Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LIGHT: There's a light, a certain kind of light.......

Yes, you got it, "that always shines on me", fab 60s BeeGee perennial, that struck me as a better response to Andy's excellent Bruce piece below, which had automatically said Richard and Linda to me, before remembering that leads to darkness, and it is light we are celebrating. (Richard and Linda? Thompson? Must I talk you through everything? From "Shut out the light" it is one short step to"Shoot Out the Lights", oui?)

So we are talking about this, from, unbelievably, 1967, the 2nd single from their debut LP. Written by Barry and Robin Gibb, it peaked at 17 in the US and 41 in the UK. And it is undoubtedly a cracking song, but the arrangement? Well, let's say it was 48 years ago...........

So here's a whizz-band hurtle through some other versions that may, or not, have passed you by.

 First off, the Flying Burrito Brothers. Not on either of the first couple of studio LPs produced by the initial Gram Parsons fronted version of this possiblystillgoing (somewhere) band, this appeared on a compilation to commemorate their first break-up and the first few line-ups. I bought this as an incredulous teenager in the early 70s, shocked by the sheer country-ness of it. Lured in by the Byrds, they had seemed the logical next step, but it took me a while to rationalise that against my standard rock fare of the day. It was this song, however, that sealed it, the aching plaintiveness of the vocal stripping the sinew from my unsullied heart, in preparation for the adult world of let down and regret. As well as underlining what a piece of songcraft was the original.

Next, it's Nina Simone, and I confess I was a whole lot older before I could handle her spiky charm. I guess this arrangement hasn't dated that well, but that isn't the point, as she imbues the song with her smoky jaunt, suggesting a devil may care acceptance that doesn't, even for a moment, convince. (I would love to hear this cover covered by Me'Shell Ndegeocello, but it sadly wasn't on her Nina tribute of a few years back, not that I will let such a situation prevent me from promoting it!)

Finally a reggae-lite version by one-time Bronski Beat-er and Communard, Jimmy Somerville. In truth it is a slight interpretation, shown really to display his unusual and exquisite vocal range. And I like the video. And, if I'm not mistaken, it is Sarah-Jane Morris singing alongside him, whose lower register perfectly complements, if somewhat counter-intuitively.

So no room, I am afraid, for the version by Michael Bolton or Micky Bubbles. (In my book there is never any room for Micky Bubbles.........) Hope you enjoyed. And, Me'shell, if you are reading(!), how about a volume 2?

Find 'em all:
Bee Gees
and Jimmy

(Oh, OK and Me'shell)

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