Steve Conte “International Cover Up”
In general, we’re not really a fan of cover versions. However, if Steve Conte is releasing an album of covers you need to step up and give it a listen. He may not be a household name, but Steve Conte is a man who knows his stuff. Anyone who has played in the New York Dolls and alongside Michael Monroe will know a thing or two about a good song.
What is clear from the outset is that these aren’t just bog standard covers, Steve has added his own style to the tracks. Without knowing it, you would never have guessed that “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight” was a Fleetwood Mac song! Steve gives it a full on rocking sound and it has a real sense of flash guitar playing swagger about it. Perhaps a more ‘expected’ cover is the Rolling Stones’ “Happy”, where he retains the low slung guitar coolness of the original. Equally familiar territory, in terms of song choice, is “Summertime Blues”. But, this version is very different. He manages to transform the classic into the sleaziest cover of the song that you will EVER here! It’s a gloriously debauched version, we love it!
The beauty of a covers album is often hearing the unexpected. We were surprised by the inclusion of Lennon’s “Working Class Hero”, but it’s a real treat. It’s very different to the original but equally full of passion and emotion, a real attention grabber. Equally as enchanting is the beautiful “Venus Of Avenue D”. By coincidence, we’ve only recently ‘discovered’ the brilliance of Mink Deville. If you enjoy Steve’s version and the sense of passionate rock n roll, mixed with a sense of style then you definitely need to check out stuff released by Willy Deville and Mink Deville.
As a true rock n roller, Steve is well placed to cover Jason and The Scorchers’ “White Lies” and he delivers it with a typical sense of fun. Equally, Tom Waites’ “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” is shifted up a gear into a dirty, NYC, punk rock song. The album then ends with another Rolling Stones cover, in the shape of “Play With Fire”. This live track just confirms what a talented musician Steve Conte is.
As stated at the start, we’re not normally a huge fan of covers albums. But, we should have counted on Steve being able to change our mind about that. By providing a mixture of song choices and throwing in his own sense of style and talent, he’s produced a great little album. Listening to it, you get the impression that one of the reasons it sounds so good is that Steve probably had a blast making it, which in turn makes it great fun to listen to.