Friday, September 28, 2007

It's Not Easy Bein' Ol' Blue Eyes

     I remember seeing this record somewhere, picking it up, looking at the song titles and shaking my head in disbelief (and then buying it soon after).  Frank did a version of Something, the great George Harrison song?  But then I remembered hearing that it was his favorite Beatles song, so okay, fine.  But why, oh why did he feel compelled to do a version of Bein' Green?  (Why wonder?)  Now don't get me wrong--I am a fan, I really am.  But this song just shows once again how horrible the great ones can be.  (There's a Bob Dylan outtake my brother-in-law once played for me called "Straight A's in Love" or something.  Just awful).   And this is on a greatest hits compilation, no less.  I'm a Muppet fan as well, but I never really liked Kermit very much.  I'm more of a Gonzo kinda guy.  
     I wanted to include Aretha Franklin's version of My Way because I never knew there was one until recently, and because once you hear it you'll forget all about Frank's version (and Bein' Green too, I hope).  It's as though she's saying sorry Frank but this is definitive, no hard feelings.  (Of course she would probably never say that).  There's a moment towards the end where she sings "the one" and draws it out to such an ecstatic length--three or four syllables--and the note goes sharp with an intensity that gives me chills.  (If you listen closely you can also hear some spontaneous hand-clapping, which just adds to the overall transcendence of the moment).   It reminds me of  Merry Clayton's singing on Gimme Shelter, when her voice breaks on the word "murder".


Lefty said...

Awesome. I happen to like Kermit and Kermit's version will always be superior to this (for obvious autobiographical reasons), but still, Frank's irony-free delivery is kind of hilarious. I recommend Willie Nelson's sensational version of "The Rainbow Connection."

Mr. Poncho said...

man, the drumming on that aretha track is just amazing. It's like he was issued a ration of hi-hat strikes -- say, like, 20 -- for the whole song, where others would normally use around 800. What we call extraordinary restraint. You can feel the sub-pulse implied all the way, but he never has to spell it out. miraculous really.