If you’ve been enjoying the singles releases, then you’ll probably want to pick up the Rhoda Dakar Version Girl LP and CD release.
And that includes me. These singles releases have been something of a musical highlight in recent months. So an album is very appealing.
Of course, you probably know Rhoda Dakar as the lead singer of The Bodysnatchers, who were part of the 2 Tone record label. But she has also worked with The Specials and Special AKA, as well as carving out a fruitful solo career too. The latter is the focus now.
You might well have seen and heard some great covers from Rhoda of late, with artwork courtesy of the amazing Pete McKee. All limited runs on 7-inch and well worth checking out if you like the idea of some classics and lesser-known tunes given a reggae/ska makeover. Or just wait for the album, which you can pre-order now.
Version Girl’s title is derived from Dandy Livingstone’s ‘Version Girl’ – Rhoda’s connection to Livingstone dates to her first ever release, a cover of his ‘Let’s Do Rocksteady’, which she recorded with The Bodysnatchers.
It’s a 12-song collection with a diverse range of music given the Rhoda Dakar treatment. Everything from David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World and Lou Reed’s Hangin’ Round to standards like Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World.
Between all that, reworked tracks by Morrissey, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Tim Buckley and more. It shouldn’t necessarily work, but judging by the tracks released already as singles, it does.
According to Rhoda:
I wanted to go a little left field for this. There seemed no point in covering songs which already had perfectly good Reggae versions. Both UB40 and Madness have already done a series of definitive covers albums. So, rather than hanging on their coat tails, I went for songs that had no previous definitive Reggae, Ska or Rocksteady versions, that we could find anyway. I think it also continues to demonstrate the amazing adaptability of these Jamaican genres!
Version Girl will be available from 26th May on CD, Neon Purple Translucent vinyl and Galaxy Purple vinyl, both with printed inner sleeves, digital platforms and streaming. Full track listing below.
1. Version Girl
2. Stop Your Sobbing
3. Everyday Is Like Sunday
4. What A Wonderful World
5. Hangin’ ‘Round
6. Song To The Siren
7. Walking After Midnight
8. The Man Who Sold The World
9. Comme Un Arbre
10. As Tears Go By
11. Love Hurts
12. What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding
To celebrate the album’s release, on 26th May, Rhoda will play a series of in-stores, beginning with a performance in Sheffield supported by Pete McKee’s band, Everly Pregnant Brothers:
Fri. 26th May Sheffield with Bear Tree Records (venue TBC)
Mon. 29th May Bristol Rough Trade FULL BAND
Tues. 30th May Banquet Records, Kingston
Wed. 31st May Rough Trade East, London FULL BAND
Thu. 1st June Pie and Vinyl, Portsmouth
Fri. 2nd June Black Circle Records, Leighton Buzzard
Sat. 3rd June Reflex Records, Newcastle