Cowboy Junkies – Songs Of The Recollection (Latent)

Cowboy Junkies assemble a collection of covers two years after their last studio album, Ghosts.

Although Songs Of The Recollection is due to be released on March 11th, any Cowboy Junkies fan willing to do a little on-line detective work could have listened to the album’s nine tracks from a month or so ago when their version of Bowie’s Five Years was released on the “platforms”.

Having said that, it’s nice to have these tracks all in one place.

Cowboy Junkies are a band that understand the value of a good cover…their version of Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane famously kicked off their career some 35 years ago. And though these tracks were recorded from 1999 to 2021, they sound surprisingly like they belong together.

Vocalist Margo Timmins sounds ominous, mysterious and just a little frightening as she digs into Five Years, originally heard on Ziggy Stardust back in ’72 and feeling even more dark and foreboding 50 years later. Drummer Peter Timmins lays down that drum pattern that will be familiar to any Bowie fan and as the track builds up, Margo’s intensity rises until she belting out the final verse.

I’m not gonna say it’s better than Bowie’s (that would be sacrilege) but its darn good, with guitarist Michael Timmins whipping up a storm behind his sister.

The remainder of the album features some of the usual suspects…songs by Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones…but not always the tunes you might expect.

Neil’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down is cool, but his Love In Mind, from Time Fades Away, is an unexpected pleasure.

The Junkies cover The Stones’ No Expectations, adding style and grace (and some sweet slide guitar) to the old favourite.

Fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot gets a look-in with his 1966 tune, The Way I Feel (no Sundown or Edmund Fitzgerald here), although I’d love to hear Margo wrap her tonsils around If You Could Read My Mind.

The most contemporary tune on the album is Dylan’s I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You from 2020’s Rough And Rowdy Ways. Folks who have trouble with Bob’s 80-year-old growl can now enjoy the song and the singer.

The collection wraps up with Vic Chesnutt’s Marathon (the band was tight with the late songwriter) and finally, they add a bit of Neil Young-style grunge to The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds, sounding not unlike Cortez The Killer.

So, from Five Years to Seventeen Seconds, Songs Of The Recollection is a pleasure from beginning to end.

Marty Duda

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