Last week, while discussing unofficial compilations, I suggested that readers share some if their favorites in the comments. In doing so I asked myself the same question. While a number come to mind, I want to highlight a set that was put together by the now defunct music blog Setting The Woods On Fire. In scope, the site—named after the great Hank Williams tune—focused on the glory days of old C&W and the disparate genres, and artists, it orbited (or vice versa).

A couple of years ago the blog featured two separate compilations: Almost Blue – The Originals, and Fakebook – The Originals. The two sets rounded up the songs covered on Almost Blue (1981) and Fakebook (1990) by Elvis Costello and Yo La Tengo, respectively. Besides acting as an interesting (and entertaining) exercise in the roots of two great albums, the two compilations,  juxtaposed side by side, also (unintentionally?) highlighted the similar places both Costello and YLT were in their careers at the time of each release. In 1981 Costello was far more well known for his acerbic post-punk wit and snarl than the multi-faceted artist he is today. The majority of his audience (at the time) seemed to have little use for an LPs worth of Nashville Country & Western. Likewise, in 1990, Yo La Tengo covering Cat Stevens, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Rex Garvin, was a far cry from the guitar histrionics off there previous catalog. Since then both artists have incorporated a wide variety of styles and influences into their work, but at the time of release both LPs were a sort of game changer.

The Fakebook compilation is pretty self-explanatory covering the aforementioned Cat Stevens, Rex Garvin, Burrito Brothers as well at Beat Happening, Gene Clark, Flamin’ Groovies and others. The Almost Blue compilation rounds up its source material from both the artists specifically cited by Costello (as the inspiration) as well as those who also covered the material (re: Patsy Cline). Both compilations work on multiple levels whether your a fan of the covering artists or simply interested in the source material displayed under a new guise. As Setting The Woods On Fire is no longer active, the two sets can be found in zipped format after the jump.

Almost Blue – The Originals (zipped folder  48 MB)

Fakebook – The Originals (zipped folder 48 MB)

+ Download Yo La Tengo/ Elvis Costello via eMusic’s 35 free MP3 no risk trial offer
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9 Responses to “Originals :: Almost Blue/Fakebook”

  1. Thanks for the hook up!

  2. awesome, thanks! can’t wait to give these a listen.

  3. Anyone else feel the same way about Dylan’s “Good As I Been To You” as they do about Fakebook? Was a departure for Dylan, and also a very uncreative, but nevertheless a tribute to the past.

  4. Thanks! PS: Fakebook DL not working all day today (May 11)…

  5. Hey! Thanks for remembering my defunct music blog! I really appreciate the kind words and I’m glad people can still download and enjoy the collections I put together.

  6. thank you very very much.

  7. took the opportunity of a free saturday to give these both a listen and they are incredible compliations. thanks for sharing!!

  8. These are both great comps – have enjoyed them for many months now. I also remember ‘Original Sleepless Nights’ and ‘Original Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ comps (reverse tribute albums?), both Gram-centric of course, but not sure if they were from the same source as Paul’s wonderful, sorely missed STWOF blog.

  9. I am having a problem with the John Cale track on the Fakebook comp. It seems to be corrupted. Other than that, I have been playing the hell out of both of these.

    Monk, my view of “Good as I been to You” (and “World Gone Wrong”) is that Dylan was just sharpening his tools before creating some masterworks. I agree that the albums are uncreative in that he obviously did not write any songs and even the arrangements are not anything special, but I think those albums focused Dylan, got him away from chasing the new thing (remember Arthur Baker producing him?) and got him back on track. I love both albums by the way.

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