News  Notes from Alley


Friday, January 23 ~ Me and Bobby McGee: feeling good's easy...



Here's a new, home-cooked, video of Canadian musician Allison Crowe performing live in concert "Me and Bobby McGee", the Fred Foster, Kris Kristofferson song recorded famously by Janis Joplin.



Images are from Billie Woods, the terrifically talented photographer who regularly tours Europe with Crowe. These pics are from such locations as Frankfurt and Siegen, Germany and Durness, Scotland where Allison Crowe headlined the 'Northern Lights Festival', a benefit for the John Lennon Memorial Garden bedded in the Scottish Highlands.

As with her other interpretations, Allison Crowe doesn't mimic the sound or style of another artist. Instead, she covers songs in her own voice.


 "Allison Crowe is the best thing to happen to 'Me And Bobby McGee' since Janis Joplin changed Kristofferson’s lyrics" says Allan Showalter. Showalter's entertainingly erudite "pastiche of a blog" 1 Heck of a Guy notes:

"Of course, the credentials that matter most are her performances. If you haven't heard her powerful yet not strident version of 'Hallelujah'... I urge you to do so now. Then, for something completely different, listen to her take on Ronnie Shannon's 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)', which is (forgive me, Aretha) the best I've heard.

" 'Me and Bobby McGee,' the song authored by Kris Kristofferson and popularized by Janis Joplin (although Roger Miller's version was the first to rank as a hit), is not one of my favorites, but it is useful as an example of Allison Crowe's skills, in part because most readers of this blog have, I suspect, heard it sung by at least a couple of performers.

"Also noteworthy, however, is the choice of this song itself. If Allison had asked me to select 100 possible covers for her to play in a concert, a real concert with a fancy piano set in the converted church chapel of the Conservatory of Music in Victoria, British Columbia, a concert that would become the album, Allison Crowe Live At Wood Hall (with album art... radiating dangerous levels of wholesomeness), 'Me and Bobby McGee would not have been on my list. Nor would it have been on my Possible Allison Crowe Covers #101-200″ list, nor the #201 to 300″ list. Me and Bobby McGee is a Kristofferson-Joplin-Miller kind of song. Kenny Rogers, when he was still the Kenny Rogers in Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, sang it, as did Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Haley & His Comets, Sam The Sham, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. Waylon sang it. So did The Grateful Dead and Dolly Parton. It is definitely not an Allison Crowe kind of song.

"Until she sings it.

"Although Allison introduces over a dozen significant adaptations to 'Me and Bobby McGee,' I'll point out only one nuance. Listen to her inflected pronunciation of 'Baton Rouge' in the first line, 'Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin' for a train.' It makes this version of the song her own from that point, giving the song a richer, more complex flavor than those rendered in flat Midwestern intonations. Yet, performed the same way by almost anyone else, the same tactic would come off as too precious by half."


Hey, hey, hey, I said...





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