Chemical Brothers & Beth Orton, “I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain” English electronic-music duo Chemical Brothers and British vocalist Beth Orton team up for a cover of Tim Buckley's "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain." Originally heard on Tim Buckley's classic 1967 Goodbye and Hello LP, the song is a majestic folkadelic strumathon with fleet-fingered bongos and thumb piano embellishments. Buckley used his most forthright and well-modulated masculine voice to profess a grandiose, poetic plea to coax a lover back to him; the lyrics reputedly reference Tim's son Jeff and his mother, Mary, Tim's wife. What Tim does with the word "please" here is a seminar in extreme expressiveness... and vibrato-intensive falsetto.
It's generally a fool's errand to cover a Tim Buckley song—unless you're This Mortal Coil, with Liz Fraser on the mic. But the Chem Bros and Ms. Orton—who also sang on key CB cuts such as "Alive Alone" and "Where Do I Begin?"—do the song justice, with a broken-beat rhythm standing in for the relentless bongos and Beth stretching her mellow, folky inflections to their tremulous limit. This new version is about half as long as Buckley's, but twice as funky and 33 percent more psychedelic.
The story goes, the Chemical Brothers and Orton recorded "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain" almost 20 years ago, but the track's been collecting dust until recently. I for one am glad it's finally surfaced... and I also wish Tim and Jeff were around to hear what they did with it.