John Eden: Dream Baby Dream Baby Dream versions Part Two by Johnedenuk on Mixcloud
1. Fuxa – Dream Baby Dream
2. Christian & the Heathens – Dream Baby Dream
3. Mark Refoy – Blue Moon Dream Baby Dream
4. Madrugada – Dream Baby Dream
5. Luna – Dream Baby Dream
6. Black Tambourine – Dream Baby Dream
7. Savages – Dream Baby Dream
8. Sonic Death – Dream Baby Dream
9. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – Dream Baby Dream
10. Takkyu Ishino – Dream Baby Dream
11. Soma Sema – Dream Baby Dream
12. Zombie Zombie – Dream Baby Dream
13. Moto Boy- Dream Baby Dream
14. Enzo Boni – Dream Baby Dream
Sometimes quantity has a quality all of its own
Initially I liked the brevity of the Dream Baby Dream mix, but then my obsessive tendencies got the better of me. Banished from the room which contains my records last night I took to the internet to see what other versions of the Suicide track I could find.
What I like about the original its sparse brutal sonics and minimal deadpan vocals. This combination often seems to produce an emotional response in me that belies the simplicity of the ingredients. Ask any techno fan or Zen Buddhist if you don’t believe me.
Folk music, jazz and reggae are all based on versions, standards, interpretations of existing material but in rock music “original compositions” are what gets praised. The “cover version” is supposedly filler, novelty, the domain of jobbing pub bands giving the punters an unchallenging night out with no surprises or musical adventure.
The multiple versions here display diversity in unexpected ways.
Initially I was interested in the different genres which were being used to filter the interpretations. On the surface this is surprisingly varied, taking in pop, indie, jazz, rock, ambient, techno and piano balladeering.
But actually these genres (or the performances of them on display here) are more conservative than what Suicide were doing in the late seventies.
This is exacerbated by the Bruce Springsteen cover of the song (see the previous mix) which seems to have given a green light to various stadium performers (whether actual or wannabe) to reinterpret the song themselves. One of the artists on show here was actually honest enough to describe their work as “a cover version of the Bruce Springsteen cover version of the Suicide song”.
This has lead to a tendency to make some renditions of the song less deadpan and more literally emotional both in vocal and instrumental content. Which possibly says something about trying to appeal to a wider audience. But having said that I also like the balance of bedroom producers, small bands and what I guess are probably fairly well known people here. (The only artist I was familiar with previously was Neneh Cherry & The Thing).
Repeated listening made me appreciate less obvious differences between the tracks in the mix. Variations in bass tones, vocal tics, subtle textural shifts, different crowd noises, “mistakes”, room ambience, drop outs, and glitches caused by the free software I was using. I think these things are important, arguably just as important as the music being performed – but maybe it takes a version excursion to bring out these elements.
Dream Baby Dream.