Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Aware of This Now

I guess I should thank the ubiquitous Carrie Brownstein for this next discovery. I've pirated Carrie's playlist in the last hour as much as I enviously ogled her really cute shirts the two times I saw Wild Flag this year. (and where in the name of Levon can I get a Last Waltz t-shirt?!).

Playlists are good. In the spirit of the season, I guess, perhaps this little enterprise does the same for the bots and 1.2 humans that probably read this blog.

Bettye Swann's story is that of the artist who has the singular magic to create but not the masochistic drive to endure the ignominy of the road, the lack of control over the output, the glad-handing and worse in order to succeed in the business. On the surface, another singer relegated to one-hit obscurity--but, with the benefit of hindsight, a seemingly minor character who played a pivotal role in the evolution of soul music in the South, where it rubbed all up over country music, especially around the Chitlin' Circuit that Swann relentlessly toured in the late 60s. Now, Swann lives in Las Vegas and is a devout Jehovah's Witness. One wonders if, since she's faded into the desert West, she is even still alive.

Bonus discovery! This may be the best version of this song I've heard. Aaron Neville starts to sound a bit strained after you listen to Bettye. And, while I'd kill to have been there/seen this, it certainly surpasses my girls.

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