Friday, October 17, 2008

Don Covay - Mercy! (1965)

Mercy, Mercy is my favorite song of the moment, so I'm posting this Don Covay record. This isn't one of those soul records with a hit single and 10 boring-ass songs of filler, but I mostly just want to talk about Mercy, Mercy. It also turns out that maybe half of the songs are just re-workings of Mercy, Mercy so that works out really well for me here. As they say, if it is a giraffe, then you should ride it.

One of my favorite things is when the verse of a song is way catchier than the chorus. Another of my favorite things is when a song flirts with both major and minor tonality. Let's take a look at this chord progression here: A/C#7/D/Dm

Wow what a great idea. That C#7 chord has an F in it, which isn't in an A major scale, but is the sixth in an A minor scale. Then, that F goes up a half step to F# for the D major chord which re-establishes the major tonality, then back to F again for the D minor chord. Quite an emotionally satisfying journey for just a few half-steps here and there. But really doggies, whenever you're playing a major IV chord, drop that third down a half-step and see how it makes you feel.

My third favorite thing is when a singer says their own name: "She said, 'Don, your baby's gonna leave you, her bag is packed up under the bed'" Here let me try: "My friends said, 'Todd you've got to update your blog, because we're addicted to the internet.'"

But ignore all of this theory talk for a second. Don Covay put together one of my favorite soul records. Really great guitar playing (Jimi Hendrix supposedly played on some of these songs) mixed high enough so that I can hear it and nerd out. Gritty, expressive vocals. Go for it:

5 comments:

Aesop said...

I used to have this great single by Mr. Covay called "I was checking out she was checking in." It told this sordid tale about having an affair at a sleazy motel and running into his wife there who was also having an affair. It was awkward, and a bit creepy. During the fade out he sings "The man gave her the same room I had" Yuck. Anyhoo, great blog, ecclectic and well written. I follow closely.

Todd said...

That sounds incredible. If you can find your copy, send it on over; I'd love to hear it.

Corey said...

The album Aesop is talking about is called Super Dude it was Covay's 70's comeback album, it's pretty hilarious. Thanks for this I have wanted to hear his earlier work.

Todd said...

Thanks, Corey. I managed to track that album down, so hopefully I'll get around to listening to it sometime in the next year or so haha.

Aesop said...

I only had a single that I found put out with some trash I was rummaging through. If the other songs on "Superdude" were as weird as the one on the single than it is my favorite album without ever hearing it.