers" opens with Paul Simon's "That Was Your Mother," a cover led with rapid banjo picking. One of two Shane MacGowan covers on the album, "Streams of Whiskey" has a decidedly Irish feel to it while the traditional "Rosalie McFall" has more of a country bluegrass feel as the band add nice instrumental sections to the songs. "Single Girl," another traditional song, brings a bit of fun and silliness into the album as fiddler Andrea Lewis sings lines like "When I was single, he always came to court/He used to bring me flowers and he always was a sport/Now I am married and well, what do you think/He bought me an apron and he showed me to the sink/Oh Lord, I wish I was a single girl again" on the banjo led song. Straightforward and rather catchy, The Clumsy Lovers' version of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" is rather true to the original.

With a lower vocal tone, Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" sounds like a tune you would hear in the middle of nowhere at a diner frequented by truckers while "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," the album's other MacGowan cover, is upbeat sounding instrumentation with a plinking melody. Quick picking banjo grabs your attention in "Hot Dog," a Led Zeppelin cover that is not too far from the original. Toned down and accented with more involved instrumentation, Springstreen's "Where the Streets Have No Name" is not the power ballad you are familiar with while The Beatles "Ob-la-di Ob-la-da" is a smart cover for The Clumsy Lovers as they retain the fun and spontaneity of the song. The album's most unsurprising cover, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," is performed well with more of a county bluegrass acoustic sound than the electric of the original. A seemingly odd choice, the band's cover of "Centerfold" (remember from the 80s by the J. Geils Band? That song with the memorable lyrics: "Angel in a centerfold") is tight, catchy and well done. The album's final track, an unlisted song tacked on to the end of "Centerfold," is a stripped down version of Rod Stewart's "Maggie May."

Initially, the concept of "Under The Covers" could make any rock fan a bit nervous. But quickly winning you over and getting you tapping along to their fun and well executed covers, the Clumsy Lovers are anything but clumsy with their music. "Under The Covers" is definitely worth a listen for rock fans who enjoy hearing unique covers of their favorite songs. C'mon -- where else are you going to hear Led Zeppelin on a mandolin, banjo and violin...I mean a fiddle.

B+

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