41

Mari Wilson: Cover Stories

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Mari Wilson: Cover Stories Back in the 1980s, when she was renowned for her retro beehive hairstyle and her spectacular live shows, Mari Wilson had a string of chart-making hits that included "Just What I Always Wanted" and "Cry Me a River." These days, the only remaining vestige of that hairstyle is in the name of her record label. More recently, Wilson has appeared in musical theater (including playing Dusty Springfield in Dusty: The Musical), been a BBC radio presenter and, significantly, started the trio Girl Talk with Barb Jungr.

Compared to her albums Dolled Up (Beehive, 2005) and Emotional Glamour (Beehive, 2008), Cover Stories marks a new direction for Wilson, as it consists solely of cover versions without any of her own compositions. The album features eleven of Wilson's favorite songs, lending it a certain similarity to Jungr's album The Men I Love: The New American Songbook (Naim, 2010). However, unlike Jungr's choices, four of Wilson's selections are by female songwriters and six are by non-Americans.

Another similarity between Wilson and Jungr is that, rather than recording a straightforward cover version, they each often radically reinvent a song, sometimes making it unrecognizable in the process. One of the best examples of Wilson doing this is her stunning version of "Be My Baby," originally recorded by The Ronettes. Stripping away Phil Spector's wall-of-sound production, she is accompanied by atmospheric acoustic guitar alone, played by John Parricelli. She savors every word of the verses as well as the famous chorus, milking them all for emotion. Wilson achieves similarly miraculous transformations of "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" (originally by Gerry and the Pacemakers) and Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to be with You"—the latter her first ever Springfield cover.

If those examples suggest that Wilson is stuck in some sixties time warp, nothing could be further from the truth. Her choice of songs demonstrates that she has an ear for a great song and its possible reinterpretation. While including some songs by well-known artists, The Beach Boys' "Disney Girls" and The Bee Gees' "First Of May" for example, the eclectic array of tunes also features the lesser-known Caitlin Rose, Gillian Welch, Ron Sexsmith and even Big Audio Dynamite.

Most of all, Cover Stories lives up to its title. Every track is a cover version, but each is also a story in its own right. And Wilson is a story teller par excellence, extracting meaning and emotion from each one and communicating them impeccably to her audience, her voice as formidable an instrument as ever.

Track Listing: Don’t Get Me Wrong; Disney Girls; Be My Baby; Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying; I Only Want To Be With You; First Of May; Own Side; Right About Now; Dear Someone; They Don’t Know; Everybody Needs a Holiday.

Personnel: Mari Wilson: vocals; Simon Hale: piano, keyboards; John Parricelli: guitar; Geoff Gasgoyne: electric bass, acoustic bass; Keith Fairbairn: percussion; Ben Hale: flugelhorn, trumpet.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Beehive Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Jim Olin
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!