Monday, February 14, 2011

Gruhak: Love Me Two Times

A little late post due to a busy weekend, but I hope today’s featured cover tune is worth the wait. I wanted to do a song in honor of Valentine’s Day, so I thought what song would fit the occasion? My first choice was a cover of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her”; however, having featured the Fab Four twice last week it seemed, well, -- like overkill. Scratch that one.

So I thought long and hard about what love song fit my mood of the day and the first thing that popped into my mind was a tune made famous by The Lizard King himself, Jim Morrison and his band The Doors. The song was selected and now to find a fitting cover which seemed more difficult that I would have imagined.


The first cover I considered was by Aerosmith. While their instrumentation was great, Steven Tyler’s vocals seemed to strain more than normal on this number. I did like his harp playing, but his vocals wouldn’t get him a slot on American Idol with this rendition. Sorry Steven, I generally like your hits and your covers (i.e., “Train Kept A Rollin’,”), but this one – hmmm, I’ll have to think about it.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

I next listened to Joan Jett. This was more to my liking, but being the critic that I am, I felt that her vocals were slightly buried in the mix and too compressed. Tweaking that channel would have made her version nearly perfect. In fact the Blackhearts keyboardist even was playing a Rhodes Piano Bass ala Ray Manzarek. As much as I liked the idea of the use of a vintage keyboard, I’m thinking that perhaps there are others worth investigating.


After listening to two dozen covers of this song, I think I’ll go with Gruhak from Croatia. Their name is Croatian slang for “a loud and obtrusive person.” While the keyboard part is not the same as Ray Manzarek’s original, that’s not a problem. It works. As I can gather from their website, the keyboardist is not a member of the band – at least not currently. What can you say about a band whose lead vocalist is named Boris? These guys are looking for gigs – hire them now. If their original songs are as good as this cover, they need to be signed.

The Original by The Doors

Released as The Doors’ fourth single and peaking at 25, “Love Me Two Times” was written by the band’s guitarist Robby Krieger. It was about a soldier shipping off to Vietnam and seeing his girl for the last time. Krieger is an interesting guy as rumor had it that he never changed his strings on his guitar. Urban legend or not? – even Snopes doesn’t confirm or deny this piece of musical trivia.

John Densmore kept the beat going as Ray Manzarek played the keyboard parts and bass on a Rhodes Piano Bass during their live performances. On this recording from the “Strange Days” album, however, Doug Lubahn is playing bass guitar. Manzarek utilized a clavinet and not a harpsichord which is often misstated when this song is mentioned. Of courses, the lead vocals were by the legendary Jim Morrison.

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