Posts Tagged ‘Midnight Band’

Saturday Single No. 350

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

We’ll play more Games With Numbers today. July 20 becomes 720, and we’re going to look at various references books here in the EITW library and go to Page 720 (or entry No. 720 in one case) in each of them. We’ll then add 7+2 and look at the ninth item listed for our nominations.

If the ninth listing on the page is for an album we have access to, we’ll take Track Four. If it’s something that’s not available, then we’ll go to the next listing on the page, and the same holds for singles. I figure that once we look at six books, we should be able to choose a decent single for a Saturday morning.

We’ll start with the most-used book in the library, Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles. Page 720 is chock-full of artists and groups with one or two hits. The ninth single listed on the page is “Watch Your Step” by Brooks O’Dell, a Philadelphia R&B singer. The record on the Gold label went to No. 58 in the early weeks of 1964. It’s a decent ballad in which the singer advises his girl to not to step out on him.

Whitburn’s Top Pop Albums lists only five artists on Page 720, all of them with the last name “Smith.” Taking the ninth item on the page, we find ourselves digging into Love Is The Answer, a 1980 album by Virginia jazzman Lonnie Liston Smith that bubbled under the Hot 200 at No. 202. Track Four is “Bridge To Tomorrow,” a mellow piece of synthy jazz that unsurprisingly reminds me of the stuff I heard on the radio during my cool jazz days in those years

By the time we get to Page 720 in Whitburn’s Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits, we’re in the record-by-record index. And the ninth record listed on Page 720 is “Merry Go Round” by Keith Sweat, which went to No. 2 on the R&B chart in 1990. The Harlem’s singer’s tale bemoaning the recycling girlfriend is decent except for the cheesy synth solo, but the saxophone-playing clown in the video almost redeems it.

We head to Dave Marsh’s 1989 opus, The Heart of Rock & Soul, in which he lists the 1,001 best singles, and No. 720 is Buck Owens’ “Under Your Spell Again.” The 1959 single went to No. 4 on the country chart, possessing, Marsh says, “the potency of pure soul, no matter how prominent the fiddle and steel guitar. The witty pathos of its internal rhymes sounds like Smokey Robinson – except Smokey didn’t get this good for another couple of years.”

In the British book The Great Rock Discography, Page 720 is in the midst of sorting out group and solo work by Carlos Santana. The ninth item listed on the page is Havana Moon, a 1983 solo album by Santana that went to No. 31 in the U.S. and No. 84 in Britain. The fourth track on the album is “Mudbone,” a moody instrumental that features – what else? – Carlos Santana’s clear-toned and fiery guitar.

We turn, finally, to the 2004 edition of the Rolling Stone Album Guide. On Page 720, we find entries for singer Jill Scott and jazzman Gil Scott-Heron. The ninth album listed on the page is Scott-Heron’s 1975 release, The First Minute of a New Day. The album – credited at All Music Guide to Brian Jackson and the Midnight Band as well – went to No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to Nos. 5 and 8 on the jazz and R&B charts, respectively. The fourth track on the album is “Ain’t No Such Thing As Superman,” a track that from my limited knowledge of Scott-Heron’s music (another deficiency in my education that should be remedied), seems of a kind with the other things I’ve heard from his catalog.

So which way do we go this morning? Well, we’ve talked briefly about the Buck Owens record before, and the O’Dell, Smith and Sweat singles don’t really grab me (though I may give Lonnie Liston Smith’s work a closer listen). I’m tempted by the Santana single, but I’m even more intrigued by the Gil Scott-Heron single. Add the fact that we’ve never even mentioned Scott-Heron’s name here in more than six years of blogging, and then top that off with the line, “You alone consider mercy after it seems like all you get is pain,” and there’s no question: Gil Scott-Heron’s “Ain’t No Such Thing As Superman” is today’s Saturday Single.