Daily Song Study

Concrete Blonde – Little Wing

In songs on July 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm

One of the most far-reaching developments in rock history was the merging of the roles of songwriter and performer. This can largely be credited to the Beatles, although certainly folk singers had done it previously, but once it was decided that writing one’s own songs lent an air of authenticity, suddenly everyone had to be both creator and performer.

This has been both a good and bad development. Many are the exquisitely talented singers who croon their own subpar tunes and stay at a middling career level, and legion are the songwriters who can’t sing their way out of a paper bag, thus consigning otherwise decent tunes to obscurity. I myself have often thought it would be extremely liberating to turn my own songs over to a really badass singer to deliver the shit out of them. May do that yet.

So it’s nice to see a great meeting of the talents from time to time, such as today’s example.

The song, Little Wing, was written brilliantly by Jimi Hendrix, who I consider to be an average vocalist (much to the consternation of Hendrix necrostalkers), albeit an extremely innovative guitarist. However, on this version, we are treated to the phenomenal pipes of Concrete Blonde vocalist Johnette Napolitano, someone who, sadly, often doesn’t write songs that properly showcase her talent. And call me crazy (people do), but I really like James Mankey’s guitar work on this version, an interesting contrast to the looser Hendrix style.

Great song, great performance, that should ultimately be the goal, right? Authenticity be damned.

  1. You gotta be kidding

  2. Never. Well, mostly never.

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