Got The Fever

Friday, June 01, 2007

Terence Trent D'arby

I distinctly remember playing this CD over and over again. When it was my turn to drive, this was on the stereo. When I took a shower this was on the bathroom CD player. When I was dating what’s-her-name, this was on. On my way to work this was on. In my head during work this … well, you get the point. Take all this in and let me add by saying that I was NOT listening to the radio at the time. So I never heard them play the ‘hit’.

I saw Terence on a Mowtown reunion/tribute or something similar to it back in the late 80’s and Smokey Robinson came out to introduce him. Smokey told the crowd that his own daughter was absolutely crazy about this guy and the voice, and then Terence came out and and covered Smokey’s “Who’s Lovin’ You”. Brought the house, and the lot it was built on, DOWN! The guy has a set of pipes Drano couldn’t interfere with.

His voice is what I feel set him apart from the two others who were dominating R&B at the time – M.Jackson and Prince. He wrote a more mature pop than the “teenybopper snapping your fingers” pop of Jackson, and he had – well, a better voice – and I feel rivaled Prince in not only his his funk and rhythm chops, but his songwriting. This was alternative Soul and R&B, and I did not get enough of it.

Dance Little Sister
A “never say die” driving chorus and rumbling rhythm. This just will not let your musical throat go once it pierces its fangs into you. It is a snarling, punching track that is pure foot delight for the dancing crowd and a brow wrinkling mouthing the words ‘sing with me’ for the gracefully challenged.

“Get up out’a’your chair gran’maw! Or, would you care to dance Grandmother?”, is how he leads us in. The drums, guitar, bass, and sax all collectively wave to us, beckoning us into accepting the invitation. And when we do come in we find ourselves to be in the middle of one of the best grooves ever and smile broadly realizing right there and then that we have stumbled into something we are going to long remember!

Hey you! Give up the ghost
That’s haunting you now.
Shout it out, don’t let it stay inside
And eat you alive.
Make up your mind
Don’t you want to stay this side of the line
I can assure you when you’re my age
You’ll learn from all you’ve left behind.

Dance little sister,
Don’t give up today.
Hang on till tomorrow
I don’t wanna hear you’re late!

If You Let Me Stay
The pleading is just a slight step away, a thin edge from releasing, a restraint just barely audible from a total breakdown disguised as a powerful soulful song. But, we know the truth. It is the voice and rhythm track that misleads us. But, listen closely and be enlightened and rewarded.

This just begs and wills the volume to a higher level and you’ll be hard-pressed to not automatically reach over, turn the round knob to the right and in the good weather watch as people passing your house look up at your windows wide-mouthed amazed and marveling at how your glass panes can vibrate so hard and not shatter! Wish I were there to see the smiles on their faces though.

If you let me stay
(I’ll say what I should have said)
If you let me stay
I should have said that I love you)
If you let me stay
(And I should have said it from my heart)
If you let me stay!

Who’s Lovin’ You
I’m not being pretentious. I accept that I have only heard a thin fraction of everything man has performed. I acknowledge that there are those who have more highly trained ears. I agree that there are those who have far better taste than I, a common musical plebian. And I am wholly receptive to receiving intelligent answers to my question.

My question: “Does it get any better than this”?

You can picture the crowd swell, stand, smile, raise hands to the ceiling and roar their approval when this begins. And you had better count yourself among them because this is Soul at its pinnacle. Written and originally sung, as I mentioned, by Smokey, it already has a major head start on any - yes, I did write ANY other Mowtown/Tamla/Philly artist. Do not challenge that.

This cover is the where in the phrase dictionary ‘belting it out’ has a picture of Terence next to it. Also look under ‘sweet phrasing’, ‘harmony’, ‘interpretation’, ‘heart’ and ‘sincerity’. Terence, Terence, Terence. Terence. Terence.

I was not going to include this track because I mention it in my opening, but I agonized over it and decided that I wanted to not only rekindle the spark with those long ago familiar with it, but I thought it righteous to share it with those who had not the good fortune to have previously heard it. And for them, I am envious.

Life without love is oh so lonely,
I don’t think I’m gonna make it.
All my life, all my life belongs to you only.
Come on and take it girl.
Come on and take I because,

All, all I can do
Since you’ve been gone is cry.
And don’t you ever wonder
And worry your pretty little head
‘Bout what I do.
Don’t you know I sit around
With my head hanging down
And wonder who’s lovin’ you

Sadly, I don’t know why his other offerings in subsequent releases never made it, but quality has never been an indication of sales. Never the mind, you’ll be just as pleased if you have them on your shelve to break out once in a while. Great music for the warm times ahead.

I really wanted to include more tracks here, but I really don’t ‘do’ putting up the whole album. You’re gonna go buy it yourself. Anyway, the other tracks that just scream “listen to me!” include the hit “Wishing Well”. And do not punish yourself by not listening to the inimitable “Sign Your Name”. Lots of life happened at one time while listening to that single track. –Sigh-

Terence Trent D’arby:

Dance Little Sister (28)
If You Let Me Stay (20)
Who’s Lovin’ You (21)
From: Introducing The Hardline [1987]

Addendum: I’ve been holding back info but I’m getting very excited about a few people that I admire who have agreed to guest post. I won’t even tell you the topics or even the genres but I couldn’t be more pleased. You’ll be very happy to say the least. Stay centered and visit when you can.


  • I've got the album on a very clean piece of vinyl, but I have to admit I've not given the careful listen I should. Time to dig into the stack . . .

    By Blogger whiteray, at 7:41 PM  

  • whiteray - now would be the perfect time. Break it out, drop the needle and suspend the present moment while you melt into fine soul. Might I also suggest the track "Sign Your Name"? What's her name used to lip synch that while she danced in my room. A hard core love track with plenty depth of emotion.

    By Blogger wzjn, at 9:12 PM  

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