Friday, February 15, 2008

No Sad Songs!

Hey, it's the day after Valentine's Day and what better than this tapper from Oscar Toney, Jr. to "show me how baby love can be."

The version appearing on the show was recorded at American Studios with Chips Moman engineering and Papa Don Schroeder at the producing helm in early 1967. It's the American all-star band with Bobby Emmons (organ), Reggie Young (guitar) and Tommy Cogbill (bass) and Gene Chrisman (drums). Right as Toney's great rendition of Jerry Butler's "For Your Precious Love," the Purifys' "Shake a Tail Feather" and The Box Tops' "The Letter" had put American Studios as the center of the soul recording universe. The band is kicking and, although this song was never released as a single, it works perfectly as the end of the full length LP: Oscar renders the dark depths of Dan Penn's "Dark End of the Street" and "Do Right Man, Do Right Woman" with surprising compassion, punches "Down in Texas" right onto that line between pleading and loving, and hits that deep deep soul with "For Your Precious Love." And here's his conclusion.

On "No Sad Songs," I can't get over the nice (most likely Sweet Inspirations over-dubs courtesy of Papa Don) backing chorus against that upper rasp of Oscar when he sings the chorus. It throws the lyrics perfectly against those pulse horns (thanks Chips!) and the alternating chug and swirl of Reggie Young's guitar. Not coincidentally, the arrangement is much like the Joe Simon version that came out on Sound Stage 7 as both a single and on the LP of the same name (well, it's no coincidence since Chips arranged them both). The Joe Simon recording mutes some of the highs, adds the touch of strings, and eases much more from the chorus to the verses. The difference between the recordings shows Chips' ear for the singer: While Oscar's version pushes that edge towards unabashed rejoice, Joe's (even though the song is a bit out of his great wheelhouse), slides smoothly into that country soul resignation of great things.

There's also one lyrical difference where I prefer Oscar Toney's version:

"Now there's no sad song in my heart / You took away the pain that tore me apart / You put love sunshine where there used to gray / And the Lord will love you Baby for being that way."

Thanks for listening (and reading). Feel free to comment.

Hope y'all's Valentine's were as moving as that song.

The Playlist:

Bobby "Blue" Bland; I'm Not Ashamed; Two Steps from the Blues; Duke (MCA)

Johnnie Taylor; I Need A Lot of Love; D1010 (Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story; ABCKO)
Carl Marshall; I Can't Live Without You; Double Hit 801
Solomon Burke; What Am I Living For; Bell 783
Bettye LaVette; He Made a Woman Out of Me; Silver Fox 16 (Take Another Piece of My Heart; Varese Saraband)
Waylon Jennings; 'Cause You Asked Me Too; Honky Tonk Heroes; Buddha

Homer Banks; 60 Minutes of Your Love; Minit 32008 (Hooked On Love; Stateside)
Jimmy Hughes; I'm A Man of Action; FAME 1011
Arthur Conley; I Can't Stop (No No No); Sweet Soul Music; Atlantic (Collectables)
Mighty Sam McClain; I Need A Lot of Lovin'; Amy 984 (Papa True Love; Sundazed)
Don Varner; The Power of Love; (Finally Got Over; Shout!)

Percy Sledge; Out of Left Field; Take Time To Know Her; Atlantic
Joe Ely; Treat Me Like a Saturday NIght; Joe Ely; MCA
Joe Tex; I'll Never Do You Wrong; Soul Country; Atlantic (Complete Dial Recordings 3; Shout!)
O. V. Wright; I'll Take Care of You; Backbeat 007
Hersey Taylor; Let Me Make You Happy; Future Stars 1001

Touissant McCall; Nothing Takes the Place of You; Ronn 3 (Nothing Takes the Place of You; WestSide)
Don Gibson; I Love You So Much It Hurts; I Love You So Much It Hurts; RCA
Tim Hardin; Reason to Believe; The Verve Recordings
Arthur Alexander; Another Place, Another Time; SoundStage7 2626 (The Monument Years; Ace)

Oscar Toney, Jr.; No Sad Songs; For Your Precious Love; Bell 6006-S (Rev-Ola)
Bobby Womack; What Is This; Minit (Midnight Mover; Capitol)
Irma Thomas; We Got Something Good; Chess 2036 (Down At Muscle Shoals; Chess/P-Vine)
Wilson Pickett; I Found The One; The Sound of . . . ; Atlantic
The Impressions; Talking About My Baby; Keep On Pushing; ABC (Kent)

Department of Additions: Here's the Joe Ely link I mentioned.


Red Kelly said...

Great job, Ryan... I'm lovin' the Carl Marshall!

Consider me a subscriber, man.

rpj said...

Thanks Red. Just tryin' to give back a little. And thanks for the link!