“Borrowed Tunes” is one of my favourite albums from the nineties. It’s a two-CD set, featuring 37 Neil Young covers by Canadian bands. Like Young’s classic Rust Never Sleeps, the first half is acoustic and the second is electric.
There are so many good songs on this album. The Rheostatics and the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir do a wonderful, loosey-goosey cover of “Everybody Knows this is Nowhere”, Marc Jordan sings “Borrowed Tune” like it’s a lullaby and Crash Vegas kind of reinvents “Pocahontas”:
I forget exactly how (it originated with Cover Lay Down, an excellent blog of folky covers), but yesterday I learned that last year a second “Borrowed Tunes” was recorded, by a (mostly) new generation of Canadian artists. I have yet to hear any songs from it, but I’ll definitely buy a copy. Not from Amazon.com, mind you, where it’s listed as an import and priced at $47.99. Instead, I can get it at Amazon.ca for $21.99 or Chapters.Indigo.Purple.Monkey.Dishwasher.ca for $20.99. Or, I suppose, there’s always iTunes for a mere $14.99 (link goes to iTunes store).
Proceeds from sales of both albums (plus another earlier, more indie cover album) go to support The Bridge School, a California instution which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs. Both of Young’s sons have cerebral palsy and his daughter has epilepsy.