Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Feelies "Uncovered" (2016 Record Store Day EP)

The Feelies are about to release a new album on February 24th, titled In Between, on Bar/None Records. This is certainly big news for followers of the New Jersey indie-rock band, whose albums are few and far between. In Between is only the sixth full-length Feelies album to be released since 1980 (the year of their debut LP Crazy Rhythms), and it is their first album in six years, since they issued Here Before in 2011 – after a two-decade hiatus.

Although it has been six years since their last full-length album, the Feelies did issue a four-song EP titled Uncovered for Record Store Day 2016. Limited to 1,200 copies, the 12-inch, 45 rpm vinyl EP contained covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Doors, and Patti Smith. It’s a decent little record that delivers exactly what it promises, rendering the four covered songs through the Feelies’ guitar-based garage rock sensibilities. Glenn Mercer’s vocals sound less restrained on this EP than on most Feelies album tracks, suggesting that playing the songs of his influences tends to bring out his more intense side.

The EP begins with their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Seven Days”, which has the kind of guitar jangle that the Byrds might have given to the song – that is, if the Byrds had recorded a rendition of the song in a garage. The cover of Neil Young’s “Barstool Blues” is appropriately raw and ragged, with instrumentation that owes as much to the Velvet Underground as it does to Crazy Horse. Their rendition of the Doors’ “Take It As It Comes” is somewhat faithful to the original, except that it substitutes the usual Feelies second guitar in place of the original’s keyboards. The best of the four tracks is the cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot”, sung by bassist Brenda Sauter. Although Sauter’s vocals do not quite have the same haunting quality as Smith’s did on the original, this version has a power of its own, boosted further by a couple of Neil Young-like guitar bursts.

Notes: Although none of these four tracks were available commercially before they were issued on Uncovered, two of them did show up decades earlier on rare discs. “Dancing Barefoot” was on the B-side of the 1988 12-inch promo single “Away” (where Glenn Mercer was credited as the songwriter!), and on a flexi-disc included with Issue #35 of The BOB magazine. “Barstool Blues” appeared on a French two-song promo CD-single in 1990, and on the 12-inch promo single “Doin’ It Again” in 1991.


The Feelies - Uncovered

The Feelies “Uncovered” EP (Bar/None / Coyote BAR-LP-240) 2016

Track Listing:

1. Seven Days (Bob Dylan)
2. Take It As It Comes (The Doors)
3. Dancing Barefoot (Smith/Kral)
4. Barstool Blues (Neil Young)

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