And when the original performer is so perfect, the chances of improvement are slim. The best can be hoped for is that at least it will introduce someone who has not heard the original to the song and lead them back to the source.
I first learned of Nick Drake through a cover version of Pink Moon by Walt Mink, a band from Minnesota that never quite made it outside that state. They did three different versions (one on a single with a b-side of Free to Be... You and Me.
Anyway, their version let me to listen to Nick Drake's version, and while Walt Mink rocked the song well, it can't compare to the original. I don't remember what Sebadoh's version of Pink Moon sounds like.
River Man seems to have lent itself to some interesting interpretations. Jazz pianist/vocalist Andy Bey croons .River Man huskily. Shawn Lee's trip-hop take on River Man seems kind of by-the numbers. …