Just the smell of you has got me going back to school...
Ruby Amanfu-Sugah The ultra catchy original that 'hit' the charts at no.32. Excellent string production that hasnt been matched in other versions!
Kelly Clarkson/Justin Guarini-Sugah Rare cover that changes its classic lyrics!!!! And a rap! Oh no.
Sanne-Sugah The first really good cover by the danish diva Sanne Salomonsen.
Ayla Brown-Sugah Latest version released just a few days ago. Better than original? Possibly!
Ruby Amanfu-Know You Better Excellent pop song. Makes me wanna shake my ass!
Ayla Brown-Know You Better Ayla makes it sound like a Kelly Clarkson track. Not sure about this version. You?
Ruby Amanfu-For Life An excellent mix between sweet soul in the verses and a rocking chorus. If anyone knows Lauren from The Catherine Tate Show might giggle at the very chav-esq delivery of the refrain 'alright'.
Sanne-For Life Sanne nutures the rock essence of the original and takes it to another level. Nice!
Ruby Amanfu-Work It Out A nice rock ballad that wouldnt go amiss on a Sugababes record.
Sanne-Work It Out Ok so you might just hear Madonna's Don't Tell Me on this track.
Ruby Amanfu-Morning If you ever liked the solo efforts of S.Donaghy you might like this
Sanne-Morning I prefer this version. Don't know why. Me thinks Sanne's husky vocals just brings something special to the feel of the song.
Ruby Amanfu-I Will Pray Excellent 'make-up' pop song.
I loved the Ruby Amanfu album, Smoke & Honey, the moment I bought it in a charidee shop as a little birthday present to myself when I was a lil' 20 year old. It was so catchy I'd sing back the songs while in the shower or getting dressed for something boring like university. In fact I remember getting so overtaken(distracted) by her musical prose that one particular morning I ended up singing the whole album in just me socks and utterly forgetting the 9 o'clock jurisprudence seminar on German legal philosophers(Yak!).
The album sadly flopped without a trace leaving only one single, Sugah, and a busload of forgotten good material. Such is the brilliance of the album it has since been devoured by a Danish superstar, Kelly Clarkson(with Justin) and a American Idol sweetheart. Although this post primarily about the song Sugah, which has been covered by 3 other acts despite being a non-hit single for Ruby back in 2002, I really wanna pay tribute to Smoke & Honey. This is why other songs are up for grabs too. Smoke & Honey contains tons of songs that have been covered by other acts...and its time someone recognised its brilliance!
So Ruby's only single Sugah might have flopped as a single but has probably made more $$ for Ruby now than it did on its release making it a PopEatsPop classic. I was first drawn to Ruby when I saw the video for Sugah and I expected her to be the next big thing. It remains to be the only pop video that includes the singer eating a steeple. As a song it makes me smile up and wanna dance in the same way those happy classics Celebration, Groove Is In The Heart and Relight My Fire do. I suppose Sugahs strong "smile-happy" vibe is the reason its been covered so many times. Oddly I think a boy(band?) would be better suited to the song than a girl...i don't exactly know why.
Sadly due to record company complications Ruby was, by the time of the singles release, dropped or shelved. The pop video was the only promotion done for the single. Ruby herself was all the way in Texas by the time the single was officially released. As such, it crashed at no.32. Which, if you think about it is pretty good considering it had so much going against it. Upper Street have done worse and that was with a full blown promotional tour and a pretty passionate record company behind them. Maybe this reveals the strength of Sugah as bloody good pop song. Thankfully she's still doing the music thing and you can hear her latest material/album output here.
In 2003, Kelly with her runner-up, Justin(yes, that IS him pictured above) recorded their take of Sugah for the movie From Justin To Kelly. As popeatspop covers go I have to say its pretty dire. The key singers pretty fine but are totally let down by the production and the dreadful rap. Still, its interesting that single that went to no.32 in the UK ended up being recorded by two huge American singers. Then came Sanne's cover of the song. Now I'm informed that Sanne is like a Danish Kylie or Madonna. So there you go. Her take of Sugah is actually pretty good. Also included on her 2005 album were her versions of Morning, For Life and Work It Out(three songs that originally featured on Ruby's Smoke&Honey). Sanne's album also includes tracks put aside for Sarah Whatmore's never released Living Proof album and one or two Rachel Stevens covers. Buy it here
The most recent offering/cover of Sugah was by another starlet from the American Idol family tree: the sweet Ayla Brown. Her album, which available to buy here, also includes yet another Smoke&Honey album track Know You Better which is awful when compared to the original. Still, she doesnt destroy Sugah like her fellow American Idol siblings did three years ago. In fact her version is rather cute. Sadly the same can't be said for her other tracks on the album. The album, called Foward, is pretty much a ground zero for popeatspop(which is why I bought it on Itunes earlier today). Not only has Ayla grabbed some Ruby tracks but she's also doing Heburns I Quit and the Tina Arena ballad If I was River! The shame!
I expect that there are more Smoke & Honey cover versions out there and/or there will certainly be some in the future. Its a great album and will have you singing along to its melodies when you really should be getting dressed for work or lectures. Buy it here and you'll never look back. Up for grabs today are all versions of Sugah. Both versions of Know You Better by Ruby and Ayla. Ruby's/Sanne's versions of Work It Out, Morning and For Life. The latter of which I highly recommend cos its an excellent tune....and if you needed any more incentive to purchase Smoke & Honey I've also included stunning I Will Pray.
NB: Seeing as the up n coming Ayla and her tracks are from an album that has just been released and through an indiependent label I've decided to slightly lessen the quality of the mp3s. They are posted here to PROMOTE the LP and ultimately get people to buy it. If you like what you hear and want the splendid musica in full-blown kbps(whatever that is) you know what to do...