I have to preface this installment by saying that I was on the fence about featuring covers of one of my all-time favorite bands from the 60s; Traffic. The original lineup of Steve Windwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, and Dave Mason, burst onto the music scene in 1967 with their debut album “Mr. Fantasy,” which includes the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” the song I’m featuring today. They disbanded two years later but would reunite in different forms twice, from 1970-74, and 1994-2004. Windwood got an early start on his musical career as the lead singer for the Spencer Davis Group at the age of 14! I must admit to being a bit surprised at the amount of covers for this song (not all of them great I must add). But the wide assortment of intriguing covers finally got me off the fence! I was also surprised to find that Jimi Hendrix covered this song in a live performance in 1968, but the audio quality of that video leaves a lot to be desired, so I did not include it. However, I did include a 1989 live version done my none other than the Grateful Dead! The remaining covers by “Sugar Lime Blue,” John Martorelli, and Davy Knowles & Paul Reid Smith provide a rather disparate tribute to the band and the song.
Traffic – “Dear Mr. Fantasy” – 1972 Santa Monica CA (released 1967)
The “Dead,” as they are often referred to, formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California with the original lineup consisting of Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and vocals, Bob Weir, rhythm guitar and vocals, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, keyboards and harmonica, Phil Lesh, bass and vocals, and Bill Kreutzmann, drums. They were an eclectic group that fused elements of folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, rock and roll, gospel, reggae, world music, and psychedelia. Their live performances were famous for their lengthy instrumental jams. They also had a devout following called “The Deadheads,” that followed them fairly religiously to all their live performances.
Grateful Dead – “Dear Mr. Fantasy” – Foxboro MA 1989 (This version is done with the Beatles “Hey Jude.”
Sugar Lime Blue
For over a decade, Sugar Lime Blue (Nashville TN) has been committed to recording music that draws from several genres. Their current release, “The Blackbird Sessions (2022) is a solid effort of hard driving rock. Fronted by Ashley and Dave Beth, they enlisted the services of bassist Joe Bass (after losing founding member and bassist Russ Dean in 2020), and keyboardist Scott Guberman to complete the tracking for their lates album. They have been active for over a decade and have released four albums to date.
Sugar Lime Blue – “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (Traffic) – 2021
Hailing from Chester, Connecticut, John Martorelli is one hell of a guitar player! For this cover he is joined by Jason on guitar and providing the vocals. I chose this cover simply because of its no frills simplicity and Martorelli’s guitar playing.
John Martorelli & Jason (vocals and guitar) – Dear Mr. Fantasy – 2019
Davy Knowles first burst onto the scene in 2007 with his band ‘Back Door Slam’, garnering rave reviews, national US television appearances (Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America), extensive triple-A radio airplay, and two top 5 Billboard Blues charting albums. Since then, Knowles has independently released two more studio albums, 2014’s ‘The Outsider’ and 2016’s ‘Three Miles From Avalon’, which also hit the top 5 on the Billboard Blues chart.
Paul Reed Smith
Smith is an American luthier (a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a soundbox), and the founder and owner of PRS Guitars, a high end guitar manufacturing company. As you will see in this performance, he not only knows how to build guitars, but he also knows how to play them…I mean, really play them!
Davy Knowles & Paul Reed Smith – Dear Mr. Fantasy – 1/29/20 Rams Head – Annapolis, MD Davy Knowles – Guitar & Vocals, Paul Reed Smith – Guitar, Tod Bowers – Bass, Jeremy Cunningham – Drums
Los Angeles 2023
2 thoughts on “DUTC#6 February 12, 2023”
Some great cover versions, you lost me after the Dead but all are pretty impressive. That John Martorelli is amazing!
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He certainly is!
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