Lobster Sings Live with Pete Sears on the Grand Piano
The first Holiday song played on The River last year was Joni Mitchell's River from her Blue album. It's been covered many, many times. Our version on Lobster's Sunday Brunch, Christmas Day played as the 1st song in the “Special Medley of the Week” after the 1:20p break, followed by John Lennon “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” and The Doobie Brothers “Jesus Is Just Alright.”
Did a bit of research on the track. Although I had never heard a cover of it till hearing Rosanne Cash's version at a Starbuck’s, it’s been on two Joni Mitchell tribute compilations: Herbie Hancock’s River-The Joni Letters with Corrine Bailey Rae on vocals released in 2007, and a 2009 Tribute to Joni Mitchell by The Joni Mitchell Tribute Band released on Charly Records in the U.K.. Also covered by Dianne Reeves, Madeline Peyroux (with k.d. Lang), Renee Fleming, plus Linda Ronstadt (w/string quartet) and James Taylor on their Christmas albums. James’ version sounds completely like a signature James Taylor song and was on his James Taylor at Christmas release in 2006. There’s been Jazz instrumental covers, too. I was thinking Leon Russell with a touch of Frank Sinatra.
Pete recorded it at his home studio in Marin. It was a spontaneous session. We recorded "old school" style. Live together with no overdubs. Just Pete at the Piano and me on Vocal. We tried different keys before dropping it down an octave from Joni. Pete Sears is one of the greats in the SF Bay Area Music Community, having played Bass and Keyboards with Rod Stewart before moving to the U.S. from the U.K. Pete (with his wife Jeanette co-writing some of their hits) has been in Jefferson Starship and plays with Moon Alice as well as the David Nelson Band and many more. This is part of a large project. I've been writing the book, one blog at a time™ and each chapter gets it's title from a song. The River is the last chapter. "Beginning with the end in mind," and working backward, cover songs and originals with more musician friends being enlisted to guest on the Soundtrack to the Movie from the Book. A tremendous debt of gratitude to Pete Sears for getting the first (last) song recorded in time for Joni Mitchell's lyric to be in sync with the season and the feel I wanted of a melancholy "Blue" Christmas song.