Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Artist of the week that a old head told me to check out: Donny Hathaway
Since it has been a month already and Saxophone Willy has only given me one artist that I hadn't hear of, I went to his dingy Jazz hang out with pretty low expectations in terms of being introduced to new music. When I get to the door I am greeted warmly by Dennis the Doorman, which is weird because usually he gives me the ice grill while frisking me, with that "What in the fuck are YOU doing here?" look on his face. When I get two steps into the door he says, "Hey dude, I love your blog!!" I thanked him, wondering how in the fuck he even knew about my daily online ramblings. As I walk down the hall, even before I walk in the club fully, I can tell that Saxophone Wily is playing a jamming set with his band. I grab a rum and coke and begin to actually enjoy myself, I guess my new found relaxed attitude had to do with me finally coming to grips that I was going to write about whoever Willy suggested and stop being so fucking anal, unlike Star Jones' husband. This particular night I was pretty cleaned up, I shaved, and I wore a suit for an occasion that didn't include me watching two people be each others ball and chain, or watching some miserable bastard be put in the ground six feet deep. After Willy finished his set he called me on stage, which wasn't a problem because I just thought that he was going to give an impromptu speech about what a "nice young man" I was, or some shit like that.
But when I got up there he informed me that he hipped his band-mates to my blog, and it got even more embarrassing when his backup singer Sarah said that I was her favorite "Chubby Ejaculator". I guess I deserved that in a "I made my bed so I have to lay in it" sort of way, so I just played to the crowd and said "That's right ladies, I'll dazzle your insides in 4 minutes flat. That's what I do!!" They chuckled, but right when I was about to leave the stage Saxophone Willy said, "Where in the fuck do you think you are going?? We have to do the artist of the week." He then said something that would horrify me, he said "The artist of the Week is Donny Hathaway, and the first song you are going to sing is "Jealous Guy.(Turning to the bad) One, two, one-tow-three-four!" I stood there for a few moments hoping that it was a joke but it wasn't, so I grabbed the microphone and did my best rendition of the song that I could muster.(Thank god I knew the words) As I was singing I really saw the difference between being in a rock band and singing that song, I mean, I could get away with my vocal shortcomings in a rock band but singing soul exposes a non singer faster than the Ying Yang Twins in a rap battle. I got through it and it was fun, but I'm not even going to go into the rendition of "The Closer I get to you" that I was forced to do with his backup singer Sarah. That being said I had a blast, I looked good for once, I became a soul singer for one night, and this time it didn't cost me a bottle of booze.
Donny Hathaway was born on October 1st, 1945 in Chicago but raised in St. Louis, a legendary soul man that you should already know about. If you don't know about this melodic tour de force, ask you parents about him and learn something, that is if you can sit through them openly questioning their parenting skills because of your lack of knowledge. Playing the piano since he was a child, he earned a fine arts scholarship to Howard University, a school he attended for three years until he decided to pursue jobs in the music industry. Best known for his duets with Roberta Flack, he was a songwriter and a producer for the likes of Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, Jerry Butler, and Curtis Mayfield. But the man shined brightly on his own, I still feel that his record "Everything is Everything" should not only be in steady rotation for anyone who considers themselves a music fan, but it should be part of the musical syllabus for anyone who wants to consider themselves a soul singer. Donny Hathaway died on January 13th, 1979 in what was an apparent suicide, he was discovered on the ground below his 15th floor hotel room. For a taste of Donny Hathaway's music, and to hear the original song that I butchered a few nights back, take your silly ass to my myspace page and check it out.