In recent years, a number of veteran acts have released albums comprised entirely of cover songs. Peter Gabriel tackled his favorite bands with Scratch My Back; Iggy Pop took on the discographies of Gainsbourg and Piaf with Après; and, more recently, Neil Young culled his own musical past with A Letter Home.
Now, English troubadour and former Soft Boys singer Robyn Hitchcock adds his name to the list, albeit with a slight twist. Due out August 26th via Yep Roc, The Man Upstairs features “new originals, classic covers, and little known gems,” according to a press release. To create this unique follow-up to 2013’s Love from London, Hitchcock teamed with legendary folk producer Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Fairport Convention).
In a press release, the duo describe the resulting 10-track effort as a “Judy Collins album,” one that “Elektra would have released in 1967 — part well-known favorites, part personal discoveries, and part originals. The multi-tiered approach offered Hitchcock the rare opportunity to record as a performer, not ‘just another singer-songwriter laying their freshest eggs.’”
The covers include Roxy Music’s “To Turn You On”, The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship”, and The Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You”, alongside “gems” like Grant-Lee Phillips’ “Don’t Look Down” and I Was a King’s “Ferries”. Meanwhile, the press release describes the album’s originals, including “Trouble in Your Blood” and “Comme Toujours”, as “among Hitchcock’s most fragile and heartfelt.”
Those sentiments also define Hitchcock’s cover of The Furs’ “The Ghost in You”, which serves as album opener/lead single. Stripping the original of all its jangly overtures, Hitchcock unfurls a bare-bones folk ballad marked by jagged acoustic guitar and his always-evocative harmonies.
Listen in below:
The Man Upstairs Tracklist:
01. The Ghost In You
02. San Francisco Patrol
03. To Turn You On
04. Trouble In Your Blood
05. Somebody To Break Your Heart
06. Don’t Look Down
08. Comme Toujours
09. The Crystal Ship
10. Recalling The Truth