My old buddy Ryan, whose blog appears to have gotten huge lately (I remember when it was so little . . . they’re never cute again!), was gracious enough to share this hard-to-find album with me: Jesse Malin’s all-covers release, “On Your Sleeve.” I’m not going to say that his versions are better than every other version of these songs, and there are definitely a few misses here, but he’s got some really interesting takes on quite a few. His cover of Gates Of The West (The Clash), for example, is fantastic. It moves the revolution anthem into a boppy ditty, perfect for a summer car ride in a convertible. His version of Me And Julio Down By The School Yard (Paul Simon) is pretty good, too, but one of the greatest cuts here is “You Can Make Them Like You.” I never thought I’d enjoy anyone other than Craig Finn doing one of Hold Steady’s tunes, but Malin truly makes it his own. And I love hearing any version of “Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nillson)”, the best song from a soundtrack to an X-Rated movie ever. (And from the only X-Rated movie ever to win an Oscar, to boot!) I could do without the shmaltz of Wonderful World (Sam Cooke) and Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels) (Jim Croce), but all in all, I really enjoyed listening to this release.
Those in the U.K. can get it from One Little Indian records. The rest of us have to pay import prices. So, tell me, what asshole record companies decided to pass on distribution of this album within the U.S.?
As a treat, here’s a Jesse cover, and then a few other covers of songs Jesse does on “On Your Sleeve.”
Gates of the West-Jesse Malin
Gates of the West-Adam Masterson
Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard (Paul Simon)-Peter Bjorn and John
Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard (Paul Simon)-Julie Doiron
Everybody’s Talkin-Willie Nelson