Sounds For Sunday

by Simon

I’m doing some joining of the dots this week. Years ago I had a tape of songs I’d recorded from the radio. I’d been listening to some chart show playing hits from a particular year. This year had been 1965. So there was some Rolling Stones, some Who, some Small Faces. And Manfred Mann doing ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ the Goffin/King classic. I was about 13 at this point and still in the dark about music from before 1980. But I was learning. I loved that song. The Manfred Mann version is a pretty good poppy blue eyed soul performance.

But then a few years later I heard the original on Pete Young’s soul show on Capital Radio. Maxine Brown. A fantastic vocalist, with plenty of classics currently sitting under the term ‘Northern Soul’. But this one is my favourite. It’s got an innocence to it, an almost 50s sort of lyric. But, drawing the dots…I hadn’t heard anything yet. A few years later Aretha Franklin performed it. I didn’t hear that version until about ten years ago…..Wow. A big summery funky groove, with great brass. And typically Aretha performs the ass out of the song. It’s back in my life and currently firmly fixed into every playlist I’m making right now. I can’t get enough of it.

And while listening to Aretha this week, her version of Nina Simone’s Young Gifted And Black came up. So I followed the song to Bob And Marcia’s classic pop reggae version. You almost can’t tell that they’re the same song. Aretha’s version is a slow builder, all gospel moves that takes it’s time over the melody until it hits the groove it fades out on. Bob And Marcia’s version is tighter on the melody and seems to take it’s cues from Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s Onion Song. It’s a much better song than that one though. (I hate The Onion Song. It’s one of those songs that just…irritates….)

The final joining of the dots took me from that to Bob Andy on his own and his song You Don’t Know. What a fantastic tune. A fantastic lyric, almost Dylanesque, especially in it’s rhythm and wordplay. In fact the whole tune sounds like an imaginary collaboration between Dylan and Smokey Robinson on holiday in Jamaica. It’s simply gorgeous, and along with Aretha’s ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ taking up my time on the iTunes.

Listen and enjoy.

Maxine Brown – Oh No Not My Baby
Aretha Franklin – Oh No Not My Baby
Aretha Franklin – Young Gifted And Black
Bob And Marcia – Young Gifted And Black
Bob Andy – You Don’t Know