Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Mortal Coil - "Song to the Siren" (the song remains the same)

I've already given a short summary of the history and focus of This Moral Coil in my review of their initial 1983 EP "Sixteen Days/Gathering Dust".  Originally the B-side to the EP, "Song to the Siren" was so well-received that it became the A-side to the 7" single.  In part through use in commercials, "Song to the Siren" became a moderate hit (in relative terms, anyway) for This Mortal Coil. 

Originally written by folk singer Tim Buckley, my first exposure was the TMC verison.  But I've only recently discovered the many other versions of this song.  Here is an incomplete list in roughly chronological order:

Tim Buckley - 1968, studio 1970: Danette pointed out the original, folk version is midway between Pat Boone's and TMC's. 

Pat Boone - 1969: No, really.  A disturbingly bland, lifeless version. 

TMC - studio 1983live 1983: The canonical version; Elizabeth Fraser turns in an achingly beautiful rendition.

Damon & Naomi - 2001: The former Galaxie 500 members give a trademark slowcore version.

Sinead O'Connor - 2010: Clearly inspired by the TMC version.

Bryan Ferry - studio 2010, live 2010: This sounds exactly like you'd expect a Bryan Ferry version to sound like. 

Brendan Perry - live 2011: Perry is 1/2 of Dead Can Dance, who were a central figure in the 4AD / TMC sound.

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