Dominic's Staff Pick: February 9, 2023

What’s up Sorry Staters? Thanks for dialing us up on your internet viewing device. I hope you are all having a good week out there.

We’ve been busy as usual here on the Sorry State ranch and I have been knee-deep in dusty and cobwebby boxes assessing a nice classic rock collection, which hopefully by the time you read this we will have closed the deal on. As a result, I have not dedicated much time to my staff pick for this week and, coupled with another restless night caused by my various ailments, I find myself here on Thursday morning staring at a blank screen. So, it’s going to be a short one from me this week.

Next week is St. Valentine’s day and regardless of your stance on Hallmark holidays, there’s no real escaping it, and although I’ve tended to make a dog’s dinner of my past relationships, I am not “against” love. I might just be a bit more jaded than the average person. I certainly have always been drawn to tragic love songs in music and the anti-love songs that exist. I like the she loves you yeah, yeah, yeah stuff too, but when there is a darker edge to things, it appeals and makes sense to me. One such song that probably tops the heap in the love songs with depth category is Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. Everyone loves that song, and you don’t need me to tell you about it, but certainly the circumstances in the life of Ian Curtis that influenced his writing of the song make for a classic on par with a Shakespearian or Greek tragedy. If you are unfamiliar with his story, hit the Wiki.

Naturally, with any great song come the cover versions, and there have been a few of Love Will Tear Us Apart. Pop singer Paul Young had success with his version in Europe, for instance. The one that I like, though, is by Swans. This version seems to divide the room. Some like it and some not. Swans fans have different opinions for sure. Their version appeared on an E.P. released in 1988 that also featured different versions of tracks from their album Children Of God, released the previous year. I won’t profess to being a huge Swans fan, but their story is an interesting one, and I did get to see them at the famed Limelight club in New York City back in the early 1990s. My memory is hazy of that night, but I know I had a good time. I was working on the ships back then and we were in port after just crossing the Atlantic and out on the town. As luck would have it, our liberty coincided with the gig.

On their version of the song, there are apparently different vocal takes that appear on releases featuring either Gira or Jarboe on lead. College radio loved it, and the E.P. was a minor hit. Regardless of the views of the members of the band who recorded it or the fans. I’ll be honest I didn’t follow Swans’ career too closely after seeing them, but do remember checking out this cover version and liking it, and years later I did find a copy for myself. It’s not super hard to find or that expensive, but still collectable. My version is the red one with Michael Gira’s lead vocal.

On my radio show last week as teaser for next week’s Valentine’s show, I gave it a spin and enjoyed hearing it again, and so did some of our listeners. If you are unfamiliar or just want a reminder, you can click the link here.

Okay, I must get back to work and get all these records worked on. Have a great week and we’ll see you here next time. Cheer everybody.


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