Byron Lee and the Dragonaires: My Sweet Lord
From Reggay Splashdown (Dynamic, 1971)
The Troubadours: My Sweet Lord
From Breakthrough (Hilary, 1972)
It’s no secret that I – love – covers. At times, I wonder if that means I don’t appreciate original compositions as much but it really just comes down to the surprise-factor in hearing a familiar song done in a new, interesting way. (At some point, yes, I will definitely try to bring back my CD, Deep Covers, back into production.)
I’ve had this Byron Lee for several years now – it is a great LP, especially since it has this song plus a cover of “Express Yourself” which is ace. I especially love it when reggae/rocksteady artists cover soul and rock songs: the reggae rhythm often complements the original style very well and what Byron Lee and the Dragonaires do to George Harrison’s sublime “My Sweet Love” is just phenomenal in really bring out the soulful qualities. I played this the other night at the record release party for Soul Sides Vol 1, towards the very end of the evening, and it felt like a great way to help close things out.
The Troubadours version is very new to my collection: I just got it less than 10 days ago and when I heard it, it was an instant impulse buy. This is more uptempo, “groovier” than Lee’s version but it’s an equally interesting and, to me, compelling take on the Harrison original. I can’t even really choose between this and the Lee to argue which one I like better: they’re different approaches and both appeal to me. I think that, more than anything, is a testament to the late Harrison and the beauty of his songwriting (which goes far too overlooked compared to the Paul/John debates).