Thin Lizzy – “Cowboy Song” (1976)
I don’t even need to listen to this song – it’s hard-wired in my brain, along with the rest of Jailbreak, one of my all-time favourite hard rock albums. Love it, love it, love it. Seeing “The Cowboy Song” in your list of suggestions has prompted me to listen to Jailbreak again for the umpteenth time. Liz-zy! Liz-zy! Liz-zy! Liz-zy!
Tammi Terrell – “I Can’t Believe You Love Me” (1966)
That’s some nice Motown you suggested there, Frank. And that Motown bass is fabulous. (It always is.) However, as soon as Tammi started singing, I was reminded (a lot) of “Goin’ Out Of My Head“. And the staccato instrumental backing (starting at 0:33) reminded me of “My Girl“. (Incidentally, I’m now listening to “My Girl” again and have come to the conclusion that it’s as close to a perfect pop song as anyone could write.) But despite any possible similarities to other songs, I think “I Can’t Believe You Love Me” is a very nice song in its own right.
Earth, Wind & Fire – “Can’t Let Go” (1979)
Funky! I’ve heard very little Earth, Wind & Fire, and this track sounded pretty much like the other tracks I’ve heard (I guess Earth, Wind & Fire have an identifiable sound). I liked it. I really liked the horn arrangement and how it was spread out in the stereo picture, but I really didn’t like how quiet the horns were in the mix. I hope there’s a remastered version somewhere where those horns are much, much louder and bursting out of the mix. (And if there is a remastered version somewhere, I hope they lowered the volume of the shaker in the left channel. (During one of my listens to the song, I was focusing on that shaker for a couple of minutes didn’t notice anything else in the song. It became very annoying. But then the next time I listened to it, I was concentrating on those horns again – and enjoying them enormously.)
For something that seemed intent on being deliberately “alternative”, I found it only mildly interesting. To me, this track sounds like the work of an artist who is resolute in his attempt to be “unique” (like plenty of other artists who try to be “unique”) by offering unorthodox or unexpected auditory elements in the soundscape (for example, the weird clash of musical elements in the introduction). Instead of revelling in its uniqueness, “Novocaine For The Soul” got me thinking about another deliberately (and irritatingly) “unique” artist: Beck, a chap whose music I just don’t get at all. (Why does Beck have such a following?) With “Novocaine For The Soul”, however, I dived into the track to see if there was an actual song in there, or if it was just a collection of sounds (“Look, ma! I’m being arty!”). Unfortunately, I didn’t find much. I liked the chord progression in the middle section (1:23-1:46), but I think that’s been used more effectively in other songs. And I wasn’t especially keen on the swearing at 1:38. How about singing “…it’s messing with my head” instead? Or even “…it’s obfuscating my head”? This is a message to all artistes who insist on swearing in songs: How about expanding your vocabulary? Overall, I thought it was a decent enough song – with an awful lot of “arty” trimmings that didn’t make it a better song. Despite my blahs about “Novocaine For The Soul”, it did do one positive thing for me: it reminded me of Len’s “Steal My Sunshine“, a song I liked in 1999.
That’s more like it. You can keep your drum samples, world-weary vocals, and chic posturing (see above) – give me some easy-listenin’ and I’m a happy camper. Great artist, great tune, great arrangement. What more could you want?
Like every other week, it was an adventurous selection of tracks. I knew only two of them (“The Cowboy Song” and “Casino Royale”), and had never heard the others but I was glad to make their acquaintance (even “Novocaine For The Soul”).
Keep ’em comin, Frank.