Welcome to Under the Covers, your weekly dose of genre-bending with your favorite WBRU artists & songs! From the genuinely good to the seriously strange, we’ve got you covered. This week, Gábor Szábo and The California Dreamers team up to put a spin on the Eric Burdon & the Animals classic: “San Franciscan Nights.”
“San Franciscan Nights” was written as a protest song against the Vietnam War and was one of the Animals’ first hits. While the original features a raw quality provided by Burdon’s gruff voice, The California Dreamers’ version is polished and glistening. As a group of seven vocalists who mainly played a supporting role to other artists during the late 60’s, The California Dreamers really steal the show here. Their vocals float over the listener’s ears, paying homage to the Californian subject matter through harmonies that evoke the Beach Boys. Gábor Szábo brings his own character to the song as well with his calm take on the originally agitated intro monologue. As a Hungarian-American folk singer born in Budapest, Szábo throws in a couple endearing references to his city of birth and a line in Hungarian that makes the song unique tune and a must listen.