Shovels & Rope
“Bad As Me”
Covering Tom Waits is a bad idea (ask Scarlett Johansson), but Carolina duo Shovels & Rope get it right. I wrote about Shovels & Rope recently, when I talked about the music of one of my favorite shows, Rectify, and have been taking in their new album Swimming Time lately, but unfortunately haven’t been able to give it enough listens in time for a review (I usually try to listen to something at least five times before discussing it). However, I wanted to cover the rising duo somehow, and having crept back into their catalog, I discovered their two-sided covers single they released for Jack White’s Third Man Records of Bruce Springsteen’s rockabilly “Johnny 99” and Tom Waits’ diabolical “Bad As Me”. While I love their relentless version of “Johnny 99”, their cover as “Bad As Me” is the 2nd best cover I have heard all year – next to the Bryan Ferry-sung cover of Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary” Todd Terje put out this year – and deserving of a write-up.
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