Give Me Five…Featuring Ruth Brown

Friday Eve, with an overflowing to-do list for work. Its that end of the work-week blues, almost there, but not there yet. Its hard to stay focused, but I’m trying. Music helps keep me going. Taking breaks to write about music keeps me going, too. Keeps my soul intact, or at least keeps it from sinking into the depths of hell that are excel sheets and power point deck design. If only writing about music could be my day job.

What do you do to feed your soul if your “day job” doesn’t do the trick? Music? Writing? Something else?

Give Me Five – May 6, 2021

You can listen and follow along with May’s Give Me Five at Spotify and YouTube

Song 1: “I Don’t Know” by Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown "I Don't Know" Give Me Five
“I Don’t Know” by Ruth Brown – from the single “I Don’t Know” (1959)

“If I gave him my heart,
would he refuse it?
Would he tear it apart,
or tenderly use it?”

I woke up with this song in my head. I didn’t even know I knew this song, not readily, at least. I mean, I’ve heard it before, but it wasn’t in my conscious musical go-to knowledge. My subconscious though, she sometimes has a different collection to pull from.

Ruth Brown was the first of many to perform and record “I Don’t Know”, a song written by Brook Benton and Bobby Stevenson. (source: Wikipedia)

This is the version I had playing in my head, though it took some searching to figure out first the song title, and then the artist.

I’ve been reading up on Ruth Brown while having my morning coffee. Wow, what a career. She was even in a John Waters film – playing Motormouth Maybelle Stubbs, in Hairspray (I remember her!)

I’m going to be playing her music as I attack that monster to-do list today. Thanks subconscious brain for today’s soundtrack.

Ruth Brown "I Don't Know" Give Me Five Song 1

Song 2: “Can’t Do Much” by Waxahatchee

Waxahatchee "Can't Do Much" Give Me Five
“Can’t Do Much” by Waxahatchee – from the album, Saint Cloud (2020)

“We will coalesce our heaven and hell.
My eyes roll around like dice on the felt.
My mind turns to something useless and trite.
My uneasiness, materialize.”

I feel like my slow burn love for Waxhatchee is at a full blaze now. This kind of musical slow burn starts out with a song discovered, that I play, and play again. A song I keep returning to. Then another song, and another, until I notice how often the artist/band is coming up in my suggested listens, or how often I’m seeking them out. After awhile it hits me, yep, I am fully in love now. They are part of my music-soundtrack now.

That’s where I am now with Waxahatchee.

I think this was the first song I heard. The one that started the burn.

If you want to hear more Waxahatchee, or support the music, go here.

Waxahatchee "Can't Do Much" Give Me F Song 2

Song 3: “Tiny Smiles” by Lush

Lush "Tiny Smiles" GMF
“Tiny Smiles” by Lush – from the album, Spooky (1992)

“Come, sit with me.
Slide on my knee.
Sing just for me.
And for a while.
I’ll make you smile.”

1992 is one of a few very significant times in my life. Because of this, all the music I listened to, and loved, from that year is imprinted on me. The songs hold so many memories, but I feel like they are more than just memory-triggers, they represent a part of me – a coming-of-age part of my story – that is interlaced with all that happened in that year.

“Tiny Smiles” is one of those songs.

Lush "Tiny Smiles" GMF Song 3

Song 4: “New Birth In New England” by Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent "New Birth In New England" Give Me Five
“New Birth In New England” by Phosphorescent – from the album, C’est La Vie (2018)

“I said, “Don’t I know you?
Honey, don’t I know you?
Honey, don’t I know you?”

I discovered Phosphorescent, in 2013, when I fell hard for “Song For Zola”. I was so obsessed with it – the song ending up on almost every playlist I made, and getting added into any 5 songs I raved about.

I’ve been a fan ever since.

This song is so catchy. Makes me instantly happier, too. Turn it up. Maybe it will make you feel happier, too.

If you want to hear more Phosphorescent, or support the music, please go here.

Phosphorescent "New Birth In New England" Give Me F Song 4

Song 5: “Under Pressure” by Karen O and Willie Nelson

Karen O and Willie Nelson "Under Pressure" Give Me Five
“Under Pressure” by Karen O and Willie Nelson – from the single, “Under Pressure” (2020)

“Turned away from it all like a blind man.
I sat on a fence but it don’t work.
Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn.
Why, why, why, why?
Oh, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.”

First off, this is so good. So emotional and chill-inducing and seriously has me in tears. A good cover can reinterpret a song, or bring the lyrics out in a new way – and I feel like Karen and Willie’s version does just that.

Though I love Bowie and Queen’s version forever and ever, I never noticed how heartbreaking the lyrics are until now. Wow. The song takes on completely new meaning to me. This version is beautiful.

I’ve loved Willie since I was a little kid, growing up with his songs, and albums, playing in my house. And Karen O, I’ve been a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan since they first came around – and am so glad I got to see them play live at Coachella, back in 2009.

I hope Karen and Willie record more songs together in the future, but if this is the one and only, I will definitely cherish it.

If you want to hear more Karen O, and help support her music, please go here.

If you want to hear more Willie Nelson, and help support his music, please go here.

Karen O and Willie Nelson "Under Pressure" Give Me F Song 5

Any song recommendations you’d be willing to share? Any good covers?

For May’s Give Me Five I’m featuring Kelly Vivanco’s piece “Creekside” as the Cover Art.

GIVE ME FIVE – MAY 2021

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