Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Van Halen

Okay, yes, I am.

About a week ago, apropos of nothing, I felt the urge to do a post about covers of Van Halen songs. There is just something about Van Halen that transcends aversions to spandex and sexism. I have a feeling it has something to do with David Lee Roth (I can still un-ironically enjoy “Hot for Teacher”, but I can’t listen to “Why Can’t This Be Love?” without wincing). Though I can no longer stomach most of the David Lee wannabees who so littered the wasteland of my youth, I am still charmed by Roth’s unapologetic showboating. And if you can’t rock out to “Panama”, you just don’t know why rocking out was created, my friend.

Here, I give you a few choice Van Halen covers, beginning with my favorite Van Halen cover: the Black Diamond Heavies doing up “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and proving that you don’t need guitar to be badass. And feedback-y.



Next, the minutemen covering… “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”. Hey, bite me, it’s the minutemen. And since it’s the minutemen, it will only take a minute of your time. Less than a minute, actually.



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Black Diamond Heavies: One Night Only!


Aw, hell yeah, this is a cool event, kiddies. On December 7, 2011, at 9 PM EST, Saving Country Music will be streaming the Black Diamond Heavies’ set from the 2009 Deep Blues Festival. BDH performed at the very first DBF, and not only does the 2009 set feature core members John Wesley Myers (a.k.a. James Leg, who will be playing live in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 5 at Now That’s Class) and Van Campbell, but it also includes a reunion with original BDH member Mark “Porkchop” Holder and support from guru/roadie extraordinaire U.S. Justin and BDH buddy Andy Jody (whose long and illustrious resume includes Pearlene, James Leg’s solo album and Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, to barely scratch the surface).



Be sure to trek on over to Saving Country Music ahead of time and download the live player plug-in beforehand so you’ll be ready when the fun gets going. And stock up on whiskey. It will be fucking awesome, I assure you.

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Rebirth of the Cool: Sinnerman


Nina Simone and the song “Sinnerman” go hand-in-hand. If you think of “Sinnerman”, you probably think of Nina’s version, and if you think of Nina, you probably thing of “Sinnerman”. Simone’s version is so authoritative and brilliant that you might not realize that she didn’t write the song. “Sinnerman” (or “Sinner Man”) began life as a traditional spiritual and many other people had a turn at it before Simone made it her own in 1965. For instance, king of exotica Les Baxter did it up with Will Holt on vocals in 1956.



Kind of a shock after Simone’s version. It’s kind of… well… white. (Though not the whitest of the white. For that, check out versions by the Weavers and Tommy Sands.)

Peter Tosh had a long relationship with the song, beginning in 1966 (some sources say 1964 or 1965) when he recorded it with the Wailers. In the ’70s, he changed the name to “Downpressor Man”.



One of the most recent versions was recorded by the Black Diamond Heavies for their 2008 album A Touch of Someone Else’s Class. It clearly draws from … Continue reading