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It’s Covered: Abracadabra

by oddbodkins on December 1, 2009

i’m sure i could blow your mind away with a charming metaphorical simile comparing my blogging capabilities to that of a great wizard, a la Merlin or Brother Voodoo or somebody, but i don’t think i’m medicated enough to make it worth either of our whiles. i figure it’s enough that i referenced Dr. Strange’s successor in a post that’s really about Steve Miller.

Which brings us to today’s actual topic, Abracadabra. Penned by Steve Miller for the eponymous album, i’ve loved this track since it first hit the airwaves back in ’82. i distinctly recall my buddy playing it over and over again on what we used to call “record players.” We ran around like madman screaming the chorus while hopped up on some candy that probably wouldn’t pass FDA regulations today. There may or may not have been capes and wands involved, too, but we’re going to move on before this becomes a questionably attractive post to pedophiles.

This was also when MTV was first gaining traction, and being 8 years old, the effects for the video impressed me. How the hell did they get that ball to spin backwards like that? Sure, it certainly ain’t CGI, but it was good enough for us back then. You kids and your damn Lucas Arts–we were getting poorly executed shots played in reverse AND WE WERE HAPPY TO HAVE IT!

Steve’s original pretty much speaks for itself. It’s classic 80s rock with just the slightest hint of disco somewhere on the periphery. Martin Philadelphy slows things down considerably, adding a slow burn blues feel the song somehow deserves. Robin McKelle goes in a different direction, turning the track into a big band extravaganza. Both routes hold up more than well enough to the original. These tracks, quite frankly, are what good cover songs are all about–you take and respect the source material and then add your own signature touch. i did come across a number of poorly executed Euro dance versions, but i figured i’d spare us all the ignominy of listening to that.

You can see for yourself how good we had it back in the day, back when MTV actually played music.

mp3: Abracadabra (Steve Miller from Abracadabra)

mp3: Abracadabra (Martin Philadelphy from Death to the 80s)

mp3: Abracadabra (Robin McKelle from Modern Antique)
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