Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cover Note: Mary J. does Led Z.

MILES OF TRANE: YES. Why? The answer to the question of whether we needed Mary J. Blige to cover Stairway to Heaven and Whole Lotta Love is clearly no. But are we glad she did? Yes, we are. With just the right wrinkles in the vocal arrangements to make a contribution and enough faith to the originals to make you immediately want to break out some vinyl, she makes a couple of rock classics into Mary J. Blige songs while paying complete and utter respect to Page, Plant, and the guys. If there's a complaint it's not with the vocals but that the instrumentation lacked the rawness these songs demand, maintaining fidelity as if the score is on an orchestra stand, which it no doubt was. Yes, you want somebody to rip off their tuxedo and smash an amp, but you know it's not going to happen, so it becomes easy to get in the vocal groove and enjoy the music. As you've seen here before I've learned to be skeptical of covers, but I'm glad I took the time for these two.