The Black Keys have a way with a cover song and having long been champions of our shared home state of Ohio, it’s no surprise that they’ve covered a few of their fellow Akron-area musicians.
The James Gang, fronted for a time by Joe Walsh, formed in Cleveland in 1967. Their best-known song was a typically ’70s rock ‘n’ roll nugget called “Funk #49”.
While keeping the rock essence of the song, the Keys admirably trim the original’s excess making it, for me at least, far more palatable.
While the Cramps formed in Sacramento, California, the dearly departed Lux Interior hailed from Stow, Ohio, just outside of Akron, and Lux and wife Poison Ivy lived in Akron for a couple of years in the early 1970s.
While a somewhat less natural choice for the Keys than the “Funk #49”, their cover of the Cramps’ “Can’t Find My Mind” reveals an appealing glimpse of punk spirit and Auerbach’s penchant for fuzz guitar serves the song well.
Devo formed in Akron in 1973 before eventually moving to California and never really looking back, but not before leaving the Akron music scene shaken, bewildered and inspired.
Even though Patrick Carney has professed Devo to be one of this favorite bands, “Uncontrollable Urge” is an even less natural choice for the Black Keys to cover than the Cramps. There are hardly two bands more opposite in sound and spirit. I’ll let you be the judge of how well they bridged the gap.