“Listen – Bobby Powell – Why Am I Treated So Bad – MP3″
Before you get any ideas that we’re in the midst of a Staple Singers-themed week, Friday’s selection (while also a cover version, which is, I guess a theme in and of itself), is a decidedly non-Staples tune, so just calm down…
You can thank our friends over at Second Line Social, on account it was during a stopover at that fine blog that I happened upon today’s selection for the first time. Naturally, I hot-footed it onto the interwebs and got my own copy, so I could play it over and over again in the F16 crib, and then, later on, whip on you fine people.
I already had a couple of Bobby Powell records, that I picked up in my travels over the years, but I had no idea that he had put down a cover version of one of my favorite (and oft covered by other artists) Staple Singers tunes.
‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’ is a tune that I have a grip of covers of (one, by Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll appeared in Funky16Corners Radio v.53), including a couple of Hammond organ instrumentals. I had no idea, that when I checked out the Bobby Powell version, that it would immediately become my favorite.
Bobby Powell is a Baton Rouge, LA based singer/pianist (who just happens to be blind) who recorded a number of 45s for the Whit label (and later for Jewel and Excello) starting in the mid-60s. I have no idea who’s playing the guitar on his version of ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’ (I suspect Powell is playing the organ), but it is some of the deepest, swampiest, guitar I’ve ever heard.
Alvin Robinson (in one of my all time favorite records, ‘Down Home Girl’) once sang, ‘I can tell by your giant step, that you’ve been walkin’ through the cotton fields’, and that – to me – is what the guitar on this record sounds like; giant steps, leaving muddy footprints all over the track, with Powell’s soulful vocals weaving in and out, along with the rest of the band. This is a HEAVY sound, and despite the slow tempo, sounds like the kind of record that you might hear – along with sounds of people dancing (very closely) – coming out the window of a juke on a Saturday night.
We’re all checking out via the ones and zeros, but I feel cheated that I can’t hear this record oozing out of an AM radio speaker somewhere.