Blerd: Ya there?
Dr. Gonzo: Sure am, boss!
So, it’s my turn this week, yes?
G: Is it ever!
B: Well, this week’s Cover Convo will be a bit on the somber side, as you might imagine.
I noticed that a local dinner theater changed the date for their Dionne Warwick show. Took me a minute to read between the lines.
B: Well, i was going to go for the obvious, especially since I’ve been listening to “I Will Always Love You” a ton these past few days. Then, at the 11th hour, I changed my mind.
So, without further ado, a song that i may or may not have been embarrassed by singing out loud…
G: Oh, hell yes!
B: Written and produced by Valerie Simpson and Nick “Look At My Luxurious-Ass Hair” Ashford, may he rest in peace.
G: I had no idea that there was a video for this, but Chaka’s hair is looking fabulous!
B: Yeah man, Chaka was a stunner back in the day
I can picture this playing on a bad-ass sound system in a nightclub circa 1978-1979, and people going BATSHIT.
G: Oh, absolutely. This is a total banger of a tune.
B: The bassline alone is insane.
G: And a much needed affirmation / anthem I think.
B: Sort of a funky version of “I Am Woman.” Which, i think, was written by a man?
G: Oh, fuck. I’m going to search right now.
B : Oh no. Helen Reddy co-wrote it. Just checked Wikipedia.
G: Phew. That would be like Paul Anka writing “Say it Loud”
B: Oh man…can barely wrap my brain around that.
G: That’s what I’m here for! MINDBENDERS!
B: Actually, it’s worth mentioning…the lyrics to “I’m Every Woman” were written by a man.
G: Fuck me.
B: I just actually realized that, but in the meantime…
B: So, this is actually the first time i’ve looked at any (music-related) video footage of Whitney since before Saturday.
G: Oh man. I tore up her Vevo channel on Saturday night.
B: Even though i wasn’t the hugest Whitney fan…still a little uncomfortable for me to watch and difficult to digest.
G: My initial reaction was a little stronger than I would have guessed.
I definitely had an urge to be out at a club with her music bumpin’. The Whitney album also reminds me of a very specific part of my youth.
There’s something about “I Wanna” – it’s not her vocal masterpiece, but as Drew mentioned, it has this definite vibe.
B: It’s just a fun-ass song. Great to sing along with.
Back to the matter at hand.
Watching this makes me realize that as popular as Whitney was in the mid-late 1980s, The Bodyguard is what cemented her place in history.
B: Man, if there is one song i’ll remember in my lifetime as being ubiquitous, it’s “I Will Always Love You.”
G: In this video, there’s this aura of confidence coming from her.
B: It’s pretty cliche to say a woman is radiant when she is expecting, but that’s the vibe i get. Just pure joy.
G: Let’s face it – if anyone was going to cover this Chaka classic and do it justice, there was really only one option.
B: Pretty much…i’m glad this one hasn’t been covered very often. It’s also cool to see all the little cameos in the video.
B: …and Chaka…and Whitney’s mom.
So, how did I find out that Nick Ashford alone wrote “I’m Every Woman,” you ask?
G: I do!
G: Oh wow!
B: Color me surprised, although, not to speak obnoxiously about the deceased
but…this is Nick Ashford.
He may have been totally heterosexual, but he hits the effeminate button hard.
G: It’s true.
B: Which is cool. Be in touch with your feminine side!
G: Don’t have to tell me.
Valerie Simpson sings the shit out of this
G: I’ve also always liked the key changes in this track.
B: Yeah, this song is actually pretty complex. Only a master class of vocalist can handle this.
G: Steely Dan could play the hell out of this groove.
B: That’s kinda left field, but Steely Dan could probably play the hell out of anything
(as could Toto.)
I wonder who the studio musicians were…grrr…Wikipedia doesn’t say. Oh wait, I have the fucking album!
G: Of course you do!
B: Looks like a good chunk of the Average White Band played on it.
So….there ya have it. Which one do you prefer, Mr. Dr. Gonzo sir?
G: The Ashford and Simpson cut is great, but I think it’s clearly the lesser of the three.
B: It’s also a live version, which sorta disqualifies it i guess.
G: It’s a tough call, but…I think I’m going to repeat my recent pattern and say Whitney. That’s not just post-mortem sympathy.
I love Chaka’s version, but Whitney fucking OWNS that song.
It may also be a product of my initial familarity with Whitney’s version.
B: See, i’m gonna have to disagree with you there. Whitney’s performance is great, very spirited.
Chaka’s is much more “womanly”, and sort of suggestive.
G: Good point.
B: However, the production pushes Chaka over the edge here.
Whitney’s version already sounds more dated than Chaka’s did.
G: The early ’90s production did not hold up well for anyone.
I love so much of that stuff, but you can date it so easily.
Damn C&C Music Factory.
G: I WAS MAKING A PUN, BLERD!
B: (late on the draw) I’m so embarrassed!
G: Me and my sister played the hell out of that tape (Gonna Make You Sweat.)
B: I loved side one. It was pretty front-loaded. Much like The Bodyguard. Hey, do you remember this song?
G: Ah yes.
I think i knew this before I knew the Bill Withers original.
G: Requisite early ’90s beefcake at 1:40.
B: …and a very subtle Tribe sample.
G: What’s the sample?
B: The beginning of Check The Rhime. It’s looped throughout the entire song.
G: How did I miss that?
G: So you’re going for Chaka then?
B: Yes sir. And now…off to dinner.
G: Well I’ll leave you to it. A pleasure as always!
B: This was a good one! Although written under sad circumstances.
So, we’ve achieved a rare split. Dr. Gonzo goes with Whitney Houston, while Blerd prefers the original by Chaka Khan. However, they both agree that each version of the song is pretty awesome.