Got The Fever

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good Bye Dear Friends

Apparently, this is the last blog for me here. Thank you for ... well, validating that you enjoy the music. The Pleasure Has ALWAYS been MINE.

Thank you all.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
From: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hert's Club Band [1967]

Listen closely on the count on 3 for when Lennon smarmily says 'Hi'.

Thaks to all. I mean it. Thanks for keepng me going.

More than you know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Got The Fever is One Year Old: Gladys and Chi-Lites

I am astounded to realize that I have been blogging here at Got The Fever for just over one year.

I was enticed and encouraged by a few people, who have since become online friends, to start my own blog after writing a guest blog for
Soul Shower. I was very happy to write and research about the two tracks I chose, and after the response I received decided to try it out myself.

There were a few considerations to grapple with though: I felt that my eclectic and all over the map taste would not translate well and might not be what anyone else would want to download. I also thought that if I got 100 hits a month I would be very lucky and I might be encouraged to continue.

Well, here I am sitting on over fourteen thousand (!) hits in the first year! Judging from the comments I receive, I’ll be damned if there is always someone that already knows, or truly enjoys the music I’ve turned them on to.

I give thanks for all the support that the original online friends gave me (look to the sidebar), and to the many more who have since encouraged me.

I want to post the original blog I wrote for Soul Shower to commemorate the first full music blog piece I wrote. Especially since it’s never appeared here at Got The Fever. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Occasionally, we forget to see where we’ve come from.

Sometimes, in our effort to dig ever deeper into dusty bins hoping to find a gem, we forget that some of our most precious musical cuts are right on a shelve at home, and have been sleeping there for a long, long time. They just patiently wait for the circle to come around to them once more and become reanimated.

The posts today are from 1971 and concern themselves with a mournful longing for the only person who could ever make us feel whole. An intense, electric and joyless hunger for the one unique soul mate who jars and tears at the very fabric of our soul. A futile hope that they could only love and need us even a fraction of what we feel for them. A craving so extreme that you notice yourself, quite suddenly, finding religion and taking the time to pray to God. A love that so engulfs your daily routine, that no matter the task - work, play or idle time - all you can focus on is them.

If I Were Your Woman
The first, “If I Were Your Woman” is from Gladys Knight & The Pips. It’s an all out shameless plea to the man of her heart, begging him to see that she loves him more, even without him, than his present girl loves him. She laments about how poorly he is treated by his present woman and how Gladys places him on a holy pedestal.

Just like we have all done, she shamelessly throws herself at him, hoping that he see her in the same light that we all want to be seen:

“She tears you down darling
Says your nothing at all
But I’ll pick you up darling
When she let’s you fall”

It’s not just the lyrical content with which Gladys relays the message; it’s the earnestness, desire and expert vocalization of longing, which causes us to well up. You can picture this woman sobbing, on her knees, clawing at his pant cuffs:

“You’re like a diamond
But she treats you like glass
Yet you beg her to love you
But me you don’t ask”

She further grieves over what will never be. She describes, from her bottomless soul, how different he would feel with her, all the while knowing how useless all the effort would be:

“You’re a part of me
And you don’t even know it
I’m what you need
But I’m too afraid to show it”

Honestly, who could resist, after hearing the response to “If I Were Your Women”, Gladys singing to the heavens “I’d never, never, never stop loving you”?

Musically, how could it have been presented any differently? From the opening hand-clenching bass riff, to the string arrangement second to none; from the crashing clavicle riff preceding each verse along with the accompanying drum rim shot, to the bongos at 1:15. I dare you to produce an alternative to the crisp, precise and soulful backup vocals of the Pips.

Have You Seen Her
Moving on to our second tale of lost love, let’s consider a man’s perspective with the Chi-Lites, and “Have You Seen Her”.

I’ve heard the opening combo of ultra-fuzz guitar and cascading falsetto vocals described as “the soundtrack that is played when the gates of heaven open wide in acceptance of another soul”. Eugene Record (who sadly passed away after a long bout with cancer on 7/22/05) and Co. are right on spot with setting the emotional picture of a lost love.

He has unexpectedly and suddenly found himself alone and without direction. As if trying to piece together just how the hell he got from having the woman of his dreams beside him, to now aimlessly wandering the streets alone without her, he sadly mourns:

“One month ago today, I was happy as a lark
But now, I go for walks, to the movies, maybe to the park
I have a seat on the same old bench, to watch the children play”

Again, just like we’ve all done, he is in denial that she has left him for good this time, and he tries to remain upbeat and hopeful:

“I keep saying She’ll be back’”

However, every now and then, the frigid, stark realization and clarity of truth unfolds and he moans from the very core of his soul:

“I been used to having someone to lean on – and I’m lost, baby I’m lost”.

But of course, it’s too late. Much too late. And now, the tar-black feeling of guilt and isolation sets itself like a gel in his veins and he cries out in desperation to the world:

“Have you seen her? Tell me, have you seen her?”

He waits bleakly for a signal, a sign – something he can grasp onto, that serves notice that she is coming back. Stubbornly, defiantly, it is not going to happen.

So, life, sadly goes on and he is forced to confront an existence without her despite the world still turning:

“With all the people I know, I’m still a lonely man”.

And we can picture him in the midst of his friends, maybe at a bar, maybe at a party or even at a family get together – surrounded by people, laughter and music all around, but all is drowned out and he is still shocked, and quite alone with his thoughts:

“Have you seen her? Tell me, have you seen her?”

Well, dig on these two aforementioned gems that have been hibernating in your collection from 1971, and rejoice that you can revive the joy and the deep well of emotion that they rekindle.

And if by chance you are discovering them for the first time … bath deep in this baptism and then go forward and preach the gospel of Gladys Knight and the Chi-Lites.

Glady Knight And The Pips: If I Were Your Woman
The Chi-Lites: Have You Seen Her

Addendum: A huge thank you to Ted W. who notified me that a request of mine for 'The Rings' was available on PVAc to 44.1 kHz. The list of what I'm searching for is located on the right. You ever see any of these, please give me a shout. Thanks again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vinyl Record Day August 12th

One of the huge reasons I loved albums is because of the cover art. There is something to be said for holding a sizeable chunk of cardboard (or other material) in your hands while listening to the music held within. In many cases the cover art was as astounding as the record itself – the most famous example being Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The cover not only came in cardboard, but I have a few collector albums (such as a PIL album) that came housed in a round film canister. I also remember box sets, which coincidentally, came out in a box.

To be able to buy your album, and then while listening to it be able to read extensive liner notes was indeed a treat. Not only cover liner notes, but many would come as a fold out, or have inserts packaged along with them. I twas comforting to spend hours getting lost simply reading about the record you bought and in the process begin foraging through the tons of vinyl to read others.

There are also other varieties of the way albums used to come out in. I’ve collected probably over 150+ albums that are called picture disks – albums that are playable that have laser imprinted cover art emblazoned on the vinyl itself. I have everything from Lennon’s “Two Virgins” to Boston, to Frank Sinatra on picture disk. I also have many, many singles - playable on a 45RPM format - that are irregularly shaped. Such as a Tina Turner single (Better Be Good To Me) which fills the entire platter on the turntable, but is cut out along her body to emphasis her long legs. I also have a “Fish Head” single by Barnes and Barnes (who is Billy Mummy from the old Lost in Space TV series) that is cut out as a fish head.

I remember when CD’s first came out and the anemic packaging they came with. At first they all came in elongated cardboard packages. A lot used to try to emulate albums by packing them with huge foldout notes. Of course, most of these would immediately become torn of frayed after the first few attempts of dislodging them from the CD cover itself.

Once again, to the covers; one just cannot get the same experience of gazing at the cover on a CD as you can holding an album.

These covers that I'm displaying are a smattering of my personal best of list showing the more memorable covers. This is by no mean comprehensive, and exclusive to my whim. I'm only sorry you can't see the liner notes!

August 12th is vinyl day – make it a treat for you and take an album to a turntable and marvel at the art and liner notes.

For a comprehensive list of who else is participating with a post on Vinyl Appreciation Day, get on over to the Good DJ at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’