WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS
The first song the original Chakk’s Funeral covered in the 80’s and the first song we recorded in this iteration with Parthiv playing drums and bass. This is amongst both of our favorite songs of all time. Everything just clicks: from Paul’s piano opening sequence to George’s classic walk down chord sequence to Clapton’s simple but sublime guitar solo. You can get a master class in song craftsmanship if you listen to George’s acoustic skeleton compared to the finished version on the White Album. A brilliant guitar solo by Prince on this version.
WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS
Another of our all time favorites. Neil is playing variations on his signature Major seventh chords. Mitesh manages to hit all the notes (just half a step below the original) and I use software to try and make my Telecaster sound like a banjo! A great version of this song where Neil Young explains its origin.
John Mayer, Ernest Wilson, Matthew Tavares, and Charlotte Wilson
John Mayer is a brilliant guitar player, but here we decided to cover one of his newer more ‘pop’ oriented songs. We liked the song and also wanted to see if we could reproduce a more modern sound. Of course John Mayer himself was going for an 80s sound on this track … note the annoying smacked snare on the back beat. Mitesh also got to try out his new acoustic-electric nylon string on this track. We didn’t do much different from the original other than add a second harmony guitar line on the solo.
YOU'VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR LOVE AWAY
John Lennon and Psul McCartney
Here we decided to rock out a folksy Beatles song (John Lennon in his “Dylan phase”). The original basically just had a 12 string guitar, tambourine and flute. We decided to do ours with distorted electric guitars and drums. Mitesh was down with a cold and sore throat ... but we decided to record anyway to try and add a beaten up / down and out feel to the singing. For another great version check out Eddie Vedder in the film I Am Sam.
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
Mitesh interprets this song as a mix of the David Bowie original and the brilliant Kurt Cobain cover on the Nirvana Unplugged album. An easy song to play but it took us a while to get the mix and overall sound where we wanted it.
MAN ON THE MOON
William Berry, Peter Buck, Michael Mills, and Michael Stipe
This song was in heavy rotation on MTV during our early days in the US establishing REM as an early prototype of folksy alt-rock / coffee house playlists. We include it here as our representative of the 90s and our early introduction to MTV and FM radio. Note the cool
C-->D 4th add 9 chord change in the opening and verse. REM's working title for this song was 'The C to D Song'. Parthiv drums on this one.
UNDER MY THUMB
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Another song from the original Chakk's Funeral set list. But here we decided to try and take the misogynistic / sardonic Stones vibe out of it and record with a more relaxed acoustic feel. Along these lines we replaced the fuzz bass in the chorus with Anu on high harmony. We like how it turned out … except someone said we ‘took a Stones song and turned it into a Beatles song’. Don't know if that's a compliment or an insult.
SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE
Jack Bruce, Peter Brown, Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton and Cream were inspired to write this after hearing Jimi Hendrix during his early days in London. Jimi returned the favor during an impromptu and blazing fast performance the night he learned that Cream was breaking up. We freshen up this staple from the early Chakk’s Funeral repertoire by playing it in 5/4 time rather than the standard 4/4. A big assist from Parthiv on both drums and bass on this track.
STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED
Mitesh introduced me to this Foo Fighters song … not only did I agree that it was a great song, but was excited by the challenge of creating an aura around just vocals and acoustic guitar. Mitesh delivered on vocals and we wondered how we could add our own touch to this song. We had recorded a couple of tracks with local tabla maestro Jyoti Prakash Mistry and felt a subtle tabla replacing the metronome on the original track could work.
We all know and love / hate / love the two sides of Neil Young. The gentle acoustic folkie and the caterwauling mash up of distorted guitars. Here we try to combine both sides in one song … a feat I don’t think even Neil has attempted.
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
Jimi Hendrix took Bob Dylan’s acoustic allegory and defined what a cover song should be. Dylan now only ever performs this song close to the Jimi Hendrix version rather than his own! Chakk’s Funeral used to perform this … however neither Mitesh nor I can imagine how we could ever have come close to doing it justice. Luckily no recordings of us playing this exist … so we decided to cover it for this collection. This song is so perfect in its guitar playing that out of respect we decided to recreate it as close to Jimi’s version as we could. Parthiv moves the song along on bass and drums and Mitesh and I tagged along as best we could on vocals and guitar.
I FEEL FINE
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
"so simple … but so good. this is how great songs are written." Our take on this feel good song was to skip the feedback and electric guitars that define the original and try to go for a campground sing along feel. Acoustic guitars, handclaps and a ukelele … but with proper Beatles harmonies!
I CAN SEE FOR MILES
We had to include a song by The Who on this collection. Anu nixed Squeezebox (“Grow up guys”) from the Chakk’s Funeral set list so we went for this one. We recorded a scratch track with acoustic guitar and vocals and liked the vibe enough that we thought it would be cool to try an acoustic cover of this early ‘power chord’ song by the ‘loudest band in the world’. Jyoti Prakash hadn’t heard of The Who … but gave us some great tabla accompaniment nevertheless.