Earlier this year, there was an ad for John Lewis with a cover of Billy Joel's “She's Always A Woman”. The internet came through and told me that the cover was by a lad named Fyfe Dangerfield, from his album Fly Yellow Moon which came out at the start of this year.
It's an interesting kind of cover. In arrangement it stays very close to Billy Joel's recording of the song, yet it manages to still be quite different in feel. There's a little more space in the production, with a slightly more live feel to it. The rawer piano tone and the singer-songwriter vocal style combine to give the song a much more contemporary feel than Joel's original.
I've listened to the two versions back to back several times now, and I'm having trouble getting my head 'round how they can be so similar and so different, all at once. If I had to pick one, I'd say that Dangerfield's cut is the one I prefer — and I'm something if a closet Billy Joel fan. (Don't worry. I didn't have any credibility left to lose.)
This song interested me enough to buy Fly Yellow Moon. The album's a grower. Lots of gentle pianos, mixed with some more Brit-poppy moments, and a vocal that reminds me a little of Damien Rice, only much better. The opening track, “When You Walk In The Room”, is a blinder, with “High On The Tide” and “Livewire” other standouts. Definitely worth picking up.