I’m not sure what made me decide to buy Toots in Memphis when it came out in the late ’80s. I liked reggae, but I wasn’t a fanatic about it. So the concept of combining the legendary Dunbar-Shakespeare rhythm section with Stax/Memphis session players sounded interesting, but maybe not compelling.
Then I took the album home, put the record on the turntable, dropped the needle and heard this:
Damned tasty, no? If your appetite is whetted, here’s a bonus cut.
I’m not through with my R&B kick just yet and today’s offering is special. “I Can’t Stand The Rain” was Ann Peebles’ biggest hit for Stax (okay, technically Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records), but I’m not playing the original single today. Instead, you get a remarkable stripped down version that oozes pain and loss in every note.
My Gawd, that’s just something else.
Bobby Womack’s passing led me to an R&B binge this weekend and I would be remiss if I didn’t share one of the all-time greatest songs, O.V. Wright’s “A Nickel And A Nail”.
Unbelievable vocals and Willie Mitchell’s production, with the Hi Records Rhythm Section and the Memphis Horns thrown in – what more do you need?
Bobby Womack, dead at 70. “Across 110th Street” is one of my all-time R&B faves.
I hope you guys got “Hotel California” out of your system, but in case you didn’t, here’s Marah’s “Round-Eye Blues”, from their wonderful Kids in Philly album, to help.
That is such a brilliant mash-up of alt-country/roots rock (Steve Earle helped with the album), Springsteen sentiment and R&B references. Not to mention the Phil Specter tribute that wraps the song – that forty-second lead in is sublime. Topped with great lyrics about Vietnam, like this:
But late at night I could still hear the cries
Of three black guys I seen, take it in the face
I think about them, sweet Motown girls, they left behind
And the assholes that took their place
Just a fabulous song. And a real palate cleanser…
In honor of the news that preseason camp opens July 31, here’s the Fab Four with “It Won’t Be Long”:
Sam Phillips’ “I Need Love”, from her album Martinis and Bikinis, popped up on my iPod this weekend and I cannot get the chorus out of my head. Maybe it’ll earworm its way into yours. Here’s a great live version she performed with her then-husband, T Bone Burnett:
And, yes, she is one and the same as this:
Kind of ironic they cast her as a mute in the movie.