A playlist for the box set post below.
“If This World Were Mine” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (from The Master)
The consolation prize for the brain tumor that took Tammi Terrell from the world at the tender age of 24 is the duets she recorded with Marvin Gaye. The rapport between these two is palpable and true; it takes two minutes for them to sing in harmony, and the “woah-ho-hoo” that results is subtle magic. They trade verses, bridges and choruses with perfect sympathy, amplifying and reinforcing the power and passion each possesses. The swell and break that starts around the 1:30 mark is sublime.
“Flute Thing” – Seatrain (from What It Is!)
Before this box set came along, I knew this only as a sample in the Beastie Boys “Flute Loop” (though that sample is actually from the original version performed by the Blues Project; Seatrain is the same band under a different name, and this is the single edit of their re-recorded version. Got it?). Great little groover, with a great Al Kooper written flute riff. Pretty, fun and an understandable closet classic.
“Satellite Of Love” – The Velvet Underground (from Peel Slowly And See)
I’m glad Lou squelched this at the demo stage and let it percolate for a few more years; at this point it is missing something. And it has “Winkin, Blinkin and Nod” instead of “Harry, Mark and John”; who gets bold in an old wooden shoe? I guess it does seem a little less slutty to be hangin’ with nursery rhyme characters. Guitar on this is Loaded-by-numbers – a little “Cool It Down”, a little “Sweet Jane.”
“I’m Eighteen” – Alice Cooper (from The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper)
I don’t think there is anything I can say that hasn’t been said a million times over. A perfect song, with a vocal performance by Alice that is tortured, genuinely pained and torn. The guitar work is impeccable, stepping back and allowing space for Alice’s harrowing delivery while amping up at the necessary points. I’ve never been quite comfortable with that organ chord at the end; perhaps it is intimating at a less than pleasant end, a funeral for a man child. After all, the song was written with the absurdity of the time in mind – at eighteen you could be expected to fight and kill for your government but not yet vote for those sending you to your fate.
“Saint Behind The Glass” – Los Lobos (from El Cancionero: Mas Y Mas)
This song is joyous; from the tinkling muted strings to the bomp-bomp strolling bassline, from the smile you can hear on the singer’s face to quiet claps that carry the song home. Joy. Happiness can sound like a baby’s coo or a benediction, and this encapsulates it all.