Jonell Mosser, ‘Crossroads’ – Terrible Classic Rock Covers
At the very least, get the words right. It’s really not too much to ask. That was the biggest problem that marred Jonell Mosser’s cover of Cream‘s ‘Crossroads.’
The song was recorded for ‘Boys on the Side,’ a 1995 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker and Drew Barrymore as three women of differing ages and backgrounds who find themselves on a cross-country trip together. In keeping with the movie’s feminist perspective, the soundtrack contained exclusively women artists, with many of them performing covers of songs originally recorded by men.
Soundtracks are often inconsistent, especially when curated with such a high concept as this. So although Bonnie Raitt put her usual class on Roy Orbison’s ‘You Got It’ and Sarah McLachlan did a credible version of Tom Waits‘ ‘Ol’ 55,’ most of the other songs were nothing special. However, Mosser’s take on Cream’s classic was notable for how bad it was.
Prior to this, Mosser had spent five years building up an impressive resume as a session singer for many top country, folk and blues acts. ‘Boys on the Side’ could have been a great opportunity to show what she could do in the spotlight. But although Mosser undoubtedly has a powerful voice and the music is competent, if unspectacular, bar-band rock (except for the pedestrian guitar solo), she screws up considerably in the third verse. Where Eric Clapton sang, “I’m going down to Rosedale / Take my rider by my side / You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside,” Mosser embarrassingly misreads this and sings, “I’m going down to Rosedale / Take you right here by my side / Do you still have a house, baby, down by the riverside?”
In blowing the lyrics, Mosser pretty much stomped on sacred ground in rock n’ roll, not just because it’s one of Cream’s finest moments, but also because Cream’s take is an adaptation of Robert Johnson’s harrowing ‘Cross Road Blues.’ Since then, Mosser has continued her session work and released several albums. Still, one has to wonder whether or not Mosser made her own deal with the devil to get on to the soundtrack.
Listen to Cream Perform ‘Crossroads’