Listen to Teddy Swims' cover of Georgia on my mind

Originally published at: Listen to Teddy Swims' cover of Georgia on my mind | Boing Boing

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When I first heard ‘Audience of One’ by Cold War Kids, I developed a mental picture of the vocalist as a '70s soul diva, someone in the mold of Marlena Shaw.

I lived quite happily under this illusion for years until one day I sought out the song on YouTube and discovered that the vocalist is a young white man. The cognitive dissonance was mind bending! I found that if I listened to the track in the light of this new information I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. So now when I hear the song I try to relax into my previous delusion.

This feels somehow wrong.

Cant judge a book by it’s cover, they say.

I recently got a friend of mine hip to the fact that the famous song used in ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ Goodbye Horses, is actually sung by a Black woman.

For over 30 years, he’d thought it was some White dude.


Conversely, when I was a kid I always pictured the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” performed by a group of Black women.


With that signature high-ass falsetto they used, that’s very understandable.

Hopefully, most people know about Bobby Caldwell, and “Just the Two of Us.”

Also, now having had a moment to actually check out dude’s singing, I have to say that he’s got pipes.

I’m ambivalent about his particular version of ‘Georgia on My Mind,’ because I can’t get over my Ray Charles bias, but I can acknowledge the obvious talent.


Well, the visual of a red-bearded tattoo’d white dude combined with singing that sounds like churchy 70s black soul is a bit surprising–but then decades ago, there were black listeners who thought that Jimmie Rodgers was African-American. (I got this from an elder bluesman.) Just goes to show you that, as another African-American crossover artist who did country material put it, you never can tell.

(The musical-cultural processes that led to a white guy from Indiana composing the likes of “Georgia,” “Lazy Bones,” and “Rockin’ Chair” is a whole other conversation.)

Precisely why I don’t like to see new artists while I’m seeking brand new music to genuinely connect with.

I like the visual disconnect, but I still don’t like the song.

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