Tag Archives: alternate tunings

Covers by Lovers SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EDITION — Vince Guaraldi Trio

I’m not saying I hate Christmas, I just hate a large majority of Christmas music.

Please don’t kill me, but I really can’t stand all the forced jolliness and cheer that everyone pretends to go along with when really they’re just stressed the crap out by having to find the perfect gift for every single person they know. My favorite Christmas songs are the ones that are actually about Christmas (you know, the birth of Christ), or, ones that just aren’t about how happy we have to be because it’s December. I particularly hate the ones that are about falling in love. It’s like, “Oh really? You mixed falling in love, the most popular topic in music, with the most popular American holiday and sold a ton of records? I can’t believe how creative you are!”

That’s why one of my favorite Christmas songs isn’t even really about Christmas per se, but it’s still a classic and iconic Christmas song. Linus and Lucy by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, from the film A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), doesn’t even have any words, yet it still never fails to remind me of all the special parts about Christmas–just being happy to be with my friends and family–rather than the need to purchase gifts, worship Satan Santa, or pretend that being hit by a projectile sphere of crystalline water in blisteringly cold weather is somehow pleasant. So, I’ve got 3 covers for you today, and I hope you enjoy their various interpretations of this iconic composition.

You should have known that I can’t stay away from the guitar covers. Yes, I know, pretty much every cover here features a guitar, but I’m working on trying to span out the range of instruments featured here (but there’s not a lot to work with on youtube). That aside, the first cover comes from youtuber mtreed55 playing the guitar in his “personal studio” (which he admits is actually just his bathroom). It’s got good harmonies that work well on the guitar, and I chose this one because, as you know, I love alternate tunings. He’s got his guitar in the D A D F# B E tuning. Altogether it sounds well, especially with the resonance of the bathroom. Check it out here:

This next cover has taken a few more steps in production. Youtube user PoopPoopFart (no comment) lays multiple tracks on one another, including two guitar parts and some percussion–I believe he’s playing an egg-shaker and rubbing some bongos with a sheet of paper (correct me if I’m wrong). He does the song very well and pretty loyally, but what I really enjoy are the small liberties he takes with melody and rhythm in the second verse and the personalization in the interluding riffs. Watch and enjoy here:

The last cover, surprisingly, doesn’t feature a guitar! Youtuber snakefl plays the song on piano, as in the original, but there are more liberties taken throughout the whole song and a lot of personal flavor added in. Seeing that Vince Guaraldi was a jazz pianist, and jazz is all about individuality in the solos, I think the outcome would really satisfy him. In the comments, snakefl has been criticized for not getting the whole song down correctly. There are some places where I think he slipped up, but I think the comment author was referring to the distorted rhythm of the song. However, I think it’s more of an interpretive move rather than a lack of understanding of the original. Here’s my favorite version:

Well, for now, have a merry Christmas. Try not to get caught up in all the glamor of the holiday; instead, relax and enjoy the music! And for good measure, a shout-out to all the Jews (including Jesus): If I knew any good Hanuka songs I’d post ’em.

Here’s the original. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the video with all the Peanuts gang dancing, but still images will suffice for now:
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Donovan – Colours

I’ve liked the song Colours by Donovan since high school, ever since I heard it in the movie The Rules of Attraction (which has a great soundtrack, by the way). It wasn’t until college, when I went to the house of two girls I thought were really cool and who pulled out a record and played this song on vinyl, that I really fell in love with it. The next year I went to Scotland, Donovan’s madrepatria, and the song has stayed with me ever since.

Most of the covers of this song on youtube come from older folks who probably listened to this song when it first came out in the sixties, and the first is one of them. This comes from youtuber Litegauge. He uses the open D alternate tuning, which we saw in the previous post on Your Ex-Lover is Dead by Stars. I love this tuning–if the song is in the right key, the guitar provides a full, vibrant sound. However, that’s only one of the perks of this cover. LiteGauge is a little bit playful with the tabbing, sometimes tabbing the melody, other times tabbing out rhythmic chords. He’s got a nice, soft voice, too. A lot of kids in my generation remember their parents singing this song. I imagine it’s a little bit like reliving that–and for LiteGauge’s generation, reminiscent of days gone by. He’s got lots of other covers for you to enjoy, so check ’em out after the vid:

It’s refreshing (for me at least) to see some younger kids covering this song–proof that it’s timeless, anyway. The next comes from a youtuber called Edmonlisandro. It’s pretty new, having been added about 2 weeks ago and having only 5 views at the time I saw it. This strays a bit from the original in many ways. In some spots, he takes liberties with the melody and chord progression, and all around the rhythm of the song is drastically different, but not tragic by any means. Plus, harmonica skills! Chicks dig guys with skillz. As always, he’s got more covers for you to listen to, after a sneak peak of this clever interpretation:

I wanted to post another cover by the previously-featured VulgarMind, but I wanted to increase our amateur artist library before making any repeats. However, you can check it out on our youtube playlist of notable Colours covers.

It’s not on vinyl, but you’ll live: Colours (live) by Donovan

Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead

Today’s band, Stars, is one of my favorites. They’ve got a diverse set of songs, and they use a set of instruments just as diverse–ranging from acoustic guitars, brass horns, pianos, keyboards, strings, synthesized sounds, etc. Much like what I said about The Postal Service, covering a song with such effects with just one or two instruments can be a challenge. However, I’ve found two covers of Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, and I think all the artists met the challenge well.

The first cover comes from a youtuber aGirlNamedG0o. This cover is amazing on so many levels. First of all, the strummed guitar provides a pleasant, full, vibrant sound. She uses an alternate tuning–instead of the standard EADGBE tuning that most of the guitar covers here use, she uses DAEAAE–that works well with the key of the song, and is ultimately what I think leads to such a rich sound. The tabs are the very beginning are a nice take on the riff of the original–plus, I love the octave drop when she repeats the riff. The second tabbed part replaces the cello in the original, and, while I prefer the cello, she works well with one instrument, and you might barely notice anything missing at all. Her voice is great, though regrettably it’s a bit difficult to hear. She’s also got some other covers, so you can check them out after watching this:

The second cover comes from two people, posted by youtuber travestees. I really appreciate that they use a violin to replace the heavy strings in the original. Again, there’s a small liberty taken with the original riff, but it’s a nice take. They sing well together, and they even sing the harmonies in the original, all held together with a steady strum on the guitar. Again, they’ve got more covers to watch, so check ’em out after this one:

What would you do if I didn’t post the original? Would you care?: Your Ex-Lover is Dead by Stars