Cover's Paradise

Friday, May 19, 2006

Odds are you won't live to see tomorrow

Secret Agent Man (Spoofe Artwork)
Spoofe Artwork

Mel Tormé - Secret Agent Man - Buy

The Ventures - Secret Agent Man - Buy


It's spy time on Cover's Paradise. The theme to the television thriller Secret Agent Man (written by P.F. Sloan and S. Barri) was probably Johnny Rivers' biggest hit and Sloan's simple, yet extremely effective guitar riff has quickly developed into a rock standard. Today, I'd like to put your attention on two out of the uncountable cover versions of this song, both from the 1960s.

The first one comes from jazz-pop vocalist Mel Tormé. Born 1925 in Chicago, he released his first album at the end of the 40s. From that on Tormé (nicknamed "The Velvet Fog") managed to keep his career succesfully going for 5 decades releasing albums and offering powerful live performances until the mid 90s.
The first song I heard from Tormé was his brilliant Right Now featured on the dancefloor jazz vol. 11 sampler, which has been released by the Mojo, a club on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany. Some time later I discovered his great version of Secret Agent Man on yet another sampler, which also originated from a club, the Soulsugar in Vienna. They released a CD called recovered including various cover versions of popular songs in soulful cover versions.

The second track today comes from the Ventures. Formed in 1959, they have been one of the most popular instrumental rock bands recording many songs that soon became classics. Until today they are releasing new records as well as performing live. So if you have the chance to see one of their (few) concerts, check them out!

further information:
Johnny Rivers
Mel Tormé
The Ventures

Mojo
Soul Sugar

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