Ben E. King: Don’t Let Me Down
From Rough Talk (Maxwell, 1970)
Con Los Carrion: Y La Amo
From Exitos De Los Beatles (Orfeon, 196?)
Given that the Beatles are like, you know, the most famous band in history, the list of artists who’ve covered their songs go on and on and on. Hell, I could do a month’s worth of posts on “Eleanor Rigby” covers alone (and believe me, you wouldn’t want that). I plucked two off of some recent arrivals instead.
Ben E. King’s “Don’t Let Me Down,” comes off a 1970 album that would prove to be King’s last for several years – after blowing up on the strength of “Stand By Me,” in the early ’60s, his career waned and Rough Edges was his last LP until a brief revival in the mid-70s. The whole album is well worth hunting down (it’s not ubër-rare) – there’s quite a few covers and medleys on here, but as he does on “Don’t Let Me Down,” King transforms the arrangements and puts his own signature on it. Due credit goes to the rhythm section, they nail a fantastic groove the whole way through, especially the pianist.
The Spanish-language version of “I Love Her” aka “Y La Amo,” comes from a Mexican rock band, Con Los Carrion (“with carriage”?) who cut an entire album of Beatles’ covers. I wish the album had better fidelity – most of the arrangements are overly loyal and the sound of the album is flat – but “Y La Amo,” comes through better, perhaps because the guitar melody is so prominent (and pretty). What’s funny about this group and album is that they sing each song exactly like the Beatles, with every accent and inflection following John and Paul’s, even though they’re still singing in Spanish. If the song was more listenable, I would have included “Nina (Girl)” as an example.