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29 January 2006

Comments

David Ryshpan
1.

Where did you hear about this guy, Darcy? I'm listening to clips from the Hacktone.com website - this is great.

DJA
2.

Hey David,

Back in the good old (free) days of Salon Table Talk, there was one thread where we would all sit around and lament the sorry state of contemporary R&B, and one particularly persistent British commentator kept saying "Lewis Taylor, dammit!" until we all finally broke down and bought his first solo CD (on Island). We were not disappointed. (In fact, "Lewis" is still my favorite LT record, although they are all worth having.)

"Ritual" is based on the first song from that record, "Lucky." The original version is a lot less thrash.

I'm happy to see that the US release of Stoned also includes LT's great a cappella version of Brian Wilson's "Melt Away." This was my favorite track from a limited edition (100 copies) home-burned CD LT sold at one of his London gigs. (I had my friend from TT pick me up a signed copy.)

David Ryshpan
3.

Cool. It's a little reminiscent of Eric Roberson, although LT seems to be less influenced by the hip-hop side of things than Roberson.

DJA
4.

Yeah, LT is more like an up-to-date version of Sam Cooke and Al Green (with a little Marvin mixed in). The hiphop thing is there too (in the tricksy production and drum programming), but it definitely takes a back seat to straight-up songwriting craft, especially when it comes to harmonies and form.

Which is honestly fine by me because I feel that a reductive, unimaginative hiphop influence is the bane of most contemporary R&B. (Well, that and a super-saturation of mannered, aimless, souless melismas.) The whole point of a stripped-down, repetitive hiphop groove is to put the rhyming front and center. But you can't just take a straight hiphop groove, mute the rhymes, slap some meandering vocals on top, and call it a song.

There's a good interview with LT here.

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