Cuff The Duke – In Our Time II

Well…detective Frank Burst. The guy with the great name! It’s a sequel to ye olde covers EP, ye olde covers EP the second. Why not, I guess? I actually like this one more, since I wasn’t familiar with half the songs beforehand, and therefore my reaction can generally be – “hey! good song!” instead of “quit murdering John Lenin’s memory, you Ossified homewreckers,” so that’s all good. But still – cover album ceiling! Nothing here sounds unique and/or inspirational, so it’s like you went to Guelph and saw a really, really good cover band at the bar, and it turned out they had a bunch of good albums, and that was nice, but then your girlfriend got hit by a car and was in a wheelchair, and she encouraged you to seek out sexual contact with able-bodied women, and at first you refused out of moral derpitude, but eventually you gave in to this one girl at work that isn’t even that hot, and then you lied about it because you were ashamed, and then you see that said band from Guelph is on the ticket at a bar downtown for only twelve bucks, so you buy tickets, but end up leaving early because they remind you of younger, more innocent times, and from then on you always order white pizza because white is the colour of innocence. The point here is that you never really listen to the cover EP.
So! There’s a nice folk song called “You Sing Low and We Will Sing High” that fails to reach either extreme in my mind. Who’s your favourite of Stalin’s henchmen? I like Molotov, though Kalinin comes in second, since he was the head of state all that time.
Then there’s a Beegees cover! Hee! But country-rockin’ it up doesn’t help much, because it’s a really somber song, and while I don’t doubt that the Beej played the song with considerable levity as well, I still don’t appreciate the whining yet happy tone going on here. I wasn’t a big fan of Beria, though. Pedophilia? Pince-nez? Weak stuff, old man! Plus, getting executed after the Vozhd was gone? That’s some poorly planned shit.
There’s a cover of David Bowie’s “Star,” but I don’t think that’s a particularly good song. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, it’s an upbeat show tune thing about being a “rock’n’roll star” without any big hooks. Bowie’s always seemed something of a twenty-hit wonder to me, which seems impressive when you think about it, but is it as impressive as ruling the Ukraine like Khrushchev without getting killed? Maybe not, but if anyone should’ve lost his life for speaking out, it should’ve been Khrushchev, for speaking out against the mass starvations in his appointed territory.
The cover of The Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get” is a “corker,” but I doubt it matches the original. Straight up old school punk songs are rarely made for country rock. Oh yeah, everything on here is country rock. The fun’s when you experiment, guys! And speaking of not experimenting, how about Poskrebyshev, who was Stalin’s personal assistant (nowadays we’d say executive assistant) from 1918 until January of 1953, which is weird because Stalin died in March of 1918. D’oh! But man, props to THAT guy for staying alive.
Then there’s a couple straighter country songs – a “charming” instrumental Byrds cover that’s only “charming” because I mistakenly put quotation marks instead of parentheses, not that either were necessary, and a straight up country drinking song probably original played on steel guitar and shit. Okay, great, but I can get serious drinking songs elsewhere; I don’t need all this levity. I don’t like the poorly Malenkov. But you know who’s really my favourite Stalin stooge? The spy Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Now there’s a believer who was true blue with a pink bow.
Just kidding, he was a writer that was send to the gulags then lived in exile. I’m Christopher Hitchens, and we’ll see you next week!

6 / 10

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