The cover version of the Paul Simon classic Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover by British dance band Playgroup is a lovely bit of dub house…
This is a cover version which I found completely by chance. I had been meaning to get the first group by dance band Playgroup (called Playgroup) since its release in 2001, but for some reason never had. This weekend I rectified the mistake when I used it as a large chunk of my monthly allowance on emusic.
Trevor Jackson, the man behind Playgroup, has a long history in British music. The closest I had come to him in any of his previous incarnations was when he the producer for under-rated British hip-hop trio The Brotherhood. I was due to interview them for my student newspaper whilst at Coventry University but one of them was ill; however I had already been sent the promo for their debut album Elementalz and have been grateful for that ever since: I still rank it as one of the best UK hip-hop albums ever.
Playgroup came about after Jackson had split from the rest of The Brotherhood, and out of his remix work as Underdog. It combines a love for the late 70s punk-funk when disco met rock on the streets of London & New York, with ultra-modern electronica, and in many ways sounds like a mellower version of what James Murphy has been doing over at DFA Records in New York.
The penultimate track on the debut album from Playgroup is this cover of Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover. It sits on a great dub beat, and sounds very different to the original with the lyrics being rapped rather than sung. Its not actually the best track on the album, but it is a reminder of what a decent cover could & should do (remind you of the original whilst causing you to hear it in an entirely different way). And the reason that its not the best track is mainly because the rest of the album is so damn good! If you don’t believe me, listen to it now;
You can see video of Paul Simon’s rather excellent original version of 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover here..