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Beck Announces Plans to Redo Classic Albums for Record Club

June 18, 2009 12:09 PM ET

Free of the limitations of a conventional record contract, Beck has recruited some famous friends to join him for a new project: a Record Club. The Modern Guilt rocker is planning a series of one-day sessions at which he and a crew of collaborators will rerecord classic albums; the songs will be released once a week via his official Website. The singer's site will experience a complete overhaul to coincide with the Record Club project, which has already lined up MGMT, Devendra Banhart, Jamie Lidell and more.

According to a press release, none of the albums covered will be rehearsed, and the artists involved only have one day to lay down the entire LP. Up first: The Velvet Underground & Nico. Beck's version of the album's opening cut "Sunday Morning" is already making the rounds on the Net after it was distributed as a bonus 7'' with the re-release of his One Foot in the Grave.

Beck previously sporadically performed the song live in concert while touring with the Flaming Lips. According to Beck fansite Whiskeyclone, the rerecorded Velvet Underground & Nico will feature Sea Change producer and Radiohead's unofficial sixth member Nigel Godrich, members of Beck's touring band and Icelandic singer Thorunn Magnusdottir, who will probably serve as the album's Nico.

Rumors of Beck covering entire albums have run rampant on message boards and blogs (like Whiskeyclone) since a Japanese newspaper reported that Beck had rerecorded Sonic Youth's 1986 Evol for an unspecified purpose. Fans hypothesized Beck's Evol would appear on the reissue of Sonic Youth's original version, but now it appears it will be bound for the Record Club. For Record Store Day, Beck and Sonic Youth collaborated on a 7'' that featured Beck's awesome take on Evol's "Green Light" and Sonic Youth recording a fuzzed-out version of Mellow Gold's "Pay No Mind (Snoozer.)"

UPDATE: The relaunched Beck webpage is now live with a video of the Record Club's cover of Velvet Underground & Nico's "Sunday Morning." "For this first edition, after lengthy deliberation and coming close to covering Digital Underground's Sex Packets, all present voted in favor of the 'other' Underground's The Velvet Underground & Nico," Beck writes on the page's first post. Rock Daily hopes Beck's Record Club will eventually get around to covering Sex Packets.

Related Stories:

Beck Reveals "One Foot in the Grave" Deluxe Reissue Track List
On the Road With Beck: Stripped Down on a Giant Stage in Reno
Beck: The Secret History of "Odelay"

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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