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Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 11:53am

Songs On Site: Triathalon Covers Little Richard

Songs on Site | Macon is a video series we launched back in May. In it, we bring artists to Macon to perform a cover that has a connection to the city. We set the musicians up at a place historically relevant to the song or artist they are covering.

In this installment, the quartet Triathalon does a rendition of "Without Love", a tune tied to Little Richard.

Little Richard's version of "Without Love" is a track from deep, deep in his catalog.

By the time Little Richard took a stab at the tune penned by Danny Small, it was already close to ten years old. Clyde McPhatter first recorded it in 1957. Elvis Presley and Ray Charles followed sometime after and the song was most successful for Welsh crooner Tom Jones. The song is a slow, soulful lament with a soaring chorus that begs for a set of Jonesian pipes. It's a showcase for a singular voice.

Little Richard recorded his version in 1965, after his hiatus from secular music that followed his legendary 1950s recordings. The single, with the b side "Dance What You Wanna", did not chart.

Savannah based four piece Triathalon was picked to cover Little Richard for the GPB Macon Songs on Site project. The garage/surf/r&b group tore through the Little Richard catalog and somehow landed on "Without Love".

One listen to the group's newly released full length album helps it make sense. When the band isn't moving along at a steady garage rock pace, they let guitars ooze and sway. Think slow dancing with an effects pedal. They have an undeniable R&B romantic streak.

Unlike the versions of "Without Love" that preceded it, the Triathalon version de-emphasizes the human voice. In fact, the band asked to push the vocals even lower than originally mixed after hearing the first rough version. The emphasis on overall blend makes their version more mood than statement, a velvet vibe rather than a soulful cry.

Triathalon is about to leave for a mostly Southeastern tour. You can catch them at the Mammal Gallery in Atlanta on November 21.