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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 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.