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Cover to Cover: I shot the Sheriff - The Wailers v Eric Clapton

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  • The version of him playing at the BBC theatre Shepherds Bush, is my favourite version by E.C. Not sure he plays it with the 'crybaby' solo anymore, it really is an awesome bit of playing, the rest of the band are not too bad either. Going to decline the choice, beetween Bob and Eric, love them both.

    Normally I'd say Marley, but this OGWT performance is superb.

    Particularly with @SoundAsa£ playing the standing timpani.
  • Like the Clapton version but definitely prefer the Wailers.
  • Rootsy reggae always wins so Wailers for me.
  • Whaaaaat?

    Gotta be the Wailers, no question
  • Clapton but love the wailers version
  • Both are good, but I don't really think Clapton makes it his own. I listen to that version and still hear Marley.

    Wailers win.
  • Wailers, that is all.
  • Addickted said:

    The version of him playing at the BBC theatre Shepherds Bush, is my favourite version by E.C. Not sure he plays it with the 'crybaby' solo anymore, it really is an awesome bit of playing, the rest of the band are not too bad either. Going to decline the choice, beetween Bob and Eric, love them both.

    Normally I'd say Marley, but this OGWT performance is superb.

    Particularly with @SoundAsa£ playing the standing timpani.
    I remember it well.....Eric called me at the last minute whilst I was doing some demos with The Stones in central London.....Mick and the boys said I could do the gig as long as I came back as soon as it was over.
    Had to get two cabs, one with my kit and one for me and stage costume.
    Arrived minutes before we were due on stage as I had to travel in the rush hour.
    Never even got time to get into my stage gear. Did the gig and dashed straight back to the studios......such was my life in those days!
    Fortunately, Keith Richards had rolled me an enormous spliff for when I got back around 3 hours later, which helped to chill me out for the remainder of the night.
    Distinctly remember seeing two_sheds in the audience looking on with what could only be described as huge envy and no small amount of rage at not being asked by Eric to 'guest' in the line-up........the little shit.
    Then I woke up!
  • As a jazz musician and former music student, I find covers/intertext/musical reappropriation/contrafact really, really interesting. It's always fascinating to find out why someone would choose to pay tribute to an artist, or why they'd rework a particular song, and so forth.

    For me though, I tend to have a bias toward original versions of songs, and this is true for the Wailers' version of I Shot The Sheriff. This is a song that contextually, Clapton was never going to be able to recreate. As someone earlier in the thread stated, he's a white guy from Essex - not to disparage white guys from Essex, but could he really have empathised with the likely struggles of life in Jamaica Marley had, and then recreated the same sort of music?

    I don't think so. Don't get me wrong - it's a technically better piece of music (Clapton is one of my favourite all-time guitarists), but it's a bit too sterile* compared to the feeling you get when listening to the original.

    (*sterile doesn't mean devoid of any emotion or musical expression - rather, it's just not as punchy as the original)
  • I'm a guitarist and have a huge amount of respect for Clapton and can listen to his playing for hours, so in most cases I'd always give him my vote. But, this song sounds so much better when Marley does it. Sometimes things just fit artists and this song is very much a Bob Marley song.
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  • In terms of context, and different musicians being able to create a valid rendition of the same piece (particularly when one of them is the writer) maybe it is a very complex issue.
    Leaving aside any lyrics, it may be the structures and rhythms that form a connection between disparate artists, but in that context I would expect different artists to spin things a bit differently rather than making a musical exact copy.

    When we get on to the lyrics we are in 'can blue men sing the whites?' territory. Each person is unique, but there is an aspect of music and song that is about being relateable. Some experiences seem to be relateable like Adele singing 'Someone like you'. You don't have to be a singular female from East London to get it. Songs about emotion seem to be relateable to loads of people. Mind you other songs can still strike a chord in the imagination of people. I have never ridden in the desert on a horse with no name, but something about the song conjures something up.
    Maybe there is something to do with authenticity that gives one version an edge over another, but the connection and sharing within music is one of the things that fuel the excitement of the art form. As long as they are not exact copies, then I think cover versions can accept and sustain examination.
  • seth plum said:

    In terms of context, and different musicians being able to create a valid rendition of the same piece (particularly when one of them is the writer) maybe it is a very complex issue.
    Leaving aside any lyrics, it may be the structures and rhythms that form a connection between disparate artists, but in that context I would expect different artists to spin things a bit differently rather than making a musical exact copy.

    When we get on to the lyrics we are in 'can blue men sing the whites?' territory. Each person is unique, but there is an aspect of music and song that is about being relateable. Some experiences seem to be relateable like Adele singing 'Someone like you'. You don't have to be a singular female from East London to get it. Songs about emotion seem to be relateable to loads of people. Mind you other songs can still strike a chord in the imagination of people. I have never ridden in the desert on a horse with no name, but something about the song conjures something up.
    Maybe there is something to do with authenticity that gives one version an edge over another, but the connection and sharing within music is one of the things that fuel the excitement of the art form. As long as they are not exact copies, then I think cover versions can accept and sustain examination.

    So which one do you prefer ;-)
  • See above, it is the Wailers.
  • Clapton
  • Hmm let me see.

    Well number one would be Wailers.
    Two...That's the Wailers.
    Three, also The Wailers....
    Hang on I have a few pages to flip through here.
    Hmm.
    OK. Page 21 number 223. We have an Eric Clapton.

  • Didn't Clapton go on his racist Enoch Powell rant about a year after his cover?
  • Didn't Clapton go on his racist Enoch Powell rant about a year after his cover?

    Yes, a career playing black music and he did that.

    Although he had some serious drink problems at the time.
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