Five Great Musical Duos-In-Waiting
Last month at Starbucks, waiting on my Grande Pike, I spied on the sales counter a curious item. It was a CD featuring duets by the dude from Green Day and Norah Jones.
"Weird combo," I thought, took my coffee and went on with my day.
Then, maybe a week later, Phil Everly passed away and the bossman wrote a damn fine bit about him and his brother, Don, best known to music fans as The Everly Brothers. There was the CD cover again in the piece and that's how I learned these two teamed up to cover the Everlys' Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, with the loving title Foreverly.
I've been listening to the CD a lot since then; it's really good stuff. It's not that strange a pairing, either, if you consider Billie Joe Armstrong has toned it down to Jones' pace on work like "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and "Wake Me When September Ends."
I love the songs, but I may be even more enchanted by the format. Take two seemingly dissimilar artists and assign them a rock hall of fame act. They don't do the greatest hits thing, but get one album to remake and reintroduce to new fans. I dig it.
Putting on my producer's hat, here are my five choices for the next Foreverly.
Shakira and Trampled by Turtles Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac
Before they were rock legends, the founding members of present-day Fleetwood Mac performed with John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, so roots-rockers Trampled by Turtles isn't that far a stretch. The track I'd really love to hear them take on from the album is "Landslide"; Dave Simonett would kill, singing lyrics not too distant from the TBT norm.
Among the pantheon of women singers who sound goat-like, it's Stevie Nicks at No. 1 and Shakira a close second. So you are practically getting Nicks, only with a bitchin' accent. As a bonus, we'd get her alternating Nicks' twirls with her own sexy belly-dancing gyrations in the "Rhiannon" video.
K. Michelle and Ray LaMontagne The Poet, Bobby Womack
That soulful gruffness LaMontagne possesses in his wonderful voice would lend itself well to any of Womack's songs. I'd love to hear him take "If You Think You're Lonely Now" down a notch to make its hurtful words more intentional.
K. Michelle could pour a little "VSOP" on tracks like "Lay Your Lovin' On Me" and "Games." The album ends with both swapping lines on the perfect duet tune, "Where Do We Go From Here."
Samanta Crain and Arctic Monkeys Give the People What They Want, The Kinks Mixing two now-passe phrases, if you ain't up on Samantha Crain, bad on you. She's a country-folkie from Shawnee, Okla., whose elegant and reflective songs can be enjoyed on her recent effort Kid Face. She'd handle the slower stuff, like "Yo-Yo," on this 1981 album. She'd turn in an extra-creepy femme version of "Art Lover."
Arctic Monkeys have closer ties to the Davies brothers, actually being from the UK and patterning their sound from 1960s Brit-rockers. Front man Alex Turner has listed Face to Face as an essential album to the Monkeys' foundation. Just play-producing this got me excited enough to Google "Arctic Monkeys + The Kinks + 'Destroyer'" because I'd really love to hear that. Sorry to report I got no hits...yet.
List continues on the next page.
Adele and Prince Go For Your Guns, The Isley Brothers Have Prince and Adele worked together yet? Why not? Hearing them team up for "Footsteps in the Dark" would easily be the highlight of this imagined album.
By the time The Isleys wrote Go For Your Guns, they'd recorded more than a dozen albums, but many featured songs written by other artists, like Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor and Seals & Croft. This one would give Adele and Prince songs written by the Isleys alone. I'd pay good money to hear Prince play every instrument on the CD, but especially the guitar, and especially on "The Pride." Also, my favorite Isleys song ever, "Livin' in the Life," is on this record and would be a badass duet where The Purple One and Adele could sass it up.
Bonnie Raitt and Jack White Berry Is On Top, Chuck Berry A current Rock and Roll Hall of Famer teams with a first-ballot shoo-in to honor rock's greatest living legend. Someone out there in the real music world needs to make this happen.
It doesn't matter what Raitt sings or what White sings -- it's going to sound like sweet, old-school rock and roll. I'd probably insist on Raitt singing "Maybellene" and "Sweet Little Rock N Roller." Anything Jack sings is going to blow us away, because he obviously has an appreciation for his predecessors going back to rock's earliest days.
Perhaps best of all, the guitar-slinging on this record would be incredible, as showcased on the album's closing song, "Blues for Hawaiians."
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