Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ramblings on Dylan, Otis, Havens, Nina, Lennon, & Songwriting

Ten days ago, star JamandaHalf correspondent, Jeff Cairney sent Leks and I one of the most firey JamandaHalf posts ever.  The post was so potent that before we could make it public we needed to listen to Richie Havens nonstop for a week and a half.  Jeff has been blessing us with some of the most radical posts over the years and is one of the most soulful, intelligent, and good vibed dudes out there.  In his latest installment, Jeff gives us a little history lesson mixed with a splash of theory to sip on.  Many Thanks and Much Love. 

Richie Havens passed away a few weeks ago. I’ve thus been spending considering time recently with his repertoire and taking him in as he fades away. And I came across something...

Back in 1966, Bob Dylan wrote a “Just Like A Woman” for Otis Redding. It’s Dylan’s soul song (or one of them) and would have been incredible and at home if sung by the soulful Redding. Unfortunately, Otis passed away before he had the chance to record it (or before Dylan had a chance to convince Redding that he should record it). I've always thought of this as a missed opportunity…

So though we’ll never have Redding’s version of Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman”, perhaps what we do have is the next best thing. Richie Havens, in my opinion one of the most underrated and under-the-radar soul singers, did record “Just Like A Woman”. So in the end, this world is blessed with Dylan’s soul expressed by a great soul singer:

And it doesn’t stop there. Nina Simone, inspired by the style and lyrics of this Dylan song, decided to do her own soulful rendition (obviously not caring that the song was written for a man):

Then this got me thinking about Nina. And as Otis inspired Dylan who inspired Nina, Nina was also and continues to be an incredible inspiration for so many different people. Take even the Beatles, for example. Paul McCartney got stuck when writing the song “Michelle” and didn't know how to start the second verse. John Lennon, inspired by Nina Simone’s version of “I Put A Spell On You” that he had heard the night before, told Paul to use the phrase Nina skats out to amazingly weave the saxophone solo back into the song lyrics. This is the “I love you, I love you, I love you” that so simply sums up the meaning of “Michelle”.

Indeed, these are words that go together well.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...