Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Acoustic Versions: I Need Love

Luka Bloom: I Need Love


Boyhowdy posted a track from this various-artists live CD, In Their Own Words, Vol. 1, last year, but it's one of those albums that always seems to pop up when I'm searching for songs for the weekly themes here. So I hope you don't mind me revisiting it, because just about the whole album is perfect for this week's theme.

For those of you who have never heard of this album before, it is a collection of highlights from a series of shows that NYC radio DJ Vin Scelsa hosted at the now-defunct Bottom Line nightclub back in the '90s.

The series was called "In Their Own Words: A Bunch of Songwriters Sittin' Around Singin'", and that pretty much tells you want it was, except that they would talk, too, about the craft of songwriting and their inspirations. Each evening featured four songwriters, and they would often play on each other's songs. (I wish I could have been there for the night Barrett String, Richard Thompson, Dave Alvin, and Shawn Colvin shared the stage!)

One night Luka Bloom was part of the roundtable, and during the portion of the show where each songwriter is asked to play a cover song, he pulled out his reinvention of LL Cool J's "I Need Love". He released a studio version of it on his Acoustic Motorbike album, but this live version is the one to have. It's a revelation. The dated synths and beats on LL Cool J's original don't do much for me, but Luka's version is timeless. It makes my heart melt, and there are very few male singers who can do that to me.

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