A couple of nights ago, a link came across the virtual wire to an upload of a track recorded by The Britannicas for the new Del Shannon tribute record released the next day. The Britannicas are a virtual band comprised of “multi-instrumentalists recording from their respective home studios, they are not from the UK or even one particular country.” They also say they are “21st century men and pioneers of trans-continental recording; using modern technology to deliver old school, classic pop music.” In particular, The Britannicas are comprised of Herb Eimerman, Magnus Karlsson and Joe Algeri. The description “old school, classic pop music” describes almost all of the music discussed on this blog.
The tribute tune in question is a cover of “I Got You,” which appears on Shannon’s final release, 1991’s Rock On. “I Got You” is a great song, and Shannon could still hit the high notes shortly before his death. The original version, however, is marred by a clinical, antiseptic early-90’s production style that does not quite withstand the test of time:
The Britannicas cover version erases all that. The production is warm, inviting and, well, quite “old school.” Eimerman’s lead vocals are faithful to Shannon’s original, but add their own distinct personality. They are then punctuated by Algeri’s spot-on backing vocals, most particularly about half-way through the song. Karlsson’s beautiful jangly guitar carries the track from start to finish. The Britannicas version of “I Got You” is the rare cover that actually improves on the original:
The Del Shannon tribute album, also featuring contributions from Marshall Crenshaw, Frank Black and The Rubinoos (and others) can be sampled and purchased here.
As a bonus, check out the band’s excellent take on my all-time favorite Smiths’ song. “This Charming Man.” Its a guitar extravaganza. Karlsson plays ten guitars on the track, and Eimerman adds a couple to the mix. Its also great “old school, classic pop music,” and its a free download to boot:
The band notes on its Facebook page: “Stefan has sent a drum track to Joe in Australia. Joe has just mixed it and sent it back to Magnus in Sweden to add guitar and vocals. Herb is tuning up his bass in the US. The Britannicas are recording their second album!” Good for us.