Sunday, September 30th, 2012
"Come See About Me"
The Afghan Whigs cover The Supremes
Sub PopHistory likes to lump The Afghan Whigs in with the grunge end of the ’90s Alternative Nation scene – and yeah, they certainly benefitted from being on Sub Pop for the release of Up In It in 1990 and Gentlemen in 1993 – but they didn’t have much in common with their Pacific northwest brethren, stylistically. They came from much more of a place of R&B and soul than psych, metal, or other brand of classic rock… and while there may exist photographic evidence to prove otherwise, I don’t see Greg Dulli as much of a flannel guy.
So it actually makes a lot of sense that their only two official releases since reuniting early this year have been a couple of covers – one of 1970s soul singer Marie “Queenie” Lyons and another of 2012 R&B/hip-hop breakout star Frank Ocean. The Whigs have long made a habit of recording and releasing covers, specifically ones that point to their musical influences. Case in point, their 1992 EP Uptown Avondale which collected four Stax/Motown covers including this one (which again appeared on their 2006 best-of Unbreakable), a Holland/Dozier/Holland classic that was a #1 single in late 1964 and early 1965 for The Supremes. And it’s a pretty great example of what a few chord voicing changes can do to the character of a song, as the Whigs’ decision to take things into a minor key make it an infinitely more sinister tune; no, girl – don’t go see about him. Just don’t.
Diana Ross left The Supremes in 1970 and after a number of lineup changes, they disbanded in 1977. The Afghan Whigs are at The Phoenix on Wednesday night.