I haven’t been listening to enough music this past year or so. I used to do most of my listening whilst driving the lengths and breaths of the country or sitting on buses. Since I’ve not been driving much recently nor partaking in public transportation, music has been put on the back burner. This is definitely something I want to remedy as music has always been such an important aspect in my life. I’m not a musician or anything, although I have been told I can hold a tune. The thing is, it’s basically the soundtrack of your life, evoking memories of conversations, places, friends lost and gained, happy and sad times. I have mentioned before that I have quite eclectic taste buds musically, but when I was looking through my ITunes library I just didn’t fancy playing any of the songs in there. I think sometimes you can play something to death and it’s almost like you can never stand to hear it again, not for a good few years at any rate. That’s how I feel about most of the music in my library at the moment. I did try, but it was like fingernails down a chalk board and I just wasn’t feeling any of it.
Whilst rustling something up in the kitchen the other day, I thought I would give The Carpenters a spin. It certainly had been almost a lifetime since I had listened to them. In my early teens, I was often to be found in my room crooning along with Karen whilst back combing my spiral perm with an afro comb and spritzing myself with the latest Impulse Body Spray. Oh my goodness!! They didn’t last long, the lyrics are just so, so sad! I mean, beyond belief depressing. I had to keep skipping through the songs on the album. I was chopping onions but the water running down my cheeks wasn’t all down to them I’m afraid. Goodness knows how I managed to listen to so much of this stuff and remain an upbeat and outgoing teen??? It had to go off in the end. I’m sure there is a time and place for this music to come back into my life, it’s just not now. Although you cannot deny Karen Carpenter’s voice was absolutely magnificent.
Well, that was a bit of a tangent there! This post is about having a moment with Mary J Blige and so lets get around to that story instead. The upshot of the above occurrence was that I decided I needed to be exposed to some newer music. By newer I don’t necessarily mean recent, I just mean new to me. When I am looking for such, I always check out a BBC 2 TV show called Later…..with Jools Holland. It has been going for years. Jools himself is a great musician and the show is renowned for the wide ranging artists that appear. From Later…… I have discovered diverse musical gems such as The Unthanks, Paulo Nutini, Gregory Porter, Thom Yorke and Seasick Steve, to name but a few. A typical show on Later…..mixes performances from new and established artists together in that same studio. It has helped to springboard many careers. The show is in its 43rd series. A line up for an episode from the most recent series included Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Gregory Porter, James Blake, Radkey, and Chas & Dave, wow! So, I knew I could rely on Jools to help me as he has so wonderfully done in the past. I took to You Tube to find some clips and I am ever so grateful to the person who had uploaded a whole 1.5 hour special of the golden moments from 249 episodes of the show. That is where I discovered the amazing performance Mary J did of her song “No More Drama” that I thought I would share with you.
After my Carpenters phase, I transitioned into a heavily R and B influenced late teens and early 20’s. That is when I first discovered Mary J Blige’s music, ‘Whats the 411″ , “My Life” and “Share my world” were what my poor Mum and Dad had to have thump, thumping through their ceiling night after night. The Spiral Perm and Impulse spray now gone, having been replaced with squirts of Sun In spray, a hired Sun Bed and Davidoff Cool Waters (Imagine). Mary, it seems was a troubled soul and having a bit of a time of it for the most part of her early career. Apparently, the song “No More Drama” was written for her when she had finally laid her demons to rest and decided enough was enough. Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson explains that Mary’s performance of this song was one of his stand out moments of Later…., this song is autobiographical and consequently Mary often cries after performing it. I have seen her perform live before, at the height of my Mary love, one of my besties and I took the train to Manchester to see her in concert. I don’t recall much about it, we had to leave way before the end to catch the train home. She was almost 2 hours late coming on stage, one can only assume it was due to drama! I didn’t know what to expect when the clip first started, it all seemed pretty normal, but then wow! She blew me away, she is so emotionally in the song and I totally agree with Trevor when he says that you don’t often see an artist giving so much of themselves in a performance. You can see that Mary totally believes what she is singing about. For me she is outstanding! So here is the clip…
This time Later…. has reacquainted me with an artist who had played such a big part in my formative, drama riddled years. Perhaps I can stomach to give those tunes another whirl? By the way, I totally agree with Mary J, no more drama’s here please, just a nice quiet life is fine thank you.
I Hope you enjoyed the performance as much as I did?