Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Prick Tunes: Elliott Smith Lucky Three

Back in the early days of peer-to-peer filesharing, when one had already exhausted the depths of an artist's catalog from proper releases, he started searching far and wide for any other songs. Covers. Rarities. Demos. Alternate live versions. This was a largely frustrating experience, as downloading an entire user's shared catalog of The Kinks meant you were getting "Turning Japanese" or of Bob Dylan resulted in having a duplicate file of "Stuck in the Middle With You" as you had obviously already downloaded every Stealers Wheel song you could get your hands on.
Elliott Smith was an artist who got such a hold on the listener that it was impossible to sate that hunger for more material. His covers of "Harvest Moon," "Walk Away Renee," "Waterloo Sunset," "Because," and "Trouble" were so striking that they began to take over your memory of the original song, wiping it from your memory altogether and making each time you heard the original seem like they were covering him. There was perhaps no cover that accomplished this more completely than Elliott Smith's cover of Big Star's "Thirteen." This song was often labeled as being from Lucky Three, although to all but a few rabid fans, what Lucky Three was exactly was a bit of a mystery.

It's a short film shot in October of 1996 by Jem Cohen, who directed the Fugazi documentary, Instrumental, and the documentary about the frontman of Smoke, Benjamin Smoke. Seeing Lucky Three makes me sad as hell, as his death still sort of fucks me up.

Lucky Three:

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