Friday, June 25, 2010

Summertime: Bus Stop

Lori Lieberman: Bus Stop


I wanted to behave myself. I wanted to post Bus Stop this week, and I wanted to follow the informal rule here, that a posted song must be old enough to have stood the test of time. So I went looking for versions of Bus Stop, and I found plenty of them. Then I listened. A distressing number of them are sound-alikes of the original Hollies version. A small number display the disastrous results of poor artistic decisions. I appreciate the artistry of the original all the more, knowing how badly the song can be done. But then there is this.

I reviewed Lori Lieberman’s album Gun Metal Sky just last year on Oliver di Place, and her Bus Stop was one of the songs I posted then. Usually, I favor original songs over covers in my reviews. But there are times when a cover version of a well known song reveals just as much originality as the artist’s original songs. This was one of those times. Lieberman’s Bus Stop is a delicate work that perfectly captures the innocence of the summer romance described here. It caused me to completely reevaluate a song I had never really liked. I can think of no higher compliment than that.

BTW, perhaps as you have been reading this, you have had the gnawing thought that you should know who Lori Lieberman is. One evening, 40 or so years ago, Lieberman went to hear a young singer named Don McLean. That performance inspired Lieberman to write the poem that became Killing Me Softly With His Song. That song may have been a sort of one-hit wonder, but I can prove that there is more to Lieberman than that.

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