For Fun: The Hidden Gems on YouTube

For Fun: The Hidden Gems on YouTube

Sometimes you can stumble on songs that surpass the original performances.

One of the delights of YouTube is coming across music videos where musical artists bring alive a song in a way that surpasses the composer's performance of the song. Twice in the past month I've come across such videos.

Sam Draisey's rendition of Bruce Springsteen's 1970's classic, "Thunder Road," is one such performance. His resonant singing digs deep into the soul of this song and his guitar playing is both facile and flawless.

Sam explains how he came to perform this song at a friend's wedding. "Dave is the lead singer in the function band I play in, 'The Replicas' and a close friend. The band had tried to learn the song as a surprise for his wife at her wedding, but we hadn't really pulled it off, so I decided to learn it as a surprise for both of them. I sang their first dance ("Make You Feel my Love,"- Bob Dylan) accompanied by the keyboardist from the band, then went and fetched my guitar and played that straight after. It's been a part of my live covers set ever since!"

Jock DeFirm's rendition of Bob Dylan's song "Dignity" holds nothing back. With exceedingly crisp guitar playing and vocals turned up to full, Jock takes this song beyond Dylan's more reserved deliveries. Yet with exquisite restraint, Jock doesn't go overboard with vocals or guitar accompaniment. He comes so close to perfection that you end up shaking your head at the end, asking yourself, "Could anyone possibly do this song better?"

Jock and Sam: You've earned standing ovations from this side for your musical performances. These words will have to take the place of thunderous applause. Thank you for sharing your musical gifts and for doing so at such a high level of excellence.

-- Phil Shapiro

The blogger, a member of the Internet Press Guild, is an educator at a public library in the Washington, D.C., area and teaches an occasional graduate educational technology class at American University, in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at and on Twitter at

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