Uncle Kracker, ‘Drift Away’ – Terrible Classic Rock Covers
Dobie Gray’s classic rendering of Mentor Williams’ ‘Drift Away’ back in 1973 is pretty much the epitome of a hit song, top to bottom. It’s got that great little Stephen Stills-esque guitar lick in the intro and one of the most memorable, sing-along-able choruses ever written (“Give me the beat, boys and free my soul / I wanna get lost in your rock and roll / And drift away”). It also made Gray a superstar, with the record selling over a million copies and going all the way to No. 5.
Thirty years later, the song got the cover treatment by adult-contemporary pop star Uncle Kracker, who had most notably been connected to Kid Rock (he was the rap-metal-country rocker’s DJ). In a “Terrible Classic Rock Covers” first, Kracker would re-record ‘Drift Away’ and feature Dobie Gray, as a “special guest.”
The first thing you notice missing in the cover is the guitar riff in the beginning; it’s replaced by a way-less-cool, dribbly Fender Rhodes lick (or some sort of electric piano). The second thing you notice is Kracker’s vocals, which are pretty plain and nondescript; they sound like a guy who took 8th-grade vocal lessons doing his best job to impress the pretty girl in the corner at karaoke night at the local watering hole.
When Gray’s parts come in, however, we can just hear Kracker crying ‘uncle’ — if you’re going to do a cover song of an absolutely amazing song like ‘Drift Away,’ make sure the original artist that made the song famous doesn’t completely upstage you on the actual record itself.
Listen to Dobie Gray’s ‘Drift Away’