Tuesday February 02nd 2010, 1:23 pm
Guest Mixtape: Other Countries
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When Eric Steuer of the hip hop/electronic duo Meanest Man Contest approached me about doing a mixtape, I was completely intrigued. Needless to say, we don’t get too many requests from hip hop groups wanting to share their love of country music. Add to that that he’s the Creative Director of Creative Commons, an organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share, and a writer for Wired Magazine, and I was ready to see what this man had to say. Of course, what Eric came up with was one of the most creative, unique and brilliant mixtapes that we’ve had thus far on When You Awake. Without futhur ado, I’d like to present Eric Steuer’s Other Countries Mixtape, which features foreign language covers of country classics like “Stand By Your Man”, “A Boy Named Sue”, “Harper Valley PTA” and many more. Check out the mix and Meanest Man Contest’s latest video after the jump.

Meanest Man Contest

Other Countries: (download)

Over the past few years, I have collected hundreds of non-English covers of American hit songs. This mix compiles a variety of popular country and western music redone in languages ranging from Finnish to Thai. It also includes a couple of “bonus tracks” at the end – an English cover by a West African musician and an original song (also in English) by the “Japanese Elvis.”

1. Marianne Rosenberg – “Wer Liebe Sucht” (1970)
German cover of “Stand By Your Man”
This was the B-side to Rosenberg’s first hit, “Mr. Paul McCartney,” released when she was just 15 years old. This German version has itself been covered by a variety of other singers throughout the years.

2. Joe Dassin – “Un Garçon Nommé Suzy” (1970)
French cover of “A Boy Named Sue”
Dassin recorded songs in French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and English. His repertoire included translated versions of many popular American folk and country songs. I chose this one because I’ve always loved “A Boy Named Sue” (my great grandmother sang it to me when I was a kid, leaving out the “son of a bitch” part).

3. Noriel Vilela – “16 Toneladas” (1971)
Portuguese cover of “Sixteen Tons”
This is the best of the bunch, in my opinion. It’s a funky Brazilian pop number in which Vilela’s awesomely commanding baritone is front and center. I don’t speak Portuguese, but a friend told me that the lyrics in this version are not about working in a coal mine, but about how great samba music is.

4. Jussi & The Boys – “Oon Yksin Niin” (1975)
Finnish cover “Oh Lonesome Me”
The album this is from is called Kantri & Rock, and is a mix of originals and covers of – you guessed it – country and rock music. It was a toss up between this and the version of Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party,” for which Jussi changed the lyrics to be about going to a school reunion.

5. John Foster – “Non Finirò D’amarti” (1962)
Italian cover of “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
This one is almost overpowered by all those heart-wrenching strings! And no, John Foster is not this Italian singer’s real name. It’s Paolo Occhipinti.

6. Conjunto Casino – “Jinetes en el Cielo” (1950)
Spanish cover of “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”
Conjunto Casino is a Cuban dance music ensemble that has been performing in various configurations for over 70 years. The band mambo-ized the song with a more upbeat rhythm and lots of horns. I love it!

7. Gustav Winckler – “Jeg Vil Vente Ved Telefonen” (1961)
Danish cover of “He’ll Have to Go”
Winckler was known as Denmark’s Bing Crosby and he lives up to that nickname with the sly croon he uses for his stylistically faithful take on the Jim Reeves classic.

8. Pairote – “Tee Makhuea Pok” (1964)
Thai cover of “Your Cheatin’ Heart”
This isn’t exactly what I’d call “good,” but it’s definitely interesting, and since I don’t know about many American country song covers by Asian musicians, I figured I’d include it. The second half of the song is sung in an Alvin and the Chipmunks-style voice. Sure, why not?

9. Gil Dobrică – “Hai Acasă” (1979)
Romanian cover of “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
Super corny, but in a good way, just like the original. It has been remixed by a few DJs in the past few years in an effort to bring more sappy sentimentality to Romanian dance club scene. (For the record, I’m a fan of sappy sentimentality, especially when it comes to John Denver songs.)

10. Inger Lise Rypdal – “Fru Johnsen” (1968)
Norwegian cover of “Harper Valley PTA”
It turns out even Norwegian women have to deal with dirty, rotten, no-good, hypocritical gossips. It’s a global problem!

11. Agnaldo Timóteo – “Os Verdes Campos Da Minha Terra” (1967)
Portuguese cover of “Green Green Grass of Home”
There are many covers of this in a wide variety of languages; I included this one because Timóteo is especially good at making extravagantly romantic – even kitschy – music for the masses, and so he nails the song precisely.

12. Réal Giguère – “Gros Jambon” (1962)
French cover of “Big Bad John”
Talk show host Giguère injects a bunch of personality into this rendition, delivering it as if he’s passing along the greatest story ever told (which “Big Bad John” really kind of is). “Gros jambon” means “big ham,” which is a pretty funny thing to call a guy.

13. Johnny Cash – “Wo Ist Zu Hause, Mama” (1959)
German cover of “Five Feet High and Rising”
In the ’50s and ’60s, Johnny recorded Spanish and German versions of some of his biggest hits. You can find homemade compilations of these songs around the web, or spring for The Man in Black: The International Johnny Cash, which includes a handful of other artists singing his songs in German.

14. Gnonnas Pedro – “Dark as a Dungeon” (1980)
English cover by Beninois artist
I have two versions of this – this album version and a shorter recording that was released as a single. Pedro played a wide variety of music and I’d highly recommend spending some time digging into his catalog. This song is included in one of the excellent West African (mostly Nigerian) country music mixes compiled by With Comb & Razor.

15. Kazuya Kosaka and the Wagon Masters – “Wagon Master” (1956)
Original song in English by Japanese artist
Kosaka was known as the “Japanese Elvis” and had a hit with a cover of “Heartbreak Hotel.” This song is the A-side of a single that has a version of “Sixteen Tons” on the flip.

YouTube Preview ImageMeanest Man Contest – Partially Smart

17 Comments so far
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very nice to see noriel here! 🙂

Comment by babee 02.02.10 @ 1:59 pm

Fantastic mix tape and video!

Comment by Meghan 02.02.10 @ 3:36 pm

Whoo! I like! I didn’t have any of these before.

Comment by Linda 02.03.10 @ 12:01 am

[…] i put together a downloadable “mixtape” for the very awesome blog when you awake. the mix is called other countries and is focused on country music classics covered in languages other than english (“a boy named sue” in french, “sixteen tons” in portuguese, “harper valley pta” in norwegian, and more, more, more). give it a listen and read the “liner notes” i wrote here. posted on February 3rd, 2010 // category: Uncategorized Comment (0) […]

Pingback by BriEfcAse Rockers, LTD. » Blog Archive » “other countries” mix 02.03.10 @ 12:08 am

[…] most endeavors MMC undertakes – whether it’s curating a book soundtrack or, just recently, creating a mix of country classics in other languages – Eric Steuer (aka Eriksolo) and Noah Blumberg (aka Quarterbar) again prove themselves to be […]

Pingback by So Much Silence 02.03.10 @ 3:07 am

[…] Download: http://whenyouawake.com/2010/02/02/guest-mixtape-other-countries Read Related: Eric Steuer, Meanest Man Contest […]

Pingback by Other Countries Mixtape « UGSMAG – Independent Hip Hop Magazine 02.03.10 @ 11:44 am

[…] great American dude who we all know and love, Eric, put together a mixtape for When You Awake.  Comprised of 15 old(ish) country songs sang in other languages other than […]

Pingback by DLT XII › Square Footage 02.03.10 @ 12:43 pm

[…] Country Roads” and more. He’s put together detailed liner notes as well, all available from When You Awake, ann awesome country music […]

Pingback by Other Countries Mixtape | Strictly hip hop news 02.03.10 @ 7:27 pm

[…] Tuesday, Eric Steuer of Meanest Man Contest recently contributed a guest mixtape to When You Awake, an LA-based country music blog. Their reaction to his initial offer was not too […]

Pingback by Other Countries Mixtape by Eric Steuer « Royal Rhino Flying Records 02.04.10 @ 5:25 pm

don’t forget the french Hugues Aufray, with his entire “Chante Dylan” album! his version of “Girl From the North Country”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWWqonUIif0

Comment by Robert 02.04.10 @ 8:04 pm

[…] is a blend of country and western classics covered in other languages. It is verifiably awesome. Guest Mixtape: Other Countries [When You Awake] Above, a YouTube smush-up of one of the tunes Eric selected: Inger Lise Rypdal […]

Pingback by Neat mixtape of country music covers in foreign languages | dv8-designs 02.09.10 @ 12:42 pm

A wonderful collection!
I especially enjoyed the jolly delivery of “Un Garçon Nommé Suzy”

here is a Hebrew version of “You’re Looking at Country” by Loretta Lynn

Comment by Dubi kaufmann 02.09.10 @ 2:40 pm

[…] released some of his songs in that language. I got Wo Ist Zu Hause, Mama? from this When You Awake post and Wer kennt den Weg from this Any Major Dude With Half a Heart post. Finally, Hurts Like Teen […]

Pingback by Hello, I’m Johnny Cash « Town Full of Losers 02.26.10 @ 7:27 pm

[…] of daily tasks) and I have put together a brand new mixtape for you. As a follow-up to Eric’s Other Countries mixtape, which came out in February and featured foreign language covers of country classics like […]

Pingback by Fuego d’Amor: A When You Awake Mixtape | When You Awake - Indie Folk, Classic Country and Roots Music Blog 09.06.10 @ 1:56 pm

Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Comment by Joel Dauster 01.24.11 @ 9:58 am

A big thank you for your blog.Really thank you! Will read on…

Comment by Xander Hoye 01.15.12 @ 2:16 am

I like Elder Barber’s Spanish language cover of Ghost Rider’s in the Sky. There is a surprisingly good version of Achy Breaky Heart by Campesino Musical. Also George Straight did a Spanish language version of the song “El Rey.” He did a really good job. Thespanishversion.com has a bunch of other Spanish language covers.

Comment by JJCoyote 08.29.12 @ 9:29 pm

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