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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Unleash The Tiger (From 2008)

If you gave the average music exec a gold brick, they’d have it bronzed and sell it with an infomercial. The music business is the ultimate manifestation of throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. In a way, there is no explaining what catches people’s fancy about one song or movie or another. The greedy, grasping, grabby people that infest the business have learned how to make the wall they’re throwing things at slightly more sticky by applying a thick coat of cocaine and bagman money to it before they throw things at it, but it’s far from a science, even with all the experience they have now.

If it worked once, they try it again in the same way. They think it was the process that worked. I have my doubts. Here’s an example. They were presented with Aretha Franklin once. They said to themselves: I know, let’s make her a Shirelle — or whatever the hell you call the sleeveless tunic dress bouffant haired gogo dancers with the black Betty Boop voices. Boop, Shoop Shoop; whatever…

Why not have her paint your house? It would make about as much use of her talent. Eventually you’ve got to unleash the tiger. If you’re smart enough to know you have one in the first place.

5 Responses

  1. Wow – she was so far beyond that first one, it was like watching a Formula 1 race car navigate a basic driver's license testing route.

  2. I actually got to meet the man who UNLEASHED THE TIGRESS, Jerry Wexler, who retired to Florida and became friends with my in-laws. Little brush with celebrity….

    Interestingly, instead of giving her an arrangement, he let her work out the songs herself on piano, with her sister (and backup singer) Carolyn occasionally tossing in ideas. That's Aretha on piano on all the classic tracks between '67 and '73 or so. Not a virtuoso, but a very funky style with lots of gospel chords thrown in.

    Just last Friday I traded in a bunch of stuff at my favorite used record store and scored a rare MFSL gold version of her first album on Atlantic in 1967. The presence in the voice is just staggering. There are a handful of artists who rise above all the others and make you stop dead in your tracks. She is (or was) one of them.

  3. G. Bob- That's neat.

    I wonder if many know that guy's name. He is credited with coining the term "rhythm and blues." That's quite a thing to have on your resume.

    I of course love the whole Atlantic thang with the Erteguns and so forth, but Wexler's name is all over the Stax/Volt records I love best of all.

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