Welcome back, mellow miners, to another week of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold!
I thought that I wasn’t going to have time to write your MG post this week, with prep for the ’80s gig taking up a lot of time, but lo and behold, not only do you get your two tracks, but we start off with a bonus remix! (Of course, Chart Attack! may suffer as a result, but we’ll worry about that on Friday.) Anyway, here we go!
So, remember at the end of last Friday’s Chart Attack! when I asked you to remember the name D.H.T.?
As a refresher, D.H.T. is a pop band from Belgium who recently had a huge hit by resurrecting Roxette’s “Listen To Your Heart.” They’ve covered other songs as well, including Heart’s “Alone,” Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” and Alanis Morrissette’s “Uninvited.” Their talent really lies with Edmee, their lead singer, who has a stellar voice.
Anyway, so one of our hottest radio stations for many years in NYC has been WHTZ, aka Z100. It’s our top CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) station and is often the trendsetter. I don’t listen to the radio very often, as I commute via public transportation on most days and have my iPod. However, Z100 is still a preset in my car, even though I’m definitely not in their demographic (as evidenced by these posts). So last week, I’m station surfing as I’m driving, and I come across a tune that sounds very familiar to me. I can’t exactly place it, but I know that I know it.
This is what I heard. Raise your hand when you’ve figured it out.[audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/dhtcrazy.mp3]
(I assume you’ve got it, but if you don’t, you need to re-read Mellow Gold #2.)
Awful, isn’t it? How these guys decided to cover Paul Frickin’ Davis, I’ll never know. But D.H.T., you have my respect on principle alone. This is going to go a long way in helping Paul Davis buy that new fishing boat!
But don’t write off D.H.T. just yet; the version I posted was a dance remix (duhhhh). The pop version isn’t that bad – yeah, drums that weren’t created using a GarageBand loop could have helped the song (same with the strings), but I kinda like Edmee’s vocal. So it’s not Mellow Gold, but I’m offering it as a bonus download for you this week. You know, just to help round out your collection of Paul Davis And Paul Davis-Related Songs. And so I can whore attention to this blog from people looking for D.H.T. downloads.
D.H.T. – I Go Crazy (download)
(right now, someone has come here from The Hype Machine and is wondering, “who the hell is Paul Davis?”)
Okay, onwards and upwards to Mellow Gold!
Dave Mason – We Just Disagree (download)
I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t know much about Dave Mason. I’m not a fan of his. I mean, I’m a well-wisher in that I don’t mean him any particular harm, but I don’t know much about the guy. I obviously know about his time in Traffic, I know about him being a close bud to Hendrix, I know that the superb blog The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ recently featured a sweet version of “Will You
Still Love Me Tomorrow?” (It may still be up – go, go, go!) But that’s just about all I know.
Oh, wait. I know one more thing. I know Dave Mason went all smooth and mellow on us for “We Just Disagree.”
Some facts about the song: “We Just Disagree” was written by Jim Krueger, who was the guitarist in Mason’s band. It was Mason’s biggest hit, and was released in 1977, where it peaked at #12. It was a song off of Mason’s Let It Flow album:
Mason or Loggins? You decide.
And what the hell is he doing? Breathing underwater?
But if you were to place “We Just Disagree” on any Mason album, wouldn’t you rather place it on an album with a cover like this?
Look at that suit! No, no, no, fuck the suit, look at that mascara! One minute, Dave Mason was rocking out and writing gems like “Feelin’ Alright” for Traffic (or, more famously, Joe Cocker), and the next minute…WHOOSH! Sucked right into the ’70s! He kinda looks like he wanted to be a Bee Gee.
So what makes “We Just Disagree” Mellow Gold? Well, we have a few contributing factors. For starters, let’s look at these lyrics. Selectively. Take it to the chorus!
So let’s leave it alone
‘Cause we can’t see eye to eye
There ain’t no good guy
There ain’t no bad guy
There’s only you and me and we just disagree
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Mellow Gold sentiment. There ain’t no good guy? There ain’t no bad guy? What kind of breakup is this, anyway? This sounds almost…sadly amicable. What the hell? That doesn’t make for a good song! Where’s the blame, Dave? Where’s the blame?
There’s no blame to be found. Granted, he almost gets his nads back with this line:
Have you got a place to stay? Why should I care
when I’m just tryin’ to get along?
OoooOOOOH! Good on ya! Tell her, Dave! Wave your arms in the air, and tell her that YOU JUST DON’T CARE! (The waving will drive the point home.)
We were friends,
but now it’s the end of our love song.
Oh, Dave. Daaaave! You had her at “why should I care” and lost her somewhere around “love song.” She’s not going to care if you care at this point! Shit, why not seal the deal with “if it don’t feel right, you can go?”
So we’ve established that these nonconfrontational lyrics really help give this song its Mellow Gold vibe. But we can’t discount the music. First of all, yes, yes, sweet guitar part, for reals. Nice and clean, nice gentle backing with some swirling strings and a bit of piano. But the Mellow Goldiness of this tune comes from those fantastic, full backing vocals. Surrounding Mason on the key verse lyrics and those choruses, and driving it home with “oooh, oooh, oooh, whoa whoa whoa,” there’s something about the fullness of those other voices that really puts this into the MG category for me. Hope you agree.
If you’d like to see how Mason worked that sexy suit at the time, check him out performing “We Just Disagree” on Solid Gold, the year it was released:
This one went all the way to the end of the 1977 Sound High Way!
Let’s move on.
Orleans – Dance With Me (download)
“Dance With Me” gets a shout-out (see, SallyAnn, I use the term) this week for two reasons. The obvious reason is because Orleans co-founder, John Hall, narrowly defeated incumbent Sue Kelly for a seat in Congress last night. Congratulations, John! Not bad for a guy who was, at one time, primarily known for his nipples and homoeroticism:
(John Hall in the middle, y’all.)
(And yes, I’m sure I’m the first person to make this joke.)
(Dude! Look at the guy on the left! Totally not concerned about that guy’s index finger!)
The second reason for including this song is that it has a lot in common with “We Just Disagree” (or the other way around, since this track predates Mason’s by two years). It derives its Mellow Gold status from those fantastic harmonies and smooth strumming. However, “Dance With Me” ups the ante (in a very wimpy way, of course), by throwing in a distinctive, melodic bass line and a harmonica. Plus, doesn’t that kind of sound like ’70s Cetera on that bridge?
A sweet pop song with a country twinge, “Dance With Me” was written by Hall with his then-wife, Johanna, and was Orleans’ first big hit. It was released in 1974 and peaked at #6 in October of 1975. The only problem was that Orleans didn’t really see themselves as a Mellow Gold band (their previous single, “Let There Be Music,” sounded more like the Doobies than anything else), but hey, boys, you release a song like “Dance With Me,” and the next thing you know, you’re opening for Melissa Manchester. And I’m not saying that “Still The One” made it worse, but it wasn’t like anybody heard it and was like, “YEAH! You guys frickin’ ROCK!”
Even if “Dance With Me” had featured blisteringly offensive metal guitars, a shrieking vocalist, and blood coming out of your stereo speakers, it still wouldn’t have been enough to counter the lyrics, which shout “I’m a wuss!” no matter which way you slice it:
Dance with me, I want to be your partner
Can’t you see the music is just starting?
Night is falling, and I am falling
Dance with me
Fantasy could never be so giving
I feel free, I hope that you are willing
Pick the beat up, and kick your feet up
Dance with me
I’m stopping there. Sorry. I’m picturing fairies dancing on clouds. With Liberace. Orleans, this is Mellow Gold. No arguing.
Orleans’ career path has obviously not been stellar since the late ’70s, although they apparently stayed wildly popular in Japan (selling out houses all over the country in the early ’90s), toured on the “Can’t Stop Rockin'” bill in ’95 with Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar (that’s what I’m talkin’ about!), and, for reasons inexplicable to anyone, still remain good friends with Robbie Dupree, who convinced them to record a live album up in his home town of Woodstock, NY.
Although still technically a member of Orleans, John Hall doesn’t play with the band much anymore, and I’m guessing that he’ll now be a little busy in Congress (or maybe he won’t), but he did find the time to do a little harmonizing with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report recently. I’m sure you’ve seen this clip already, but if you haven’t, it’s worth watching all the way through. If you’re just interested in hearing Colbert and Hall do a little duetting on “Dance With Me,” though, fast-forward to the end.
Isn’t that a great interview? I thought so, too. John Hall clearly holds his own with Colbert. I’m impressed.
And that’ll do it for another week of Adventures Through The Mines of Mellow Gold! See you soon, ya pansies!