Vinyl Vlog 108

Vinyl Vlog 108

Friday, 27 November 2015
TITLE: Vinyl Vlog 108
A deeper look into the grooves pressed into the Record Store Day-released ‘Everyday People’ split single by Jeff Buckley and Sly and the Family Stone
DATE: 11-27-15
WRITER: Bill Adams

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The catch about really trying to review a split single is that the artists included don’t always fall on the same musical line for easy comparison. Likewise, somtimes the songs don’t really jive well together either – but then there are the really unusual cases which don’t just ask for or even demand that the two performances get compared, they command that the act occur. That’s what the split single featuring Sly and the Family Stone and Jeff Buckley does – because both artists recorded the same song, the sides on this single command comparison and, because it is a single, neither performance has anywhere to hide; there’s one song from each artist and that’s it.

The original recording of “Everyday People” – done by Sly and the Family Stone – appears on the B-side of this single, so it only makes sense to (figuratively) reverse engineer this review. Sly Stone’s performance of “Everyday People” is a classic and rightly so; the lyrics identify a sense of unity (“We’re all in this together”) and those are set to a relaxed and folksy Motown rhythm, but there’s also an undertone which seeks to curse intolerance and beg for reform. The song really builds organically as it starts small and other instruments join in as the song progresses, and that’s part of the reason why the song feels so satisfying when it reaches the title lyric; when everyone in the band comes together with Stone on the words “I am everyday people,” it feels as much like a revelation now as it did when it was first released in 1968.

In contrast to the B-side, the performance of “Everyday People” on the A-side of this single by Jeff Buckley feels far more tempered – and temperate. Here, the build is incredibly methodical; the keys, drums and guitars move and build much more slowly than in the Family’s version and, when Buckley does begin to sing, his tone is almost sticky sweet and largely devoid of the “We’re in this together” spirit of the original recording. Simply said, it sounds as though he likes the song, but he isn’t necessarily feeling it; his performance is more mock-soulful than Stone’s authoritative performance. That difference doesn’t make the A-side “bad” per se, it just makes it very different from the original, and some archivists would argue that it’s a shadow of Stone’s version.

So how does this single fare overall? As stated before, there is one better side on this 7” and, this time, it’s the B-side with the original version of “Everyday People” on it. While Jeff Buckley’s cover here isn’t bad, it can only called a ‘contemporary’ to the original performance. That doesn’t leave the single lacking (because the original track’s here too), it just means that one side is most definitely better than the other.



The “Everyday People” split 7” single by Jeff Buckley and Sly and the Family Stone will be released on November 27, 2015. Track a copy down at your favorite participating independent record store!

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