Scratch My Back by Peter Gabriel
This is an excellent 2010 project that features Peter Gabriel – his voice at its alternately measured and dramatic best – offering interpretations of a dozen great songs. He’s backed on many tunes by the London Scratch Orchestra – heavy on strings and very clear bass. Trust me – it works. Others are mainly piano and voice – like the terrific take of Randy Newman’s “I think it’s Going To Rain Today.”
I like all the songs, from the opening “Heroes”‘ and Paul Simon’s “Boy in a Bubble” (very unique version here) to the ending Radiohead instrumental fade out but I think it peaks for me with an emotionally involving trio of songs – “The Power of the Heart” by Lou Reed followed by “My Body is a Cage” (which makes Arcade Fire’s version seem tepid in comparison) to “The Book of Love.” This is the centerpiece of this CD for me and is a great sequence.
I must admit I began listening to this CD on my way to a funeral of a dear friend and of course it resonates with me all the deeper for the associations these three songs have. But I’ve listened to this work several times and really appreciate the way it builds with the well thought out sequence of very good songs done with care and passion.
He has done these artists justice and I imagine having Peter Gabriel cover one of your songs is really a feather in your cap and very satisfying. At some point, they are collectively supposed to return the favor so we’ll have to stay tuned. (There are certainly many gems to choose from on his first three solo releases alone…) But this half of the arrangement is really good and is hard to forget.