American singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, better known by her stage name Cat Power, has released a stirring version of The Rolling Stones’ achingly beautiful blues tune ‘You Got the Silver’.
A bonus track from Power’s recent LP Covers, ‘You Got the Silver’ slots right in with Power’s signature mix of ricketty blues, country, folk, and roots rock. Stripping the song of most of its riff-heavy stops and starts, Power simple runs through the verses without adornment or aplomb, opting to be as straightforward as possible.
Most importantly, Power’s weathered vocals are ideally suited for what remains one of Keith Richards‘ most iconic lead vocal performances on record. Originally recorded during the sessions for 1969’s Let It Bleed, ‘You Got the Silver’ was the first time that Richards sang a lead vocal on a Rolling Stones song, having previously provided brief lead vocal turns on tracks like ‘Salt of the Earth’ from Beggars Banquet.
An oft-repeated story around ‘You Got the Silver’ says that the song was originally recorded with Mick Jagger singing the lead vocal, but a studio mishap caused the lead vocal to be wiped from the master tapes. Jagger was in Australia filming the movie Ned Kelly and couldn’t return to the studio before the final mixing of the album, so Richards stepped in to complete the song with a new lead vocal.
This is the version repeated in engineer Glyn Johns‘ excellent memoir Sound Man, which should make it a reliable truth. However, the existence of a high-quality version of the track featuring Jagger’s lead vocal seems to indicate that both Jagger and Richards took a pass at the tune and Richards’ performance was the one that was ultimately selected. In any case, ‘You Got the Silver’ was the first in a long line of Richards’ once-an-album lead vocal turns.
Check out Cat Power’s cover of ‘You Got the Silver’ down below.