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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Belatedly, in honor of Saint Stephen

Stoning of St. Stephen by Paolo Uccello

...deacon of the Church and its Protomartyr.
For more information see the excellent Catholic encyclopedia article.

King Wenceslas and his loyal page.

And for a rousing rendition of the carol Good King Wenceslas--who ventured forth on the Feast of Stephen--click here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

For devotees of traditional Christmas Carols, say, from a time even before radio...

...there are few delights greater than the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols presented by the choir at King's Chapel, Cambridge. Which can be enjoyed through at least two CD issues that I know of,  and online via the King's Choir Channel on Youtube as well as BBC Radio (the 2012 Festival, that is).

In honor of Saint Nicholas...

...whose feast-day is celebrated today,  I offer a collection of articles about the Wonderworker, the Bishop of Myra.

Catholic Online (see excerpt below)
Catholic Encyclopedia
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

* * *

It is the image of St. Nicholas more often than that of any other that is found on Byzantine seals; in the later middle ages nearly four hundred churches were dedicated in his honor in England alone; and he is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any saint except our Lady. St. Nicholas is venerated as the patron saint of several classes of people, especially, in the East, of sailors and in the West of children. The first of these patronage is probably due to the legend that during his life time, he appeared to storm tossed mariners who invoked his aid off the coast of Lycia and brought them safely to port. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of St. Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller". The legend of the "three children" gave rise to his patronage of children and various observances, ecclesiastical and secular, connected there with; such were the boy bishop and especially in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the giving of presents in his name at Christmas time. This custom in England is not a survival from Catholic times. It was popularized in America by the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam who had converted the popish saint into a Nordic magician (Santa Claus = Sint Klaes = Saint Nicholas) and was apparently introduced into this country by Bret Harte. It is not the only "good old English custom" which, however good, is not "old English", at any rate in its present form. The deliverance of the three imperial officers naturally caused St. Nicholas to be invoked by and on behalf of prisoners and captives, and many miracles of his intervention are recorded in the middle ages.
 
Curiously enough the greatest popularity of St. Nicholas is found neither in the eastern Mediterranean nor north-western Europe, great as that was, but in Russia. With St. Andred the Apostle he is patron of the nation, and the Russian Orthodox Church even observes the feast of his translation; so many Russian pilgrims came to Bari before the revolution that their government supported a church, hospital and hospice there. He is a patron saint also of Greece, Apulia, Sicily and Loraine, and of many citiesand dioceses (including Galway) and churches innumerable. At Rome the basilica of St. Nicholas in the Jail of Tully (in Carcere) was founded between the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries. He is named in the preparation of the Byzantine Mass.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tonight's Musical Toddy, from Blogger DJ is a Fabulous Cover...


of Elvis' BLUE HAWAII, performed by Willie Nelson. Replete with accents reminiscent of guitar great Django Reinhardt, it appears on the HONEYMOON IN VEGAS soundtrack, and represents yet another instance where background music trumps the film itself.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blogger DJ's Musical Toddy on Dark November night ? Duke Ellington at Newport (1956) !

Click here to listen.

Just listen to Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue, and bathe in the warmth of alto saxman Paul Gonsalves' historic 27-chorus improvisation.  For more on the concert and this piece, click here and/or here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Has the Age of Aquarius Come and Gone ?


Maybe not.  There seems to be some difference of opinion among astrologers when this epoch began or will begin, and what it means.  For more info see the Wikipedia articles on Astrological Cycles and the Age of Aquarius respectively.  For those who just dig the Fifth Dimension and their cover of the best song from Hair, click here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hey guy ! Got the gloomy New England day blues ?

Click Here to Hear

Here's a cheesy fix.  Listen to a few BudLight  'Real Men of Genius' ads.
Really. Yup, that's all I've got.
Well, what do you want for free, anyway ?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blogger DJ Goes Eclectic Tonight...

...with selections by Swing Out Sister, Wham, Kim Carnes, Divinyls, The Motels, The Tubes, 'Til Tuesday, Robert Palmer, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Greg Kihn, Elvis Costello, General Public, Missing Persons, Split Enz, Icile Works, Dan Hartman, Cutting Crew, Paul Young, Kajagoogoo, Talk Talk, Bryan Adams, Wang Chung, Dire Straits. Just click here to listen.
 
 
 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tonight, Blogger DJ's Having a '60's Folk-Rock Flashback...

...featuring the Mamas and Papas, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Fred Neil, and Donovan.

Check it out on You Tube.

Another City Journal article not to be missed...


is Allan Greenberg's scholarly and moving "With Meaning for All : The Lincoln Memorial in American consciousness ", lightly excerpted below.

It is an especially appropriate time to contemplate the significance of the memorial and the different political and cultural crosscurrents surrounding its design and construction. After all, we have not only just celebrated another Glorious Fourth, but also marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg's formal end.

* * *

It is telling that the only reference to American slavery in the Lincoln Memorial was supplied by Lincoln himself. The Gettysburg Address, carved onto one of the side walls, mentions slavery only by implication. But in the Second Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4, 1865, and carved onto the opposite side wall, Lincoln stated:
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war.
He went further: “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”

... Though Congress and the Lincoln Memorial Commission planned the memorial as a symbol of the enduring Union, black Americans and the civil rights movement reminded the nation of the unfinished business of the Civil War and, in fact, of the Constitutional Convention of 1787—to end slavery, attain racial justice, and provide full civil rights for African-Americans.

The memorial is thus a rare example of one that has grown in stature over time in terms of its symbolic significance. The architectural forms of a memorial do not change, but the meanings that they articulate may be intensified, expanded, and even altered by subsequent events. For that to occur, the memorial must not only be a conceptually powerful and fully realized work of art but also one that incorporates the complexity of the person and events commemorated. Without that encompassing quality, the forms will not take on fresh meaning over time but will instead remain static and limited in their frames of reference.

In the architecture of the Lincoln Memorial, there is not the slightest hint of military triumph or victory. The hand of peace extends to defeated brothers, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” The memorial is a moving and inspiring place to visit; it is also a disquieting one, for there remains a challenge, an ambient reminder of the nation’s still-unfinished business. Through the haze of memory that Lincoln’s words evoke, the smoke of battle lingers here, and the spirits of the soldiers buried across the river hover over all.

Now's not the time to be long Brazil...

Dilma
...if we credit the analysis of blogger Emerging Money in his recent SEEKING ALPHA post, Brazil Down 28% In Just A Month - What's Going On ?", excerpted below.

* * *

...President Dilma's popularity ratings are at lows (30%) while her team and party look to be very vulnerable in the 2014 November elections. All of this is weighing on the Brazilian real, which is 16% lower against the dollar in the current slide.

The real's slide is a function of the political uncertainty and the lack of clarity on what they intend to do with both monetary and fiscal policy.

Another major factor is one that hits investors closer to home with disappointing corporate governance and earnings...

The problem is that investors were sold companies that had levered balance sheets in a declining commodity market, with underlying assets that either were not as impressive as advertised, or flat out not worth the money they were sold for.

The housing sector was a place where everyone followed early pioneers like Sam Zell into the concept of the greatest middle class opportunity in emerging markets. The problem that has befallen investors is that most of the Brazilian homebuilders traded publicly became loss- leading, cash-burning, receivables-growing entitles with falling margins. Now a few of them may actually go to zero. And by the way, with all this bad credit going around, the banks look suddenly vulnerable.

Finally, after a 50%-plus move lower in the market since April 2011, you still don't have a market that is terribly cheap on multiples...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Need to disappear ?

Stuff you should put on your shopping list. Gun optional, of course.

I'm not talking Claude-Rains-Invisible Man style, here. I'm talking Matt-Damon-Bourne Identity-style.

So, if it's the latter, then you should definitely read, if not commit to memory, Mark Nestmann's piece in FINANCIAL SENSE, entitled,"When You Need to Disappear", excerpted below.

BTW, if you need to disappear Claude-Rains-style ?  Sorry, pal. Find yourself another blog.

* * *

Whistleblower Edward Snowden needs to disappear if he is to avoid kidnapping, assassination, extradition, or deportation to the United States. If you’re ever faced by a situation in which you need to disappear, right away, what would you do?

Perhaps someone is bent on revenge and has threatened to kill you. Perhaps you’re caught in an impossible personal or financial situation and you feel that “going underground” is the only way out. Or perhaps like Snowden, you find yourself an enemy of the state.

If you’re in such a situation, privacy may be a matter of life or death. You need to be prepared to act quickly, and when the time comes, not to hesitate.

When that time comes, first, throw away your cell phone. A cell phone may be bugged so that its location can be tracked even if the phone is switched off. When you turn it on, if the person after you has access to the cellular network—and it’s not difficult for a hacker to gain such access—your cell phone may betray your location.

Replace your existing cell phone with several anonymous prepaid cell phones, if you live in a country where you can buy one. You can still buy such phones in the United States. Buy phones with wi-fi cards so that you can connect to the Internet. Be prepared to throw away your anonymous cell phone—potentially, after just a single call. Also, purchase prepaid calling and prepaid Internet access. Pay in cash. Activate your phone at a pay phone—not with a phone connected to you in any way. Don’t give out your real phone number when you activate the phone.

Pack a suitcase with anything you need to exist for the next few months, including your new cell phone and a laptop configured with a virtual private network (VPN) like Cryptohippie (http://www.cryptohippie.com). Travel as lightly as you can.

Keep several thousand dollars in cash (or equivalent local currency) on hand at home, stored in a secure location. Don’t use an ATM unless you have no alternative. Using an ATM will reveal your location to your pursuers. If you must use an ATM, withdraw as much cash as you can, and don’t use an ATM again as long as you’re on the run. From that point forward, use cash only...


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hey, Huey Lewis Fans ! Check this out !

Click here to hear Heart and Soul

You've got to read Steve Hyden's article/interview in Grantland, 'Huey Lewis's Old, Weird America', excerpted below.

***

"I don't know what a new record is anymore," Lewis says. "I think what we have to do is record it, and video the recording and make a YouTube clip. I think YouTube is what matters. Records don't matter."

As a prolific seller of records once upon a time, Lewis is naturally perturbed by this. "American popular music is our only art form. It's our most important export, period. And since time began, it's been handled not as an art form but as a commodity. I mean, all records are the same price. Books are different prices, paintings are different prices, wine is different prices, but all music is the same fucking price. And why? Because the executives in charge of the business are not real businesspeople. They didn't go to business school, they don't have a business vision. 'He just managed a band that sold 8 million records. So let's put him in charge.'"



Click here to hear But It's Alright
 
Here's one thing the record business is definitely no longer good at: selling rock albums made by thirtysomething white men who are into sax solos and doo-wop. MJ, Prince, Springsteen — you can point to contemporary artists attempting to follow their commercial examples. But Huey Lewis represents an archetype that is not only absent from the pop charts, it's one that is nearly impossible for a young person to imagine ever being popular. Sports is the epitome of old-world musical broadness — it touches on new wave, '60s soul, beer-commercial blues, and classic honky-tonk. One of the album's most recognizable tracks, "I Want a New Drug," topped the dance charts. That's right — the clubs of '84 banged to Huey Lewis and the News. It's inconceivable that any album today could (or would even attempt to) cover so many bases in such a deliberate "one size fits all" manner.

"I think everybody's screwed by that," Lewis says. "[In the past] music was integrated, but society was segregated. Today, society is integrated, but music is segregated. And that's not a good thing. Information is segregated. If you're a right-winger, you know there's a bunch of shows you can watch where nobody disagrees with you. If you're a left-winger, there are other shows, nobody disagrees with you. Not healthy. Not good."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We welcome any sign that the Apocalypse has been postponed



Enough already, says WB
even when said portent is merely Warner Bros' cancelling a Dumb and Dumber sequel ( according to The Hollywood Reporter.)

However, be advised that other studios may yet embrace the project, so we're not entirely out of the woods, end-of-the-world-wise.

'Nation World Money' Links Updated

Turkish Protests Continue : How long before Erdogan drops the hammer ?
...to include Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern news sources.

On this soggy N.E. day, Blogger DJ daydreams about summer sun sand and surf...


...with one of his Beach Boys faves, Surfer Girl.

Carpe Diem, Culture Vultures ! Caravaggio Show Soon To Close !

http://www.thewadsworth.org/

That's right. You've got 'til this Sunday June 16 to take in the Caravaggio's at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneaum. For more info, click the above link.

Are U. S. Colleges and Universities Endangered ?

Yes, Bluto, they are, according to Robert Kuttner, whose SEEKING ALPHA post, 'Higher Education: The Coming Shakeout' is excerpted below.

* * *

Just as markets over-built housing, mispriced mortgages and bid up prices beyond the real financial capacity of homebuyers, America's colleges and universities have over-expanded and over-priced their product. We are getting an education bubble with dynamics similar to the late housing bubble. As more and more students find themselves with debts that exceed the salaries offered by the current job market, colleges have expanded beyond the capacity of their markets. Some kind of shakeout is coming. The question is: what kind.

During the long boom in higher education, colleges have also dramatically increased salaries and staffing levels of administrations. Some of this reflects efforts to game the rankings, which also is another aspect of the same imbalance. For-profit universities, with high dropout rates, heavily reliant on federal Pell grants and student loans, are only the more explicit and extreme expression of a general trend of colleges and universities becoming more marketized. Colleges are doing deals to set up satellite campuses in sheikhdoms, recruiting full-tuition state-supported foreign students and creating vanity diploma mills as profit centers. The flip side is a massive disinvestment by state legislatures in America's great public universities and an under-investment in community colleges.

Despite the broad premise that the cure for America's poor economic performance is more and better colleges, resources have been skewed in exactly the wrong direction. A report by the Century Foundation released last week reveals that per-pupil spending in community colleges, where 44 percent of post-secondary students attend, most of them children of the non-rich rich, has been flat since 1999, while spending at elite private universities is up 31 percent.

There is a huge mismatch between the greatest need -- affordable public universities and community colleges -- and where the investment has gone. Basically, it has gone to overbuilding and hyper-competition in elite universities, too much money for administration and marketing, for-profits siphoning off resources and graduates being saddled with lifelong debt (except, of course, for graduates with affluent parents, who generally pay the freight, leaving their offspring debt-free.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Apropos of recent events...

"Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can
become famous without ability."
 
George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pensive Blogger DJ Salutes Brian Wilson

...with a medley of just some Beach Boys favorites,including "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times", Ronnie Spector's "Don't Worry Baby" cover, a capella version of "God Only Knows", and a fun live performance of "Surfer Girl".
Brian Wilson, the Greatest Beach Boy
 

 
 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Who says it's time to break up Banks too big to fail ?

For our convenience and edification Barry Ritholz lists them in his Big Picture article "Top Economists, Financial Experts and Bankers Say We Must Break Up the Giant Banks".

Plan to Cyprusize U.S. Depositors ?


Has the kleptocracy has already made plans to do to American savers pretty much what the EU wants to do to our Cypriot counterparts ?  Ellen Brown argues just that in her recent Seeking Alpha post, "It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned For U.S. And U.K. Depositors", which is liberally excerpted below. 

* * *

Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few eurozone "troika" officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated Dec. 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds...

Although few depositors realize it, legally the bank owns the depositor's funds as soon as they are put in the bank. Our money becomes the bank's, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay (see here and here). But until now the bank has been obligated to pay the money back on demand in the form of cash. Under the FDIC-BOE plan, our IOUs will be converted into "bank equity." The bank will get the money and we will get stock in the bank. With any luck we may be able to sell the stock to someone else, but when and at what price? Most people keep a deposit account so they can have ready cash to pay the bills...

The 15-page FDIC-BOE document is called "Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions."

If our IOUs are converted to bank stock, they will no longer be subject to insurance protection but will be "at risk" and vulnerable to being wiped out, just as the Lehman Brothers shareholders were in 2008. That this dire scenario could actually materialize was underscored by Yves Smith in a March 19 post titled "When You Weren't Looking, Democrat Bank Stooges Launch Bills to Permit Bailouts, Deregulate Derivatives." She writes:

In the U.S., depositors have actually been put in a worse position than Cyprus deposit-holders, at least if they are at the big banks that play in the derivatives casino. The regulators have turned a blind eye as banks use their depositaries to fund derivatives exposures. And as bad as that is, the depositors, unlike their Cypriot confreres, aren't even senior creditors. Remember Lehman? When the investment bank failed, unsecured creditors (and remember, depositors are unsecured creditors) got eight cents on the dollar. One big reason was that derivatives counterparties require collateral for any exposures, meaning they are secured creditors. The 2005 bankruptcy reforms made derivatives counterparties senior to unsecured lenders.

An FDIC confiscation of deposits to recapitalize the banks is far different from a simple tax on taxpayers to pay government expenses. The government's debt is at least arguably the people's debt, since the government is there to provide services for the people. But when the banks get into trouble with their derivative schemes, they are not serving depositors, who are not getting a cut of the profits. Taking depositor funds is simply theft.

What should be done is to raise FDIC insurance premiums and make the banks pay to keep their depositors whole, but premiums are already high; and the FDIC, like other government regulatory agencies, is subject to regulatory capture. Deposit insurance has failed, and so has the private banking system that has depended on it for the trust that makes banking work.

The Cyprus haircut on depositors was called a "wealth tax" and was written off by commentators as "deserved," because much of the money in Cypriot accounts belongs to foreign oligarchs, tax dodgers and money launderers. But if that template is applied in the U.S., it will be a tax on the poor and middle class. Wealthy Americans don't keep most of their money in bank accounts. They keep it in the stock market, in real estate, in over-the-counter derivatives, in gold and silver, and so forth.

Are you safe, then, if your money is in gold and silver? Apparently not -- if it's stored in a safety deposit box in the bank. Homeland Security has reportedly told banks that it has authority to seize the contents of safety deposit boxes without a warrant when it’s a matter of "national security," which a major bank crisis no doubt will be...

Another alternative was considered but rejected by President Obama in 2009: nationalize mega-banks that fail. In a February 2009 article titled "Are Uninsured Bank Depositors in Danger?" Felix Salmon discussed a newsletter by Asia-based investment strategist Christopher Wood, in which Wood wrote:
It is...amazing that Obama does not understand the political appeal of the nationalization option...[D]espite this latest setback nationalization of the banks is coming sooner or later because the realities of the situation will demand it. The result will be shareholders wiped out and bondholders forced to take debt-for-equity swaps, if not hopefully depositors.
On whether depositors could indeed be forced to become equity holders, Salmon commented:
It's worth remembering that depositors are unsecured creditors of any bank; usually, indeed, they're by far the largest class of unsecured creditors.
 
President Obama acknowledged that bank nationalization had worked in Sweden, and that the course pursued by the U.S. Fed had not worked in Japan, which wound up instead in a "lost decade." But Obama opted for the Japanese approach because, according to Ed Harrison, "Americans will not tolerate nationalization."

But that was four years ago. When Americans realize that the alternative is to have their ready cash transformed into "bank stock" of questionable marketability, moving failed mega-banks into the public sector may start to have more appeal.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tonight's Blogger DJ Song


... is A Remark You Made, from Weather Report's 1977 album Heavy Weather.  Enjoy !

Today it's Cyprus, tomorrow...?

Courtesy of Phil Davis' Stock World.
Just when you thought the World's money-men were only going to loot your savings indirectly, by having their government buds run paper-money printing-presses non-stop AND taxing the crap out of you to bail them out because they're too big to jail, the Euro Kleptocrats are trying out a new scheme to roll their fellow citizens more directly, by taxing their supposedly guaranteed savings deposits.

In his Seeking Alpha post, "A Better Alternative for Cyprus", Felix Salmon effectively skewers one attempt to justify this blatant act of robbery :
Andrew Ross Sorkin defends the Cyprus deal today, on the grounds that (a) Cyprus is "tiny", and "largely irrelevant to the global economy"; (b) Cyprus is a genuinely unique case; (c) it would be grossly unfair not to bail in Russian depositors, who are generally losing less than they've made in interest over the past few years; and (d) the Greek alternative "will not work in Cyprus", and that therefore (this last bit is only implied, never stated outright) the current plan is really the only option.
Notably, Sorkin doesn't attempt to defend the most indefensible part of the plan - the confiscation of wealth from depositors with sovereign deposit guarantees. While hedge-fund bondholders will get paid their full $1.4 billion on June 3, the date of Cyprus's next coupon payment, small depositors with just a few hundred or a few thousand euros in savings will lose money which the Cypriot government had promised them was safe. Why is the government's promise to foreign hedge funds more important than its promise to its own citizens? Sorkin never attempts an answer to that one.
David Zervos, quoted in the Business Insider, goes further, describing the attack by the Troika -- the EC, ECB, and IMF - on Cypriot savers as nothing less than waging a "Nuclear War On Savings And Wealth":
All of us should really take a moment to consider what the governments of Europe have done. To be clear, they initiated a surprise assault on the precautionary savings of their own people. Such a move should send shock waves across the entire population of the developed world. This was not a Bernanke style slow moving financial repression against risk free savings that is meant to stir up animal spirits and force risk taking. This is a nuclear war on savings and wealth - something that will likely crush animal spirits. This is a policy move you expect from a dictatorial regime in sub-Saharan Africa, not in an EMU member state. If the European governments can clandestinely expropriate 7 to 10 percent of their hard working citizen's precautionary savings after the close of business on a Friday night, what else are they capable of doing? Why even hold money in a bank account? Are they trying to start a bank run? 
 And Nicole Gelinas offers this assessment in City Journal:
In voting down an arbitrary, confiscatory tax, Cypriot lawmakers stuck up not only for their constituents but also for the principle of investor discipline. Merkel and the rest of European officialdom should start doing the same.
It's hard to imagine Angela Merkel instructing the Troika to take its collective foot off Cyprus' throat until AFTER she's triumphed in the upcoming German elections...


UPDATE

For other views of the Cyprus Financial Crisis and its wider implications, check out these links to The Economist (from which the above illustration was derived), Financial Sense, CNBC, and Der Speigel.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Update - Blogger DJ's Salute to Neil Diamond Has Jumped the Rails

[ Friday, February 8

Let me atone for the fact that I'd covered this ground before, and not so long ago, by citing yet another cover, this being English Beat's terrific reinterpretation of Andy Williams' Can't Get Used to Losing You.  ]

* * *

and become a discussion of covers.

Couldn't find a cover of Cherry Cherry, but lots of folks have tried their pipes and axes on I'm a Believer, like The Monkees and Smashmouth (although the latter's version strikes me as being a cover of The Monkees' cover).

Some covers are distinct, inventive reinterpretations, like UB40's reggae rendition of  Red Red Wine. Or Amy Winehouse's acoustic cover of The Shirelles' Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Or Tom Rush's vibrant uptempo version of James Taylor's Something in the Way She Moves. Or Harry Nillson's hyper-romantic cover of Badfinger's Without You.

That's not to say that covers which cleave to the original are necessarily inferior, for Chris Isaak's rendition of Solitary Man is palpably moving. Tom Rush's cover does not demean Joni Mitchell's Urge for Going by comparison. Not sure if I can say the same for The Tremeloes' exuberant cover of Cat Steven's Here Comes my Baby.