Friday, April 24, 2015

30: Piano in the Dark - Brenda Russell

Another favourite from Late Night Sou' West circa 1988 that has stood the test of time, at least in my playlist. I've never done a great deal of investigating into the song itself - I think lyrically it's pretty straightforward with no surprises: the lady in question in the song wishes to walk out on her relationship but the gentleman's piano playing keeps drawing her back. And as I understand it the other 'stand out' track from the album was "Get here" which was later covered by Oleta Adams with greater success.

But what Russell accomplishes with the piano solo sections (and I don't know if she wrote/ad libbed those or if the other track co-authors are responsible) is something amazingly evocative, and probably is actually the start of my musical journey into the weird and wacky instrumental stuff, some of which makes its way into the list.

There's the bridge solo before the final chorus - that's one thing - but the end of the song has a gentle skimming-and-dipping solo that continues even as the rest of the musicians drop out, and the piano just carries on - metaphorically, if not literally, in the dark. You can almost see the rest of the musicians packing up their instruments, heading out the door, turning the light off, and the piano continues.

And the 'radio edit' version fades. That annoys me so much. I knew - from very occasional radio play of the album version - that there was a full version with another minute or so at the end, and nobody ever played it, or if they did the bleddy DJ talked over it so I couldn't hear it (yes Langmore I'm looking in your direction). So the version above is the full version that I found on YouTube rather than the official video of the radio edit.

And let the piano just take you into the dark, into that evocative place, and the start of a journey that has led me to, among other tracks that didn't make the Top Forty At Forty, "Angels and Eskimos" by Kate Moody and "Walk In The Sun" by Jeanette Alexander.

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