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Listen: Lower Dens’ Cover of Mayo Thompson’s “Dear Betty Baby”

January 18, 2011

In last week’s paper, Michael Byrne wrote about “Batman,” the A-side of the new 7-inch from Lower Dens, out today. Though this isn’t a case of “B-side wins again”–“Batman” is too crunchy and buoyant to concede to a cover of an old psych-folk song–Lower Dens’ take on Mayo Thompson’s “Dear Betty Baby” (from his incredible 1970 solo album Corky’s Debt to His Father) is also worth a closer look.

Mayo Thompson, a member of the Red Krayola and, for a while, a guitarist for Pere Ubu–that combination of bands isn’t a bad way to begin unpacking Lower Dens’ sound–and a Houston-based freak-folk weirdo before that was even a term, is something of a kindred spirit to former Houstonian Jana Hunter. But rather than follow the spare but trippy approach of the original, Hunter and her group formally Lower Dens-ize “Dear Betty Baby” and turn it into a quiet, slow-growing, rock ‘n’ roll in a dungeon-sounding epic. There’s even a piano intro.

Dear Betty Baby by brunostroszek

You can preview “Dear Betty Baby” over at SoundCloud and buy the 7-inch here. Below: the Mayo Thompson original.

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