I’ve been reading quite a lot about Sam Sparro recently but couldn’t decide whether to invest in any of his stuff. But having been pointed in the direction of this cover version of Estelle’s American Boy that he recorded for Radio 1’s Live Lounge, I may have to do just that.
It doesn’t differ hugely from Estelle’s original version, although it is now of course a man signing about the lovely American boy he’s found (like Amy Winehouse signing The Zutons’ Valerie he sees no reason to change the gender of the song’s subject, and it’s all the more interesting for that).
The instrumentation is pretty standard 21st Century Soul; keyboards, bass & lazy drumming. It’s kind of like an American Jamie Lidell and as I write this, sitting in the garden on a sultry May afternoon, I can think of no better sound for the coming summer.
The friend who told me about Sam Sparro’s cover of Estelle’s American Boy reckons that it’s better than the original; I’m not sure I’d go that far (if nothing else, whilst Sparro has a great voice, his rap is not a patch compared to Kanye West’s). It is however really very good, and another reminder that I really ought to listen to the Live Lounge more. Although I’m glad I missed Estelle’s own appearance; take a listen to her live version of American Boy & be thankful that’s not the version that got released.