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Sunday, December 6, 2009


Alejandro posts another favorite blog of mine...La Colmena de Humo. As Alejandro's native language is Spanish, I am thankful for google translator, to be able to read about the great records he posts. Here's his entry; in the EARLY days of this blog, I posted the other side (Break Away) which is a mod/ northern soul favorite that gets plenty of spins. Admittedly, I too had forgotten how beautiful the other side of the record is and I am very thankful that Alejandro brought it back to my attention. Here's what he has to say about it:


I originally arrived to this song by chance, looking for the B side. When I finally got it and flipped it I had no idea what was waiting for me there. It is no exageration to say that to me this is one of the most beautiful Soul recordings of all time.

The arrangement by H.B. Barnum is simple and restrained starting with the drums, bass, organ and adding layers as the songs develops (very cool drumming, by the way). Everything is set up just to frame the voice. And what a voice that is. Irma’s delivery conveys real emotions and heartbreak without relying on any theatrics. Although there’s a real feel of loneliness to the song, it is not drowned in melodrama.

Irma Thomas recorded many other great songs for Imperial (including the B side of this single, the mighty “Break A Way”), but in my opinion it is this song that reigns supreme. Just listen to that moment towards the end where she sings at unison “The Good, The Bad, The Hurt”; that little piece alone could have been enough for other songs, but here it is just another subtle touch (it doesn’t even get repeated!).

The lyrics have autobiographic undertones and was written by Irma herself at age 23 who once said about it “I was just looking back at life. I was a 14-year-old mother, I had three kids when I was 17, and I was on my second marriage. At the time, I was breaking up with my husband, because he was giving me a hard time about being on stage. It was a song from my heart, that's probably why it sold so well; I really wanted someone to care, to stand beside me and care." It was her first single with Imperial and her most succesful one, reaching #17 on the charts. It was recorded in 1964 probably in L.A (while her later singles were recorded in New York) and I have also heard that Darlene Love provided some of the backup vocals for both sides.

I hope you enjoy it and I want to thank Derek for inviting me to present this record that I like so much in one of my absolute favorite sites. I will be posting the B side “Brea-a-way” on my Blog, so please stop by when you have a minute and say Hi.



Funky16Corners said...

One of my all time favorite ballads.

Anonymous said...

Not a song you can go wrong with. W.