When James Morrison first came on to the scene, I was distinctly of the "meh" opinion. His debut album Undiscovered was everywhere I looked and, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. On the mediocre side of average IMHO.
Bear in mind that a) I was living in London at the time, and b) the Brits have a singular ability to foster contempt among non-Brits for local artists and sportsmen as a result of their incessant patriotic promotion.[*]
That's not to say that this was bad period for me on the musical front. The music scene in London is pretty amazing and I was left almost frantic with the notion that I could see a superb live act every other night. (Coming from South Africa, this was like being on another planet...) The general Brit "sound" around that time was also pretty great, if I think back: The Fratellis, Editors, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Amy Winehouse, Kasabian, Kooks, Razorlight, etc etc
But not James Morrison, whom seemed to be empty pop masquerading as thoughtful troubadour... and he hasn't done much to grow on me since. Having said that, while I don't normally like the music he makes, I do recognize that Morrison has a pretty unique voice with some real soulful quality to it.[**] In other words, he's exactly the type of candidate that can produce a good cover.
I still have mixed feelings about including him here, among the — coveted! — ranks of Cover Thursdays alumni at Stickman's Corral. However, hopefully you'll enjoy these two tracks that I've selected for your listening pleasure this fine Thursday. Both are acoustic numbers that offer Morrison a platform to showcase his smokey pipes and perhaps win us naysayers over...
1) "Man In The Mirror", originally by a certain Michael Jackson:
2) "Gangster's Gangsta's Paradise", originally by two-hit wonder, Coolio:
Verdict? Yes, no, maybe?
[*] Tennis being an obvious "beneficiary" of this counterproductive approach. Poor ol' Tim Henman never stood a chance (even if he had been born with a personality). Andy Murray was pretty much goosed from the get go as well (even if he hadn't been born with a cactus lodged in his colon).
[**] Full disclosure: I did quite enjoy his last single, "I won't let you go". This acoustic version is certainly impressive and, if the music doesn't grab you, then the facial expressions just might do it...