Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Soul Tracks

Any dicussion involving the great male voices of R&B will always include the likes of Marvin Gaye, Eddie LeVert, Luther Vandross, and Sam Cooke. Rick James is rarely mentioned. The vocal techniques he administered on songs such as 'Give It To Me Baby' and 'Superfreak' are hardly what we would call saannging. But, we can all agree that Rick saaannng his ass off on 'Fire & Desire' and 'Ebony Eyes.' He also put a hurtin' on the lesser known 'Hollywood' featured on his 1978 Motown debut Come Get It, an earthy fusion of punk rock, funk and soul. Clocking in at over seven minutes, 'Hollywood' is Rick's passionate letter to his parents detailing his desire to "make it good in Hollywood." Let me say it again, Rick James put a hurtin' on this song. It's safe to assume that when Biggie put pen to paper and wrote 'Juicy,' 'Hollywood' was a motivating force. Peep the opening lyrics "Mama, sit down for me please/ Daddy, comfort her in this time of need/Your one and only son has got to get away/Before this ghetto life becomes the death of me..."