Hits and misses on the Modfather's first album of cover versions

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There are several surprise elements to Weller’s covers LP. The first is that he’s made it now, for such collections are more usually delivered as a contractual exercise when artist and record label are parting company. Yet oddly, Studio 150 is Weller’s debut for a new label. The second is the choice of material, as he’s avoided the ’60s rock classics we might have expected in favour of a varied selection that ranges from funk to folk. Apparently, they are not even his own Desert Island Discs, but simply songs he felt he could meaningfully reinvent and make his own. As with most such enterprises, sometimes it works and sometimes it goes horribly wrong. “Close To You” was an utterly daft idea that Weller admits began as a joke with his kids on holiday. There it should have remained. Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain” is given a country-tinged acoustic treatment but it’s unclear in what way this makes it his ‘own’, for if Dylan’s version on Self Portrait was pointless enough, Weller’s take has even less purpose. Neil Young’s “Birds” is another rum choice, while doing “All Along The Watchtower” in the style of Blue