Bill Lloyd | Lloyd*ering (SypderPop, 2016)
Review by Alan Haber
It’s easy to be an armchair musician sitting in front of your stereo with the remote in front of you, an ice cold beverage always within reach, and the air instrument of your choice at the ready. Your favorite musician belts out his version of one of your favorite songs, and you shake your head with the might of a gale force wind and bellow, “If you had a clue, you’d be doing that tune this way!”
This is why the professionals take on the task of doing the heavy lifting. In the hands of a master musician, one whose vision and ability are well regarded and keenly tuned, a cover version of a favorite song sounds suddenly fresh and new. Such is the case with the twelve favorite songs gathered together on the cleverly titled Lloyd*ering, a new release from SpyderPop that presents proof positive that Bill Lloyd is the man for the job–the job, in this case, being the wearing of someone else’s suit of clothes and making them look just as, or even more, spiffy.
These dozen suits of clothes, if you will, are indeed spiffy, showing, in addition to Bill’s ability to make another artist’s song his own, the wide breadth of musical styles he adores and cherishes. So, there are easy jumps from covering songs from the dB’s and Wreckless Eric to ones from Harry Nilsson and the Lovin’ Spoonful. You get Bill’s take on Bobby Fuller’s “Let Her Dance” and, in the next breath, the Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” Always, you get the sound of Bill Lloyd, the golden payoff for your price of admission.
A sweet, country-flavored reimagining of Nilsson’s “The Lottery Song,” capped by a highly satisfying, a cappella close, is only one of the highlights of an equally sweet bunch. A weighty take on Badfinger’s “Lonely You” draws out the sadness in Pete Ham’s lyric, surrounding it with ramped up electric guitars and a deeply-felt drum track. A reverent take on the Byrds’ “The World Turns All Around Her” celebrates, with an energetic presence, the song’s gorgeous melody, golden-voiced harmony vocals, and deft electric guitar work.
Bill has an enormous amount of fun playing through the Bobby Fuller Four’s joyous “Let Her Dance,” stomping with glee as the mix of percussive hits, lyrical bass and that incredible melody swirl around him. His take on the Hollies’ equally joyous upbeat confection “Step Inside” may well be the best thing here, which is truly saying something: the glorious harmonies, intoxicating melody and the head-turning key change near the end are simply out of this world, which you might think is the only possible place this kind of magic could be performed.
But, of course, you’d be mistaken, for we regularly encounter this kind of legerdemain right here on earth as the tricks of the trade of such inventive, decidedly brilliant musicians as Bill Lloyd, who dazzles whether he is working in pop, country, rock or who knows where else.
Lloyd*ering, twelve cover versions of favorite songs, are presented here in the key of Bill Lloyd for your listening pleasure, wrapped in an eye-catching package fronted by one of the most colorful, effective covers I’ve seen this year. We’re playing all of these songs in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Sing along if you know the words.
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