The Big Pink – These Arms of Mine

There are some artists who (in my opinion) should remain un-covered; Otis Redding is a prime example.  There is something untouchable about his music – something that another artist cannot possibly replicate.  And because of that, it’s almost criminal to try.

I’m not saying that The Big Pink set out to make something comparable to Otis Redding.  It’s probable that they simply wanted to pay tribute to one of their favorite artists, and this was the best way they could.  But in doing so, the result is quite nearly unlistenable.  The track is void of all the emotion that Mr. Redding brought to it, and they stripped the song of all the sounds that made them compelling as a band.  Even as a b-side to their Velvet single, this ends up being better left as something that stayed on the cutting room floor.

The Big Pink – These Arms of Mine (mp3) from Velvet [Single]

and for good measure…

Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine (mp3) from Pain In My Heart

  • Deucemckenzie

    Thanks for posting that. I have been after a 7 inch of that single for some time now (digital singles have little appeal to me). The A side was my favorite straight up rock single of last year, I agree the B-side is an old fashioned throwaway cover.

    I don't personally subscribe to the idea of untouchable artists or songs. There is a long history of artists covering their favorite songs of yesteryear and not reaching the quality or feel of the original (The Beatles did this constantly early on). In my opinion this is just part of the art form. I doubt this was really an attempt by The Big Pink to come anywhere near the original. More likely they were in the studio one day getting tired of whatever song they were working on, so they knocked out a quick cover of a favorite song that shared a phrase with their lead single. Later Matador called them up for a throwaway for their first single and then it was converted to PVC and digits.

    One of my favorite examples of this recently is the cover of “The Rainbow” by Talk Talk on the B-Side of “Rooks” by Shearwater. This is a holy recording for me, and nothing will be capable of replicating the wonderful and weird original, but it still provided an interesting insight into the band.

    All that said, I agree that the above is a complete crap cover. I just feel that the “Everything is Free Game (as long as your pay the royalties)” policy is one of the vital traditions of Rock & Roll.

  • tympanogram

    Oh, I agree that covers are a vital part of Rock – without a doubt.

    And some of my dislike for this track is my affection for the original. But with that said, a lot of times I wish covers would stay quirks at concerts – especially when they result in something like this.

    But, for covers in general, if it gets one kid who likes The Big Pink listening to Otis Redding, then it's probably entirely worth it.