Cover version of the month #35
Super 8 cover BMX Bandits
Serious Drugs is BMX Bandits most celebrated song. Written by Bandits leader Duglas T Stewart with his good friends Norman Blake and Joe McAlinden, this melodic, melancholic and reflective song is a truly beautiful, with great depth.
The opening lines speak volumes and the scene is set;
And then we have the glorious break/chorus;
Throw in trademark backing vocal harmonies and a sax solo and the song is deceptively simple and straightforward. Yet it does have that remarkable depth to it, covering depression and someone longing for love.
Joe McAlinden sings lead vocal on the original recording, with Norman taking over on the single version. It's a song I have heard so often down the years, yet mainly with Duglas himself singing through regular live performances in and around Glasgow. I've seen Duglas sing with a 7 or 8 piece band accompanying him, other times with only the likes of Stuart Kidd and Marcus Rea from The Wellgreen backing him. It felt quite weird going back to listen to the original versions. When I think of this song it is Duglas' voice I hear in my head.
And the song became the title for a brilliant documentary on the band by Bandits fan Jim Burns, who found Duglas' music at just the right time as he was going through a difficult time. For me, that took the song (and a lot of Duglas' catalogue) to another level.
Duglas T Stewart is such a rare and unique talent, someone with exceptional musical taste and knowledge. I regularly discover brilliant music, from the past and present, courtesy of Duglas' social media postings. Earlier this year I was led to check an album by a band called Super 8. I'll be blogging on the album in the near future.
Then some weeks afterwards when digging around to find our more information about the band I discovered they had covered Serious Drugs.
The Super 8 cover has a lovely warm and rich feel to it. Super 8 is just one guys - Paul Ryan. Paul plays everything, harmonies with himself and creates a truly beautiful version of Serious Drugs. One that Duglas himself says is better than the original.
So although I still hear Duglas when I think of this song, the Super 8 cover is like a warm blanket on a cold day. It is gorgeous. I hope you enjoy it.
Please read on for interviews with both Paul from Super 8 and Duglas from BMX Bandits.
Super 8 interview