International indie-pop duo Born Fighters – Luke Barham from London and Peter Maffei from California – celebrate the release of bittersweet new single ‘Shadow’ by sharing their favourite duets with us.
Luke: Rockpile – ‘Teacher Teacher‘
Rockpile in many ways is the blueprint for Born Fighters. Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds would both bring songs to the table and alternate on lead vocals from track to track. Teacher Teacher was the first that grabbed me from the album, I love the big driving acoustics and the economy of Dave’s chorusy lead guitar parts. Those two elements were 100% characteristics we wanted to bring to our project along with rocking drums. Proper stonking British powerpop.
Peter: Hall & Oates – ‘She’s Gone’
It’s SO hard to pick a favorite Hall and Oates song, but this tune and the whole Abandoned Luncheonette album was what got me to dig deeper into their catalog. Daryl and John’s intertwined vocals deliver some of my favorite pop lyrics of all time so passionately and effortlessly, the arrangement of this song is what my dreams are made of, pulling on your heartstrings all while taking you higher. Its empowering. Their Midnight Special medley performance is one for the books.
Luke: Dillard & Clark – ‘Don’t Let Me Down’
This duo features Gene Clark or The Byrds and Doug Dillard of The Dillards. I love this take on The Beatles classic. I mean obviously an incredible song but where they take it in to country rock territory really elevates it for me personally. The pedal steel adds a real sadness and it has more of a weary beaten down quality to it. As with all good duos you have those rich harmonies on the chorus too, something we are yet to add but will in time.
Peter: The Kinks – ‘Powerman’
Not your typical trading verses type of duet, but rather a song that wouldn’t be the same without the two voices singing their respective parts. Ray’s verses are some of his absolute angriest, you can tell he’s had enough of the man taking his massive share of his royalties. Dave’s harmony comes in at the end of each verse for the tagline, really sweetening it up, but its his explosive lead vocal on the bridge seals the deal! His voice is triumphant, taking the song higher and higher with each line. Been a massive Kinks fan for years, and this has always been one of my favorite tracks by them.
Luke: Phil Collins & Philip Bailey – ‘Easy Lover’
When I think of duets specifically I think first and foremost of Gram and Emmy’s ‘Love Hurts’ and then this. I’m a huge Phil Collins and Genesis fan and loved Easy Lover from a young age. The drum sound on this alone is worth your time. It’s super dramatic from the opening few bars and becomes more and more joyous by the second. Vocally the performances are amazing from Phil and Philip Bailey of Earth Wind and Fire fame. It’s almost like a co-op tag team computer game as they exchange vocals from verse to verse, just an exhilarating listen on every spin for me. You can feel a real energy of the two playing off each other. The guitar solo though very much of it’s time totally rips too.
Peter: The Flying Burrito Brothers – ‘Wheels’
Burrito Brothers came into my life almost as soon as I moved to LA, making their music a bit of a soundtrack to my time here. Wheels has that classic country sway with the Everly-esque harmonies that I love so much, but what stands out to me in this track is the wild, fuzzed out pedal steel. Sometimes it sounds like a bass, sometimes a guitar, maybe a cello? It’s out of this world. Looking for any excuse to get some pedal steel on a BF tune in the future.
Here’s Born Fighters new single:
Born Fighters – ‘Shadow’