by Francis Andrews in New Trends on Friday 5 December 2008

It takes a potent strain on self-belief to attempt a cover of a great song. In the history of cover songs there have been some great attempts, and some absolute howlers. Hendrix succeeded on All Along The Watchtower; Nirvana did it with Man Who Sold The World; Aretha Frankin with Respect. But maybe the crown (at least for the last ten years) goes to Jeff Buckley’s take on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It turned a good, but not memorable, song into surely one of the most spine-tinglingly beautiful and lasting pieces of songwriting in modern music. So, if someone told me Hallelujah had been reworked again, and this time as a bouncy ska piece, I’d probably have turned and walked away for fear of it tainting the above incarnation. But in a club on Friday night, an ageing London ska group called the Trojans had a go and it was simply awesome. The crowd’s bemused faces quickly turned into all-out smiles and the place erupted. Unfortunately we were left crushed with the final words that they were yet to record it. And judging by the gurn on the Bez-like frontman and chief whip of the group (who was replaced by a female vocalist for the song), that may take a while. So, until then, we’ll leave you with another completely different take on another great song: Schneider TM does The Smiths’, There Is A Light That Will Never Go Out.