November 13, 2010

Music Is...Gladys Knight

The way in which Ms. Knight has established herself as an artist surely leaves a few things that are undoubtedly noteworthy. She is truly a lady who has maintained longevity in the music biz, and as far as I'm concerned needs no introduction, no nothing. I'm only 20 years old, but I've been listening to her music since I was in the womb, literally. I remember bobbing my head to the beat before I was known to the world......OK, that's a bit too far, but you get the idea. Once again I have to attribute my knowledge of this woman to my mom, who has definitely instilled the LOVE  of music in me. Personally, I don't measure music by its position on the Billboard charts, however many times it went gold or platinum, record sales or any of that. I just go by what I like.

Gladys dished out a buffet full of hits as a solo artist and with the incomparable Pips. Its impossible to fully explain the vibe, feel, and impact of every song and record she's ever put out but I do believe I can name a few to satisfy the musical palate. This isn't necessarily in order so bare with me. The first song/album off the top of my head is 1974 "I Feel A Song". I've never listened to this record in its entirety, I have nonetheless listened to the title track. It is about the loss and recapture of love, a good man. What I visualize when I hear the song is depicted by the cover art of the record. I like the light watercolor's chosen. The fact that a flower is growing is what looks like barren or dry surroundings shows me that good has the ability to come out of what may seem like a bleak situation. 

Lets see, we then have 1973 "Neither One Of Us". Again, a record from which I haven't heard everything, but I've heard a couple. The title track 'Neither One Of Us(Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)' and 'Daddy Could Swear (I Declare)'. Both of these songs are da bomb, seriously. 'Neither One Of Us' has such a smooth sound, like "butta". Now as my mom would say, there would be no new-school without old-school, and Angie Stone proved that to be so when she sampled it for 'No More Rain(In This Clouds)', which by the way is also like "butta". 'Daddy Could Swear' truly says what soul music is. Its an honest track about her dad. She's basically saying that it may have been so that he couldn't do very many things well, but when the time came he could swear, so the title is pretty self explanatory.  

How could I even bring up Gladys Knight without mentioning the 1973 album "Imagination". This record spawned some of my favorites such as 'Midnight Train To Georgia', 'I've Got To Use My Imagination', 'Where Peaceful waters Flow', and 'Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me'. What I love most is the way the tempo shifts between faster and slower paces. 'Imagination' is uptempo and I find it fitting considering what it speaks about, " to keep on keepin' on". 'Midnight Train To Georgia', probably among the elite songs in the karaoke lineup, but by no means is it simply karaoke material. My favorite line, "Mmmmm, LA, proved too much for the man (Too much for the man, he couldn't make it)...", love it.
This next plate of songs is from a soundtrack to the movie Claudine (didn't know that). Now, I've never seen the film, and again I haven't heard all the songs. I can say I've listened to 'Make Yours A Happy Home', which don't even get me wrong, I love. of my absolute favorites hands down is 'On and On'. Something about that track get me up and moving. The melody, the upbeat tempo, the content, the way the words seem to bounce back off the beat. 'On and On' is truly about love and how it's simply nonstop.

Ohh, and just for namesake, I like 'Love Overboard' too. So It goes without saying that Gladys Knight is an incredible songstress. Her voice has this wonderful contrast between silky smooth and grit. The music has withheld itself against a changing industry and changing taste. Haaa...feel much better now.

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