Thursday, September 13, 2007
Picking Up The Pieces With JT!
Johnnie Taylor - Pick Up The Pieces
Back in the spring I did a feature about Johnnie Taylor and the non-"disco" elements of his 1976 Columbia LP Eargasm, which gave the world the RIAA's first platinum single, "Disco Lady." I'll refer you to that post for the story behind the album, and jump right in to yet another gem that came from it.
"Pick Up The Pieces" was by no means a new song by the time JT recorded it for Eargasm. The song had been a hit for Carla Thomas in 1968 and Mavis Staples had recorded a version for one of her Volt LPs a few years later. Co-writer and producer of both prior versions, Don Davis, had been Taylor's producer since 1968 and I suppose he decided that the song should get a third airing on JT's album. For the '76 version of the song, Davis dispensed with the Motown-styled groove of the Thomas and Staples versions and replaced it with a mellow sound that was both bluesy and sophisticated, and Taylor brings his fine stylings to the vocals. Like in the case of "Running Out of Lies," covered in the prior post, Taylor gets a chance to do a little sermonizing as well, and it really works. By the time he's chanting "I need you to help me, I need you to help me, I-I-I need you to help me" at the end, he's got you hooked. When I was growing up my mother played this and "Running Out Of Lies" constantly. Now I understand why!