There is a thing that Andrew Bird does, and it is a thing that Andrew Bird has done for a long time, and that thing is covering songs that in their original form might sound strange to our ears.
While it’s the kind of thing I could (and have) rambled on about until the fun’s gone out of it, I think the thing we’d all prefer I do is give you a quick look at the old stuff that Bird’s used on the first three nights of this year’s gezelligheid shows.
(I am going back south of the Mason-Dixon line where I don’t have to wear five layers to stand in line on Michigan Avenue and where mucus doesn’t freeze in my nose. I’m a delicate flower.)
First up is something we’ve seen on Fingerlings 2 but that Bird revisited on Night 2: Charley Patton, “Some Happy Day.”
Next are the Staples Singers; Bird used “Too Close” as a lead-in to “Headsoak” two nights.
And last, finally, is a Carter Family song called “When The World’s On Fire,” played on Nights 1 and 3.
One last note: Bird’s also revisiting the song previously called “You Woke Me Up” — I’ve written about it before — and calling it “Dyin’ Bed,” which has a few sources. (One of them isn’t on YouTube; it’s from an album that Bird recorded very, very early in his career with Jimbo Mathus in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Amazon will let you hear a sample of it here. That’s Mathus on vocal.) As for older recordings, you can compare and contrast yourself: one is Blind Willie Johnson, the other is Bird’s main man Charley Patton.
Be well, Chicago. Other than the miserable cold, it’s been a delight being up here.