Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Rainy Night in Memphis

Brook Benton - I Keep Thinking to Myself

Brook Benton's legendary career requires no write-up by me, so I'll just focus on today's selection. "I Keep Thinking to Myself" was a one-off single for Stax in 1974 after Benton ended his stay with Cotillion (where he had struck paydirt with "Rainy Night in Georgia"). This tune didn't make the Billboard R&B chart: it was probably too relaxed and conversational for 1974, and it probably didn't matters that Stax was faltering as a label (Shirley Brown's "Woman to Woman" (on Truth) would end up being the final #1 R&B hit for the company, which went bankrupt in the end of 1975). The conversational tone of the song, though, is what makes it a favorite of mine. Benton's wistful lyric is tenderly handled by the master singer - check out his line "I built me up and let you fall" in the last verse and the range tricks he does a la "Rainy Night in Georgia" in the fade. Simply beautiful.

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