#ThirdManThursday and happy birthday Jack White!
Third Man Records
Released: April 6 2019
Fingers crossed (Dig the fastness)
First #ThirdManThursday post post-COVID-19 and it has to be a banger. And what better banger than a single from the Raconteurs "new" album. "Help us stranger" just celebrated it's one year anniversary last month and the 45 I picked is their cover of the Donovan song: Hey Gyp (Dig the slowness). The drumbeat on this song is just salivating (hence the way too much talk about bangers so far in this post).
But this not just any 45. This is the very limited edition with handprinted covers by the band members which was only given out to ultraticket holders of Third Man Records 10 year anniversary on April 6 2019 last year. 4 versions of this 45 exist. Each depicting one member of the band.
The version that I have is (as you probably have guessed) is the Jack White version. And before you ask, no I was not an ultraticket holder. But I did almost pay the same for the record as a roundtrip Copenhagen-Nashville would have cost - one might say that I actually saved money on it .
And it is such a beautiful cover:
You can see a short video on the creation of it here: https://www.facebook.com/theraconteurs/posts/hand-printing-some-7-covers-for-hey-gyp-dig-the-slowness-exclusive-to-third-man-/10155834627076008/
In addition to the cover being handprinted, it's also a testpressing:
I think their new album is phenomal, and this song is definitely one that stands out for me. In the album comment version on Spotify, Jack White explains that this trick of playing a cover song to start the day is one that he has used many times in many of the bands he has played in such as "I'm shaking" (solo project), "I just don't know what to do with myself" (White Stripes), "New Pony" (Dead Weather) and so on. Another interesting part about this song is that Brendan Benson plays harmonica and apparently none of the other band members knew that he could play harmonica.
You can listen to the song here.
Comparing it to Donovan's original it's interesting to hear that they left out the "answer" part. In Donovan's original he sings "I'll buy you a Chevrolet..." and then the woman answers. They left the answer part out. I can't help but think that a duet with Alison Mossheart or similar would be fiery. In addition only minor tweaks, they don't buy her a Mustang, but a diamond ring instead. The instrumental part of the song is altered in an interesting way I think. First of all, in the first verse you only hear Brendan's harmonica part (similar to Donovans) but then all you can hear is Patrick's drumbeat and they singer over that. But if you listen to the Donovan version (below) you can also hear that he plays it mid-heavy palm muted, but moving that part to drums gives the song a great velocity and even thicker beat I think. So in that sense they stay true to the original, while still adding something to it, which is really key to a good cover. In addition, the riffs Donovan plays on the harmonica seems to be transcribed to guitar, which gives the song a nice rock'n'roll touch to it. Love this song.
You can listen to Donovan's original here: