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FerrY: "I had never heard Tim's version..."

September 28, 2011 - Former Roxy Music frontman Brian Ferry spoke to The Miami Herald's John Hood as he begins the US portion of tour this week in Miami, noting that his inclusion of Song to the Siren on his Olympia album came after hearing Elizabeth Frazier's version.

Coincident with Roxy Music’s sophomore effort was the release of Ferry’s first solo album, 'These Foolish Things', a collection of classic covers ranging from Dylan’s 'A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall' to Leiber and Stoller’s 'Baby I Don’t Care'. Subsequent solo LPs would follow a similar pattern and help to forever associate Ferry with some of the most beautifully inspired interpretations rendered. Of course Ferry is a songwriter as well as a troubadour, and even with Roxy Music still creating records, he had songs to spare. Three and a half decades later, his Olympia would consist of all originals but one, the ethereal 'Song to the Siren'..

Reached by telephone in Warsaw, where Ferry was wrapping up the European leg of an extensive world tour, he remembered the first time he heard This Mortal Coil’s cover of Tim Buckley’s classic track.

“I was home,” he said. “The guy who did the clip had it on his reel. I thought it was beautiful. I don’t think I heard Tim Buckley’s version till after mine was recorded though.”

Like Ferry’s earlier renditions, 'Siren' is an unmistakable homage to a great song, possessing its essence. As ever Ferry seems less concerned with reinvention (the wheel turns fine as it is), as he is with ownership; not in any mundane way of course, but in the way of a song’s soul.

Ferry’s ability to claim the essence of another writer’s song is the reason his own songwriting so singularly stands out. That and perhaps the notion that the tribute gets something out of his system

©2011 Miami Herald


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