Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Song of the Day - July 1, 2009

Being that it is Canada Day, today's Song of the Day is the best Canadian song ever and should be our National Anthem. Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy's Dirty Funk. Select #5 when you go through the link to hear a snippet!

This is what I blogged about the album on my now-dead previous blog:

Okay, so I'm late to the party on this, but I'm not the only one. Even Wayne McGhie's original record label barely bothered to RSVP, to judge by the liner notes that accompany Light in the Attic's loving reissue of McGhie's one and only self/untitled album with The Sounds of Joy. I have to be honest, the notion of a rediscovered funk and R&B and Rock Steady platter from my Soviet Canuckistan stomping grounds, featuring covers of songs like Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye and Take a Letter Maria didn't exactly inspire confidence when I first heard about it. So a friend set me straight, and I'm glad he did. This one is a real charmer, and as addictive as as a Crackberry. The band is tight, but the feel is open and relaxed, like a casual session where a bunch of friends got together to run through a few songs, old and new. That casual aspect is reflected in the production - songs seem to end or fade at odd junctures; it's as if the band had to keep pumping the studio with government funded quarters to keep cranking out its tunes.

Speaking of which, the surprise here is that the four covers are actually quite good. I love how he turns Take a Letter Maria into a ragged but right stuttering West Indies groove, and how McGhie sometimes elides the 'f' sound on 'wife' so it sounds like he's singing 'address it to my wi-ah' or 'wire.' He wrings Blood, Sweat and Tears out of the Friends of Distinction's Going in Circles, fortunately taking his lead from Al Kooper's version of the band, not blowhard David Clayton Thomas. And Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Good Bye recasts it as a funky pop classic you didn't know was a classic. And if his By the Time I Get to Phoenix is a briefer journey than Isaac Hayes, it's no less pleasurable. But the best songs are two originals that sound as familiar as his covers. Dirty Funk could easily have been a Meters 45, opening with a solid break beat by Everton Paul strong enough to win the hearts of loop diggers everywhere. And I'm pretty certain that Fire (She Need Water) hails from the same neighborhood as, maybe, James Brown's Bring it Up (Hipster's Avenue). But whatever neighborhood it's from, The Ohio Players must found inspiration in the fire truck siren that opens the cut, and it may be the location of the confounded bridge that Led Zeppelin were looking for when they did The Crunge. That it fell between the cracks suggests that, when it comes to rhythm, the Canadian music industry, and many music fans here, often have two left feet. They get Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, but they don't often get music like this. But you should. As Mel Mounds used to sorta say, it's righteous and outta sight-eous.

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