Tuesday, August 02, 2005:

Gwen McCrae

Gwen McCrae -- I Didn't Take Your Man
Gwen McCrae -- Keep the Fire Burning
These tracks today are off Gwen McCrae's 1982 LP On My Way, released some time after she and George had called it quits. I'm tempted to read into some of the lyrics more than I probably should, but let's just say Gwen sounds confident and happy enough throughout the LP. "Hang In" is a great track, an Ann Peebles cover, and "Doin' It" is great also. But "I Didn't Take Your Man" strikes me as more intriguing, more real somehow, and "Keep the Fire Burning" strikes me as more fun than any of those three, as great as they are.

"I Didn't Take Your Man" is (like "Hang In") an Ann Peebles cover; this one explains that it was the other woman's bad choices that led to her man running off: "If you had taken the time to treat him with a little respect / he wouldn't be out here looking for love somewhere else." Oh man. And then, the gloating at the end? The lyrics are from the "stab, then twist" school; still, the song is forty shades of awesome.

"Keep the Fire Burning" is (like "Doin' It") a saucy dance number that should get you all loose-limbed and joyful. Go on, give it a shot.

"Keep the Fire Burning" seems to be on CD on Natural High: 2-Step Soul, Boogie Fusion & Rare Groove (Amazon.com page) and on Club Connection (also availabler at amazon.com), but as a "UK Club remix," which may or may not be what you're after. So caveat emptor and all that.

I'm starting to love finding all these great LPs (or, sometimes, just a few great tracks on them) that are out of print. To me, at least, posting them stands as sort of a means of keeping the music alive, giving it more social currency. They're great songs in the first place, but there's also just something fascinating about them as cultural artefacts. Yet there's any number of different sets of circumstances that can lead to something with obvious merit being cast off and forgotten.

An interview with Gwen McCrae
A writeup of her work

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