“Listen – Talk Talk MP3″
It would appear – despite the numbing cold and the pain of working for a living – that we’ve all survived yet another week in the modern world.
It’s late on a Friday night here in NJ, and I’m tired (as I’m sure all of you are as well, aside from those of you lucky enough to be part of that fabled class known as the idle rich, though I’m guessing that the Gatsby’s of the 21st century have better things to do than check in on yon blogspot….or come to think of it, they probably don’t), but not so tired that I can’t muster up enough energy to lay hands on the keyboard and bang out a week-ending post for (strangely enough) the weekend (and we all breathe a sigh of relief as this sentence grinds to a sudden, yet well-deserved end).
It’s been a long, lonely week (the wife and kids are away visiting the in-laws), but I’ve used the extra time to get a bunch more tracks digitized for future use in this space, as well as listening to a bunch of new (at least to me) music, which, aside from the vinyl that I was MP3-if-icating, was entirely non-soul, mostly quiet, deep stuff. The kind of music that gets me through the workday without losing yet another chunk of my weary brain, which this week was the latest disc by Bert Jansch (legendary UK guitarist / singer / songwriter) and a whole bunch (like 7 discs worth) of material by the very personification of zen, the late, and decidedly great Mississippi John Hurt.
There’s something about the sound of Hurt’s guitar that puts everything in perspective and tames the beat within. Some folks go to church, I listen to Mississippi John Hurt sing songs like ‘I’m Satisfied’ and ‘Louis Collins’. His was the very sound of peace (the same feeling I get when I listen to John Coltrane play ‘Naima’).
If you have any affinity for early blues and Piedmont-style guitar, you probably already know about MJH. If you don’t, and wish to attain something akin to a musical version of satori, then Mississippi John is your man.
That said…on to this evening’s selection.
I won’t lay too much in the way of biography on you when it comes to James Carr. His life and music have been discussed here, if not at length, with enough substance to get the interested in you to the nearest search engine. Suffice to say that Carr was one of the great soul singers of the classic era, and he recorded one of the great records of the 1960’s in ‘Dark End of the Street’.
Back in the day (20 or so years ago) when I was gathering my first armloads of soul 45s, one of the very first was ‘Talk Talk’ by James Carr. If all you’ve ever heard is ‘Dark End of the Street’, ‘Talk Talk’ will surprise you, revealing as it does a decidedly upbeat bit of counterpoint to that beautiful bit of sadness.
Recorded in 1965, two years before ‘DEOTS’, ‘Talk Talk’ was written by a mysterious character by the name of Bill Husky. I have searched high and low, through the BMI and ASCAP databases and have been unable to find any information on Mr. Husky (aside from deducing that he does not appear to have written anything else). I suppose that there are two likely scenarios in play here; the first being that Bill Husky was some guy that only ever managed to get one of his tunes cut, and had the unbelievable good luck to have the recorded be none other than James Carr; OR it’s possible that ‘Bill Husky’ was no more than a pseudonym for any number of people. If anyone knows the truth I’d love to hear it.
The bottom line is that while the mysterious songwriter is intriguing, his identity is non-essential information when it comes to digging this song properly.
‘Talk Talk’ is an energetic, hard charging bit of Southern Soul, with a great rasp-inflected vocal by Carr as well as a dynamite little switch-back toward the end of the record where the song rides through a key change and the organ and guitar come up in the mix. Not a landmark side by any means, but some serious, meat and potatoes soul music that I’m sure sounded absolutely amazing pouring out of a Memphis jukebox, and will sound pretty good spilling from your earbuds (so get to downloading…).
Have a great weekend.