Sunday, July 12th, 2009
Uncle Tupelo covers The Rolling Stones
Gumbo PagesI know it’s not by design – at least I hope it’s not – but both Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar seem to have gotten on synchronized creative schedules the last few years, with both Wilco and Son Volt’s releasing new records not only within the same calendar year, but even with months or even weeks of each other. It’s not entirely a recent phenomenon – both their debuts came out within six months of each other way back in 1995 – but after that they seemed to begin deliberately avoiding each other in the record stores and media cycles, probably hoping to avoid the endless comparisons and Uncle Tupelo connections, kind of like I’m doing now.
These days, however, both acts seem to have established their respective identities and stories – Tweedy the sonic adventurer with a fondness for polished ’70s pop and Farrar the dusty country troubadour – and the threat or promise of a Tupelo reunion is so implausible that their last records – Sky Blue Sky and The Search – came out within a couple months of each other and their latests, Wilco (The Album) and American Central Dust, a fortnight and week ago respectively, and few give it a second thought.
Except the likes of me, who use it as an opportunity to revisit their old band and revel in its ragged glory. This Rolling Stones cover was a staple of their live sets early on in their career. I’m not sure where or when it dates to, specifically, but signs point to the Summer of 1988. It comes from the Covers & Oddities ’88-’93 bootleg which has been circulating forever. And while you don’t really hear much Stones influence in either act these days, it’s worth noting that “Cocaine and Ashes” off the new Son Volt record was inspired by the story of Keith Richards snorting his father’s ashes. So there’s that.
The Arizona Republic has an interview with Jay Farrar.
MP3: Uncle Tupelo – “Dead Flowers”
Video: The Rolling Stones – “Dead Flowers” (live in Houston 1972)
Video: The Rolling Stones – “Dead Flowers” (live in Amsterdam 1995)