Two records continue to blissfully haunt me from Philadelphia, each with the magnitude and erotic charge of Deborah Kerr in a nun's habit. The first is--I suppose this one is kinda obvious, Billy Paul's 360 Degrees of Billy Paul. It did indeed yield one of the great Philly soul hits, "Me & Mrs. Jones", which I continue to love--though for my money, Candi Staton's "Mr. & Mrs. Untrue" can't be beat. Paul's throaty, scatting delivery peaks on Carole King's "It's Too Late". Fucking sincere and awesome!
The other is one folks who know me well have probably grown a little tired of my touting so persistently. I can't help it: Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece is astonishing stuff. I'm all hung up on the arrested development on the opener, "Fair Play". Morrison's signature stream-of-consciousness lyrics were dead by 1974, when this homecoming lament was recorded, if critics are to be believed. Though as I'm increasingly inclined to say, "to hell with the traditional media". Old Ivan turns the shipwreck of marriage and America into a stirring celtic woundsalve. "Fair Play" is like Coleridge's "This Lime Tree Bower", so rife with natural endorsements, and emotional frailty. So much spiritual violence warming around a juvenile human center; Van sounds angelic. There's William Blake, Geronimo, a laudable Levon Helm impersonation, and a soulful falsetto so broad and deeply penetrating that everyone from Sinead O'Connor, to Prince, to name-your-blue-eyed-soul hot thing, owes it a long genuflection.
I'm still learning the mp3 link thing for the Mac, so, alas, no free downloads right now. But maybe if lightning strikes my kite tonight I'll have something up by morning. Short of the that, and regardless of that, go out and buy em. The world is so full.