"Baby It's You" - Smith
"Dark End of The Street" - Cat Power
"When Doves Cry" - The Be Good Tanyas
(Video no longer available. Click HERE, and then click on the red "play" button to listen)
Let me begin by saying that I love Cat Power. I mean, I really love Cat Power. From the moment I saw her with Strombo on The Hour; with that honest and endearing way she has about her, and that sleepy, cigarette-softened voice that induces a kind of whimpering hearbreak... how could your heart not go out to her? And what's more, she covers the kinds of impossible-to-improve-upon songs better than just about anybody alive.
But with that being said, much to my astonishment, I find myself placing her version of the James Carr classic third in this showdown. It obviously has more to do with the fact that Smith's version of Baby It's You miraculously outshines the versions previously done by both The Shirelles and The Beatles, and the fact that I basically haven't been able to stop listening to The Be Good Tanyas ridiculously funky folk take on the timeless cornerstone of the Prince canon, but still...
That's some heady company.