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Image for CD - Mark Ronson - Version

CD - Mark Ronson - Version

Putting together an album of cover songs must take guts, knowing it might be yanked out of CD players and trodden on with contempt by fans of the original artists. Undaunted, London-born, New York-based DJ/producer Mark Ronson has pilfered a dozen or so niche tracks for Version and has transformed them successfully with his distinctive funk treatment.

Having produced songs for Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Robbie Williams previously, Ronson’s second album Version hit the No. 2 spot in the UK charts upon its release in April.

Version relies heavily on horns, funky drum beats and unpretentious guitars, with vocalists from mixed genres adding their own unique style to each track.

Melbourne R&B singer Danniel Merriweather handles the Smiths’ Stop Me If You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before beautifully, with Ronson adding orchestral strings to give a haunting, full sound reminiscent of Massive Attack.

Amy Winehouse, who’s enjoying her own success with her second jazz/soul album Back To Black, applies her lush Ella Fitzgerald-esque vocals to the Motown track Valerie, with Paul Smith from Maximo Park following it up with funked up version of Apply Some Pressure.

Ronson puts Britney Spears on tranquilisers in a slowed down and delightfully sleazy version of Toxic, featuring Tiggers and the occasional Ol’ Dirty Bastard rap. It’s slightly kitch yet soothing compared to Brits’ version – if you liked Alanis Morissette singing My Humps, you’ll find entertainment value in this track.

Lily Allen covers Kaiser Chiefs’ Oh My God relatively well with a trumpet solo crescendo sitting perfectly in the middle and a dose of drums re-instating the chorus before an abrupt end.

An interpretation of Just by Phantom Planet towards the end of the album should also refresh Radiohead fans.

If you’re ready to try some funk with a dash of soul, jazz, hip-hop and breaks, Ronson’s Version will put a smile on your face. All up an excellent album with enough variety to keep you interested for quite a while.

Mark Ronson – Version is out now through Sony BMG. For more information check out http://www.markronson.co.uk or http://myspace.com/markronson.

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