Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Chan Marshall proved she could tackle the classics on the mostly acoustic The Covers Record back in 2000. On Jukebox, a full band joins her for jazzy renditions of ten oldies and two originals. The end result lands, oddly enough, in the current fashion for soulful "re-versions" à la remixer/Amy Winehouse-cohort Mark Ronson. The album opens brashly, with a funky and barely recognizable "New York, New York," followed by a gender-inverted take on Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" that recalls the smoky air of Portishead. These are inspired, startling readings, but not every one is quite so radical. Janis Joplin's "Woman Left Lonely" retains its hushed organ, and the Highwaymen's "Silver Stallion" still has its twang. Whether revamping a standard or inhabiting its soul, Cat Power has the unique vision to pull it off.