Blerd: Ya there?
Dr. Gonzo: Sure am, boss!
 B: Sweet!
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.
G: Alas…
 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.
 G: Indeed.
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.
G: TLC!
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: Hmmmmmmmm…
B: Hmmmmmmmm??
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.
R.I.P. Whitney
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