the chantels - maybe

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the vocals are so plaintive, tortured, and ghostly. she sounds as if she's going to break into a sob with every word, as if she knows it's hopeless, over that simple dum-dum-dum riff. perfection.

lauren (laurenp), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 02:10 (sixteen years ago) link

i learned the phrase "cri de coeur" when reading about this record when i was in junior high. (junior high is a good time to hear this song for the first time, too.)

yeah, her warbling off pitch (but never really far enough to grate on the ears) is definitely evocative of sobbing, i think it's probably even intentional. also the way the drums drag behind the vocal makes the whole thing sound like it's on the edge of collapse, also very evocative.

i really like the shangri-la's version too--the sound is really distorted on that one, but in a juicy joe-meek sort of way. it sounds like it was recorded on a runway at la guardia or something.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 03:32 (sixteen years ago) link

i really need to be able to explain why i like the off-pitch singing here but detest the new jessica simpson single for similar reasons. i know there's a good reason, i just can't quite explain what it is. i would say it's the level of control and awareness shown but the singer (arlene smith? am i remembering that correctly?) here verges on the out-of-control sometimes. and yet i still LOVE it.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 03:34 (sixteen years ago) link

one of the greatest records EVER.

Arlene Smith.

rumple, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 14:38 (sixteen years ago) link

...

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 16:58 (sixteen years ago) link

one of my favorite records (and vocal performances) ever. utterly classic.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 19:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Arlene Smith = blow-your-brains-out passion
Jessica Simspon = Thank You for Choosing McDonald's (tm)

rumple, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 19:52 (sixteen years ago) link

yes but HOW/WHY

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 20:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Simpson was created in a laboratory utilizing a fine blend of secret sauces and silicone implants (not that I'm knocking her). I seem to recall Smith grew up in a family steeped in gospel, y'know--actual music made by all at once by live people with beating hearts. What runs through the veins of Jessica--the oily run-off from a George Foreman grill? Such visceral emotion of the kind emanating from Arlene--or, say, from Anthony Mann's Raw Deal or even the smutty cover of an Adam magazine--seems not only old skool, but totally out of fashion these days. And not easy to come by. Everybody's seen it before, heard it before and knows it all (ILM tm). This won't make sense coming as it does from my drug-addled mind, but I was listening to Bryan Ferry sing 'The In Crowd' the other day and marvelling at his delivery of that line 'The O-riginal is still the greatest' and thinking how funny and (although I find the concept usually very unpalatable) ironic it sounded in 1974. And whilst it still has all those endearing qualities, now it also sounds like an ode to prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cars had fins. There is a feeling in the air that makes it hard to connect with anything these days, at least for me, and Jessica is a suitably artless expression of it: a drained-of-feeling pantomime of something so removed one can't even recall what it was in the first place. Now let Pappy put his teeth back in so he can go motoring in the country.

rumple, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 22:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Greil Marcus related in one of his Real Life Rock Top Tens that the producer of "Maybe" had to cajole and humiliate Arlene Smith into getting just the right pitch of misery into the song. I'm not sure I can love the song after knowing that.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 23:09 (sixteen years ago) link

The use of sadism to induce great singing is a topic all its own. Ike Turner was terrible on singers, the prime one being his wife, of course. Candi Staton complained Rick Hall wasn't happy to record until her voice was a mere rasp. Makes me love those records no less, though, sick fuck that I am.

rumple, Wednesday, 19 May 2004 23:20 (sixteen years ago) link

the only reason i know what in the hell you're all talking about is because the COVER of this record virtually jumped into my lap, somewhere, sometime.. i mean, that JUKEBOX and those kids.. i took it home and listened to it and devoured the liner notes on the back, which are written, as i recall, with this kind of desperate bid for hipness, well-meaning, but hopelessly square. there was something about the group hearing their song on the radio for the first time. something about the chantels bringing you "that maybe sound." i think there are some other good songs on the record but most of them are copies of maybe. the background vocals are so great; when she finishes the chorus it's like she can't think of anything else to say, so he just says "maybe" again, and the background singers are right there for her, no words, just an understanding and a comfort, like a hand on her shoulder. wow. i saw the album in Raven Records in Knoxville, about 10 years ago now, for $100.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 23:57 (sixteen years ago) link

SHE just says "maybe" again

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Thursday, 20 May 2004 00:07 (sixteen years ago) link

because she knows there's no hope!

lauren (laurenp), Thursday, 20 May 2004 00:10 (sixteen years ago) link

no no no MAYBE if she cries EVERY NIGHT he'll come back!! that's the strategy!

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Thursday, 20 May 2004 00:12 (sixteen years ago) link

i've found that to be ineffective.

lauren (laurenp), Thursday, 20 May 2004 00:14 (sixteen years ago) link

you're obviously not tyring HARD ENOUGH

the cover of the chantels first record makes those "best covers of all time" books a lot.

i don't buy the story about the producer berating smith until she sang with a sob in her voice. reminds me of that olivier quote, "it's called ACTING."

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 02:43 (sixteen years ago) link

all those stories--typically applied to soul singers, but rock singers too--about them being really upset and then going into a studio and "singing their heart out" or whatever, i approach with caution.

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 02:44 (sixteen years ago) link

oh good god how I love this

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:07 (sixteen years ago) link

"If You Try" might be even more desperate-ergo-great

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:08 (sixteen years ago) link

amateurist, have you heard the story about Mia X recording her verse on "'Bout It 'Bout It" just a couple of days after her best friend was murdered?

Mike Ouderkirk (Mike Ouderkirk), Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:33 (sixteen years ago) link

who is mia x?

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't know about "all those stories"--but Ike Turner's push-a-singer-to-the-point-of-cruelty is well-documented. He's as much as admitted it himself. First-hand witnesses to studio shenanigans have recalled it to my face.

Candi Staton on Rick Hall: "Rick didn't always understand his singers, he thought everybody should be hoarse. that in order to sing soulfully you had to have a gruff voice. So he used to work me until my throat was absolutely irritated to get the sound he wanted."

amateurist knows how to hold a grudge. I don't know about you, but I picture a sort of cross between Billy Barty and Luc Sante. A Little Lord Fauntleroy in powder-blue knickers adjusting his monocle and ashing his cigarette holder. "Drucilla, if I told you once I've told you a thousand times, only I can handle the 180-Gram vinyl."

a sadist of a different sort, perhaps?

and to all a goodnight

rumple, Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:55 (sixteen years ago) link

"
Candi Staton on Rick Hall: "Rick didn't always understand his singers, he thought everybody should be hoarse. that in order to sing soulfully you had to have a gruff voice. So he used to work me until my throat was absolutely irritated to get the sound he wanted.""


that's different though. that's a matter of him pushing her until her voice had a certain quality.

i guess it's the sometimes-presumed direct connection between actual *emotional* distress and the rendering thereof that galls me.

i find your description of me sort of flattering in a weird way.

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:57 (sixteen years ago) link

if singers were children i could understand this idea better, like supposedly vincente minnelli told maggie o'brien her dog had died (ouch!) before she played that scene in "meet me in st. louis" where she smashes up the snowmen. not sure i buy that either, but it's more plausible only because i can imagine children not to "act" so much as "be." which in the case of o'brien (already a seasoned actress by 1944) is probably a fallacy.

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 03:59 (sixteen years ago) link

and that's what I described.

Both men got excellent results, in my humble opinion.

And a big sloppy kiss on the slightly powdered cheek of Lord A and I bid you adieu.

rumple, Thursday, 20 May 2004 04:00 (sixteen years ago) link

but he didn't emotionally terrorize candi station, whereas i thought goldner (or whomever) was supposed to have hurt smith to get the desired sob in the voice--a tactic whose effectiveness i must doubt. seems like a romantic(ist) fallacy to me, with some exceptions.

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 04:03 (sixteen years ago) link

i mean if this were true imagine the emotional terrorism going on at johnnie ray sessions!

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 20 May 2004 04:03 (sixteen years ago) link

twelve years pass...

oh man, this song

k3vin k., Thursday, 9 June 2016 02:27 (four years ago) link

maybe if i hold your hand
you will understand
and maybe if i kiss your lips
i'll be at your command
oh, maybe

i've prayed and prayed to the lord
to send you back, my love
but instead you came to me only in my dreams

k3vin k., Friday, 10 June 2016 13:33 (four years ago) link

i mean come on. come. the. fuck. on.

k3vin k., Friday, 10 June 2016 13:33 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

“I love you so” is my new obsession

k3vin k., Wednesday, 18 November 2020 22:50 (two weeks ago) link


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