CARON WHEELER / “The Wind Cries Mary”
I know that earth has had enough of the perpetual rape, environmental poisoning, violations of the universal law. When will this cease? When we humans return to our respect for the earth and each other. When we Afrikans are no longer afraid to bask in our own godly earthly glory and return to our way, our lips, our noses, our hair, our blakness! —Caron WheelerWell, there are covers and then there are covers!!! I mean versions so hip, regardless of the fame of the original, the cover achieves a glory all it’s own. As far as I am concerned, Caron Wheeler's cover of Jimi Hendrix' "The Wind Cries Mary"is near the tip of Caron’s artistic achievements. Caron deservedly came to fame as one of the lead voices of Soul II Soul. She’s made two solo albums; “The Wind Cries Mary” is from the second of the two and it’s both gorgeous and infuriating. I immediately wanted to know how it was mixed. It sounds like they sampled Jimi Hendrix talking and seamlessly mixed Hendrix himself playing his famous song into the cover version. It’s done so artfully that the Hendrix samples are part of the cover, but the cover also has a sound of it’s own, sounding unlike anything Jimi did. But, we’re constantly hearing Jimi, with Caron wailing atop the mélange. Talk about a ménage a trois! Caron has the pipes to pull it off, Jimi’s famous mumble offers a sly counterpoint, and then there is the modern production. Got to give the sister a shout out to be this audacious. I would love to see her do a whole album of covers, but it’s been over a decade since she has had a release. Heaven forbid she stops recording, but even if nothing else drops, she has made her impact. —Kalamu ya Salaam Click here to purchase Beach of the War Goddess Incredible voice/spiritual vibes I agree, this is a good remake. I've owned Beach of the War Goddess a couple of times — once when it first came out (I probably traded it in or something) then again a few months ago when Mama asked me to find it for her online. (I got it for three or four bucks, shipping included.) My second reaction was the same as my first: incredible voice and positive, spiritual vibes, but way overdone late '80s/early '90's-style production. I guess I was so caught up it hating the slickness of the production that I missed this song. One other thing — the way Caron & Co. mixed samples of Jimi with clips of him talking with their own new production reminded me of another record I like: "Happiness On The Wind" by an outfit calling themselves Beautiful People. "Happiness" is a mash-up of Jimi's vocals from "The Wind Cries Mary" with his vocals from "Belly Button Window" with Jimi speaking about his music all set to new production (a re-done rhythm track, primarily). Beautiful People did an entire album of Hendrix covers/samples/reworks called If 60s Were 90s. The album isn’t very good as a whole—if I had to sum it up in one word, I’d called it ‘gimmicky’—but the Hendrix fanatics out there might want to track it down. —Mtume ya Salaam
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