last town

There was a time when one of my household charges was to collect covers. As chores go, it’s not bad. With a clear imperative to seek out novel versions of familiar songs, I scoured the internet in the hopes of finding material that was unique and fun. This task was mostly undertaken when there was a true free-for-all out there in the digital wilds, with emerging artists finding that a nicely crafted cover was of the best ways to distinguish themselves from the masses uploading Garage Band files onto MySpace pages. As a result, I have loads and loads of covers strewn about my computerized music collection, and everyone once in a while a great one shuffles up.

Last Town Chorus was essentially the creative outlet of singer/guitarist Megan Hickey. And it was a cover that briefly brought Last Town Chorus to prominence when her stately, spare version of David Bowie’s “Modern Love” was featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It was Hickey’s pass at a different early eighties hit that hooked me, though.

In covering Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Hickey essentially pulls the same trick as she did with Bowie’s classic, but it’s a good one. The song is slowed to an agonizingly slow pace, with a ruminative pedal steel guitar and Hickey drawing out the lyrics to accentuate the heartbreak embedded in them. It does what a great cover should: It reveals something new about the song, or at least offers a reminder of some aspect that might have gotten lost after years of repetition.

It seems Hickey is largely retired from music these days, but some cursory research shows she still know her way around a cover.

Listen or download —> Last Town Chorus, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”

(Disclaimer: To my knowledge, this cover version wasn’t dropped onto an official release that could generate revenue for either the original songwriter or Hickey, so I’m sharing it here with the belief that doing so won’t steer anyway away from engaging in proper commerce. Even so, I will gladly and promptly remove the track from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

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