Got The Fever

Friday, February 23, 2007

O.V. Wright

This isn’t music that you want to whip up superlatives about. Nor is it for the most part the music that you’re going to drop down on that Saturday night at your best friends house when the party is in overdrive.

This is the music that you listen to when you are alone. When the highs of the day have already passed you by and now you are somewhat vulnerable. Relaxing with something other than watered down beer. This is when the meaning in the lyrics are so compelling, that you readily identify with them and find your mood is brought in line with the music – and not the other way around as we’re all so used to.

This is what is rightly called “Soul”. Soul with considerable feeling backing it up. Original Soul from the time that when given the label “Soul” meant that it was proud and unquestionably justifiable.

O.V. Wright is another one of those heroes who was taken from us way too soon at age 41 (I believe in 1980). For my two cents, there are only a few who could claim to be his peer in vocal styling and delivery – Otis Redding right away comes to mind. Drugs played a major role in his demise, both physically and commercially. Thankfully, we have his legacy of recordings to remember him by. Associated with Hi Records in the 70’s along with Al Green, we have him to thank for being able to expertly and sincerely mine our emotions and put to words and music what we can only hope to articulate when we feel the fleeting inspiration.

A Nickel And A Nail
Incessant horns and a sponsoring guitar that if nothing else, are the accomplices that cause us to silently and gently nod and close our eyes – allowing a path to be scored directly into our very being. This is the music for being alone and preached to. O.V.’s voice sounds so wounded, so devastated … sincerity brought to fruition. Yes, this is his confessional and pulpit at the same time. He preaches to us almost to the point of where we can cry. Hell, you and I will be crying, given the right moment, mood and personal circumstances.

I want to give due where it’s supposed to be, and it belongs to the good folk at Moistworks for first introducing me to brother O.V. back on 01/24/06 with this very song. Lord have mercy!

I once had love and plenty of money (Oh, yes I did)
Someway, somehow Lord knows I failed (Yes I did)
Now all I have in my pocket (Lord have mercy!)
All I give a count of, is a nickel and a nail

My friends - no, they just don’t know (Lord have mercy)
They still down in their hearts,
They think I’m doing swell (They don’t know)
Call every night dear and I smile and I jingle (Yes I do)
All you hear me jingling, is a nickel and a nail
(That’s all it is)

Now a nickel and a nail
Might save my pride you see
But the need for your sweet love oh baby
Is hammering inside of me

You said a long time ago you think the thrill is gone
(I couldn’t believe it)
You said O.V. I think you better hit that old lonesome trail
(I got to leave)
Oh baby I’m wondering how do you expect for me to make it
(I don’t believe I will)
I can’t make it far with a nickel and a nail
(That’s all I have)

Why Not Give Me A Chance
Unrequited love. Earnest and mournful phrasing that gushes from a breach in the heart. Wishful thinking. Begging for a chance. Tender gesticulations emphasizing the need and white-hot desire expressed in the lyrics.

Are you lonesome and all alone?
You say you got nobody to call your own
Then why not?
Ooo why not
Give me a chance?

If you’re looking
If you are looking for a friend
Who’ll go with you to the end
Oh why not?
Oh why not give me a chance?

I’m begging you baby – I need just one chance.

O.V. Wright: A Nickel And A Nail (30)
O.V. Wright: Why Not Give Me A Chance (39)
From: Soul Classics [197?]

Addendum Feb 25th 2007, 7:00PM EST:
As I think this out, I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't mention other influential individuals who also have turned me on to O.V. Wright. Specifically, as I looked through my archives of O.V. that I've downloaded, I realized that my first tracks were from the always entertaining Tuwa's Shanty and The Roots Canal when I downloaded "Without You" and "Motherless Child" on 11/19/05. Then I downloaded from the fantastic and influential Soul-Sides the tracks "8 Men And 4 Women" and "We're Still Together" on 04/11/06. Finally, Red at The "B" Side, (who I have listed to the right of this site - be sure to visit often) graced me with "Missing You" and "This Hurt Is Real" on 04/13/06.

Red was an early supporter of mine when I was first thinking of starting this site, so I owe the good man for his encouragement, and constant example of of what a good blog should consist of.

BTW - check out the new site I have listed on the right that I just found G.O'D. writes. New, so I can't tell how good it will turn out, but a damn good start for a writer!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Random Punk/Hard Drive

Trying to decide on a particular, specific artist today left me hedging and undecided. So, I did the opposite and picked three from the literally thousands of single tracks on my disk. Somehow, they all seem to fit together.

Birth, School, Work, Death
When it all gets you down, doesn’t it seem that the Godfather’s title here sums it all up in a bleak sort of way? This was great slacker music in the mid 80’s when it came out, filled with angst, ennui and curl your lips into a sneer while wearing only black at the local hop attitude days.

Yeah I been high and I been low
And I don't know where to go
I'm living on the never never never
This time it's gonna be forever

I'll live and die don't ask me why
I wanna go to paradise
And I don't need your sympathy
There's nothing in this world for me

I Wanna Be Your Dog
Iggy at his finest. This is why they call him the Godfather of Punk. I actually was trying to muster up the gumption to feature his album “Blah, Blah, Blah” (which is my favorite by him – sure, it goes against all that is Iggy sacred, but I live with it), but see the above commentary.

Iggy here is raw, decisive, primal, alpha-male gritty, derogatory and one can almost see him onstage mocking himself and the audience with shattered glass bottles slashing his chest and the blood oozing down to his waist and the stage floor.

So messed up I want you here
In my room I want you here
Now were gonna be face-to-face
And Ill lay right down in my favorite place

Love Is All Around
Joan Jett is one of my all-time guilty pleasures. What’s not to love about a razor sharp woman who is tits-to-the-wall rock and roll and has sustaining power to boot? Beginning with her days as one of the talented ones in The Runaways, Joan keeps belting out gem after gem of no allegiance rock. She actually did a fantastic version of Iggy’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog” on her album “Up Your Alley”.

Here, she takes the gentle mewing of the Mary Tyler Show theme and jets it into a statement of empowerment for all women, turning it into a brash statement of encouragement and determination.

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

The Godfathers: Birth, School, Work, Death (17)
From :
Birth, School, Work, Death: The Best of the Godfathers [1984]

Iggy Pop:
I Wanna Be Your Dog (17)
A Million in Prizes: The Anthology [2005]

Joan Jett:
Love Is All Around (23)
Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts [1997]

Friday, February 09, 2007

Robin Lane

Back in the late seventies/early eighties, I was way into the Boston music scene. The Atlantics, The Real Kids, Human Sexual Response, Luna, Private Lightning, The Cars, The Nervous Eaters – all were supreme to see in the hey-day. One of the more outstanding, for me, was Robin Lane and The Charbusters. Coming out of a vibrant Cambridge/Harvard Square scene Robin lane – whose father Danny Lane was Dean Martin’s long time piano man – took off with a vengeance.

Asa Brebner, Leroy Radcliffe (who also played with Jonathan Richmond), Scott Baerenwald and Tim Jackson rounded out the band with jangly guitars, spot-on rhythm section, catchy phrasing and thoughtful lyrics. Their live shows were perfect for the release of energy on the weekends and were a rival to any others on the scene at the time.

Evidence: Why Do You Tell Lies?
Ideal bendy/whiny guitar to accompany the wail of Robin’s voice as she sings about why are you telling lies? Echo and gutsy pop drive here in abundance. Something almost sinister about the guitar that folds in and out of the melody and blends absolutely perfectly with the structure of the song. Craftsmanship. Pure genius.

Meet me on the corner at midnight,
And don’t you be late.
I’m gonna love you!

I’m giving you a second chance,
And you better not let me down.
I’m gonna love you!

Evidence: Don’t Cry
Again, with the jangly guitars. And, the snappy drums. Perfect blot of what was known, at the time, as “new wave” delivered with a tough/gentle lead vocal.

It really doesn’t matter what your name,
I can see myself in you.
Maybe together we’ll stop the rain
This could be a dream come true!
Don’t cry baby, cry.
Don’t cry my baby!

Robin Lane: Why Do You Tell Lies? (19)
Robin Lane: Don’t Cry (17)
From: Robin Lane And The Chartbusters [1980]