100 best covers: #49 Rymes With Orange “Itchycoo park”

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This one might be a bit more obscure for those of you outside of Canada. Still, I gotta say: while searching for the YouTube videos to include with this particular post, I was pleasantly taken on a small jaunt through nostalgia with the one posted by the band themselves for the cover version of today’s song. There’s a small clip at the beginning from the old MuchMusic alternative video show, The Wedge, including the musical intro segment and then, Simon Evans, the VJ who hosted the show, introducing the band and music video in that bumbling way he had.

If memory serves, I actually watched that particular episode of The Wedge on one weekday afternoon at some point in 1993 and this very same bumbling intro was how I came upon this group and this cover. I remember thinking at the time that Rymes with Orange was a great band name* (and still do) and I loved their sound because it was so obviously influenced by the baggy Madchester aesthetic, of which I was quite enamoured. I started looking for their debut album (“Peel”) whenever I was out at the music stores but had to settle for a CD single copy of “Marvin”, one of the album’s three singles, that included 6 or 7 mixes of it, plus this very same cover of “Itchycoo park”.

Rymes with Orange was an alternative rock band that formed in 1991 in Vancouver BC by guitarist Rob Lulic, keyboardist Bob D’Eith, and drummer Alex Dias after a number of their previous bands had formed and folded. Various members came and went in the early days but things really started to come together when they settled on UK-born Lyndon Johnson for lead vocals and moved their sound towards the aforementioned Manchester-influenced dance rock. Their 1992 debut garnered them some success and to build upon that they embraced a harder edge for their sophomore album, 1994’s “Trapped in the machine”. They managed a few alternative radio hits here and a couple tracks that I enjoyed but I lost track of the group in the years that followed**. I still love this cover though.

The original “Itchycoo Park” was written and first performed by English Rock band The Small Faces back in 1967. It was released as a standalone single and went on to be one of the group’s biggest hits. I personally don’t know a lot about the group but do love this song and will eventually explore their catalogue further. Theirs is a laidback, psychedelic rendition calling to mind a lazy Sunday or idyllic jaunt in nature. Either way, the sun is shining and everything is perfect. The Rymes with Orange cover builds on the psychedelia of the original but ups the tempo and adds a flash mob dance routine to the equation.

I refuse to pick a preferred version in this case.


The original:

*The following year while at a Wonder Stuff concert I saw someone wearing one of Rymes with Orange’s concert Tees and it was just as brilliantly emblazoned with the words “Rhymes with f*ck all”.

**Apparently, the group had been off again, on again through to the late 2000s and had a reunion of sorts back in 2017.

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.


Vinyl love: Spiritualized “Laser guided melodies”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Spiritualized
Album Title: Lazer guided melodies
Year released: 1992
Year reissued: 2011
Details: 2 x 180 gram, 45 rpm

The skinny: So this six-ish week journey through my collection of Spiritualized records ends where it started for the group. “Lazer guided melodies” is the 1992 debut album that appeared two years after Jason Pierce dissolved his first band, Spaceman 3, and re-formed the same members, minus Peter Kember, with a new name. It was a natural progression forward and laid the bedrock for what was to come, the special production just a glimpse at Pierce’s ear for perfection. From what I can tell, this 2011 reissue is a faithful reproduction of the original packaging and 45 rpm mastering, albeit pressed to two 180 gram discs. Each side is a colour-coded, three song, cross-faded suite. And each side is an exercise in psychedelic noise beauty. This is just yet another record in this set that I purchased early on in my collecting and has seen many a late night on my turntable.

Standout track: “Run”



Vinyl love: Spiritualized “Pure phase”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Spiritualized
Album Title: Pure phase
Year released: 1995
Year reissued: 2011
Details: 2 x 180 gram

The skinny: Just over a month ago, when I first started this Spiritualized ‘Vinyl love’ series, fellow blogger 1537 commented that he was at that time “obsessed” with Spiritualized’s sophomore album “Pure phase” and asked me if I was purchasing any of the “fancy pants” reissues. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t even tempted because I certainly was. However, my vinyl collecting hasn’t yet reached those obsessive levels where I need to collect multiple (or all) versions of certain albums*. This album, along with Pierce’s debut** and third albums as Spiritualized, have always been amongst my most favourite ever albums and so were amongst the first records that I sought out in the record stores once I started collecting. This was back before I really started nerding out about vinyl and studying and various other message and Reddit boards and the comments of other vinyl aficionados. I’ve since read and heard all of the complaints about reissue label Plain Records and their shoddy pressings but I’ve never claimed to have such a dynamic ear to hear what all the fussing is about. All that to say, I’ve never regretted this purchase.

Standout track: “Medication”

*And with vinyl prices the way they’re going, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford such levels of obsessiveness.

**Which we’ll see next week