Jim James: Tribute to 2 review – a refreshing dip into pop's past

(ATO Records)

My Morning Jacket, the Kentucky rock band Jim James has fronted since 1998, are known for their line in eclectic cover versions, having paid homage to everything from Erykah Badu’s Tyrone to Elton John’s Rocket Man. As if to cement his dedication to the art, James’s first move as a solo artist was to release Tribute To, an EP of George Harrison covers.

It’s successor stays largely in that 60s/70s milieu, and includes a gorgeous, minimalist version of the Beach Boys’ I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times, and a bizarrely sloppy (albeit quite amusing) cover of Dylan’s I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, which James sings as though he has a mouthful of marbles. But there are curveballs too, two tracks by “Britain’s first pop star” Al Bowlly among them. On these, James retains the 30s plinky-plonk piano but replaces Bowlly’s particular croon with something a little more off the wall. It turns what can initially seem like a predictable homage to sunny and smooth 60s rock into a compelling and inventive deep dive into pop’s past.

Contributor

Rachel Aroesti

The GuardianTramp

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