Thursday, June 7, 2012
Where is Joe Simon?
Since the fiasco of May Day, I've become too disillusioned with the Occupy movement--most specifically, with Occupy Oakland--to care much anymore. I'm still a supporter, and I'll still come out for the big events, but the movement anarchists played all of us for suckers, not least me. They've given absolutely no ground, whilst the rest of us--the pacifists, the dreaded NVers, the socialists, the communists, the horrible liberals, and the pathetic reformers have given them everything they wanted. And for what? Tiny FTP marches and GAs that no one attends (to the point where quorums are now, apparently, no longer required).
So until the movement moves back towards the far left and stops being a pathetic street gang, I'm done.
Which somehow brings me to Joe Simon and his 1975 LP, Get Down, and it's fabulously tacky cover.
This album has absolutely no business being anywhere near as good as it is. With its title hinting of all things disco, it should have been a career misstep for Mr. Simon. Better men than he--hello, Wilson Pickett and Tyrone Davis--adopted the disco sound wholeheartedly, to unhappy effect.
Whilst Get Down does occasionally nod in disco's direction, however, it remains at heart a southern soul album--despite track one, side one being a little ditty entitled Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor). Strangely enough, it was recorded in New York City (cue Pace Salsa commercial cowboys), but it's one of those rare albums where the liner notes truly tell the story: as Joe relates, "Months before the actual recording of this album, when (co-producer Raeford Gerald) and I first got together, I felt something special."
This is one of the best soul albums of the '70s, and it ends with its two most memorable tracks: the heart-rending ballads Still At the Mercy of Your Love and the monumental It's Crying Time in Memphis.
Joe Simon is still with us, but he no longer seems to be performing secular material. He's only 68 years old, and I'd pay a substantial sum to see him tread the boards again. C'mon, Joe...Get Down again for my sake, just one more time!