Cat Power - Dark End Of The Street EP

Another stellar sample of Chan’s heartfelt reworkings.

Rating:

The recording sessions for Jukebox were so fruitful for Cat Power and her Dirty Delta Blues band that they spawned not only the record itself and subsequent bonus tracks found on the deluxe version, but now another 6 song EP of covers ‘The Dark End Of The Street.’ This time around Chan Marshall adds her smoky, sultry style to classic songs by Aretha Franklin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Pogues, Otis Redding, and Sandy Denny, slowing down the tempo of most of the tracks with bare-bones arrangements that allow her earnest vocals to become the focus.

Most of the tracks simmer just slightly below the surface, with the emotional depths of the song not quite revealed entirely by the music but instead through Chan’s voice, which carries this record, as it does on all of her other albums. The real centerpiece of the EP is her impassioned cover of CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son’ that is slowed down to the pace of a funeral dirge, with the poignant lyrics gaining more weight and impact in light of the economic downturn taking place on both sides of the Atlantic. Her take on Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)’ is a slow burner that really picks up in passion and range as the song drives to its finish, carried along by the fervent drumming of the Blues Explosion’s Judah Bauer. And Sandy Denny’s heartbreakingly wistful ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes,’ is made even more so by Chan’s plaintive vocals and her sparse, evocative piano accompaniment.

There are some sleepy moments on the album where the essence of the originals are lost slightly, like on the morose title track and a version of ‘Ye Auld Triangle’ that never really gets off the ground. But overall, the album is another stellar sample of Chan’s heartfelt reworkings of songs that obviously hold some significance in her life. And she brings those layers of emotion and feeling to the forefront of each of her covers, breathing new life into these songs the way only she can.

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