Rebirth of the Cool: Ohio Covers Ohio, Part One

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”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_qHU_6Ofc0?fs=1]

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T0GzZuKbhY?fs=1]

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4BMW31juLc?fs=1]

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0XOfMwMX1A?fs=1]

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRENoPisFYk?fs=1]

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Rebirth of the Cool: Goo Goo Muck

The Cramps seemed to permeate northeastern Ohio culture in an insidious way. Even if you had never heard of the Cramps before, you somehow instinctively knew that Lux Interior was from Akron. That’s the way it felt, anyway. And the fact that my mother clipped Lux’s obituary from The Akron Beacon Journal for me when I’m certain that, if I mentioned the Cramps to her at all, it was only once or twice in the distant past bares this out.

One of the Cramps’ best-known songs is the deliciously depraved “Goo Goo Muck”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7RVymaTMkc]

You may know that “Goo Goo Muck” is a cover of a 1962 tune by Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads. Little information is available about this band, and the only other song mentioned by them is the b-side to “Goo Goo Muck”, “The Scotch”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn2kjIac8jk]

In the 1960s, instrumental bands were a happening thing in American rock ‘n’ roll. Groups like the Ventures, the Surfaris and, of course, Booker T. and the MGs experienced success to rival their vocals-enabled peers. When I began researching instrumental band the Fireballs, their 1958 single “Torquay” struck me as sounding very familiar…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs76somm2k4]

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