Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Funny How Time Slips Away" - The Series (#3)

Reuben Howell - Funny How Time Slips Away

Dorothy Moore - Funny How Time Slips Away

Today's installment of the "Funny" series features two '70s Southern soul takes on the song, albeit that one of them was a Motown record. Blue-eyed soul man Reuben Howell was featured on this blog before, although erroneously (Howell was erroneously credited with Johnny Adams' "Bad Habit Baby" on Soul Resurrection, which I had featured). Howell cut two albums and a few singles for Motown (some of which were released on VIP), none of which were successful. His first LP, Reuben Howell, was produced by former Fame Gang musician Clayton Ivey and Terry Woodford and featured quite a few of the Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul scene regulars as instrumentalists and background singers. Ivey and Woodford chose to take strip the tune of its country flavor, choosing instead to have Howell sing the song over a stripped-down rhythm with nice piano and string accents. Howell brought the goods with his performance, alternating between a conversational style and fuller belting. It's a shame that Howell's Motown stuff got lost in the shuffle, because it was quite good.

Dorothy Moore had a smash hit - and kept the then-struggling Malaco concern from going out of business - in 1976 with the deep soul ballad "Misty Blue," the song for which she is best known. In that same year, however, she also raced up the pop and R&B charts with her version of "Funny." The arrangement on this version has more of a Southern soul feel than the Howell record, featuring a fine piano (both electric and acoustic) and guitar-based groove (dig the accompaniment in the last verse) and strong vocals by Moore.

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