100 for 2000 – #29. Lisa Miller – Car Tape

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2002 – #9. Lisa Miller – Car Tape
(Raoul)

Cover records are tough things to pull off. This might be the only one I’ve really loved since I started buying music. Lisa Miller’s Car Tape was huge for me and a few friends, who tried to hunt down every song on this album.

Lisa is from Melbourne, and had released a couple of country albums to some local acclaim. But Car Tape, which began as a bit of a side thing, became her biggest hit to date.

Firstly, what a great album cover. The backcover is an amazing photo that would have been the cover. The now-cover was to be the tracklisting on the back. Someone suggested they should change it and that someone was spot on. It’s just cool.

So a great covers record introduces you to new songs. And coming out of country music, I was slowly making my way towards soul music. This was my stepping stone. The gorgeous country songs on here were done with a soulful sadness. Some I know – No Place To Fall and Give Back The Keys To My Heart. Both are pretty good versions.

But the soul songs! I had never heard Arthur Alexander before, and this album opens with The Boy That Radiates That Charm (Alexander used ‘The Girl That…’). Bill Withers for me was a one hit wonder before this. I set about exploring.

Then, there is a spectacular, stripped down version of Colin Blunstone’s Say You Don’t Mind. I only discovered the original after this record, and was surprised how strings laden the original is. The same as George JonesWe Love Eachother. I finally went out and got the Behind Closed Doors album – every bit as great as everyone said.

Then there’s Words For Sadness. Tim Rogers of You Am I and Lisa Miller were friends, and he wrote this song for her. This is what I’m told anyway, by my friend Sophie, who wrote the bio for this album. By coincidence, I was wrote the bio for the You Am I album that a new version of Words For Sadness would appear. Sophie and I imagined we were in some Gram Parsons fantasy argument (there is conflicting stories of who Wild Horses was written for, and whose version came first – the Stones or the Burritos).

The overall sound of the record is this smooth, smoky late night country jazz soul. I’m surprised there wasn’t a Patsy Cline song on here. I love the sound of this record – it’s gentle yet sexy.

But more importantly, it brought some awesome songs, and artists, and genres into my life. Thats what a good cover version should do.

Every so often, I think of songs I would cover for a covers album. Start to finish, 13 tracks – what point will I try to make. What genres should I dip into? The first such game of this, again with Sophie, was done after this record came out. I don’t have that list anymore but I’m sure it would be very different 7 years later.

And there was always talk Lisa Miller of doing another Car Tape. I hope she does one day. I want to learn more.

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