Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Nick Weaver, Deep Sea Arcade – Donny Hathaway – LIVE (1972)
This record has been useful for finding out who my real friends are, because I have forced it down everyone’s throat incessantly for the last 15 years. I think I’ve listened to it once a week at the very least since a music teacher showed it to me in my teens. I can hum along to every slight nuance of every instrument, yet I seem to hear something new in it every time.
My usual feeling about live recordings is that I’d rather listen to the inevitably more carefully orchestrated, better mixed studio albums, but this is the one exception. The audience in this small club is like one of the instruments. They sing along like a gospel choir and they clap along like percussionists. When they take over completely during the chorus of ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ I can feel the joy in the room with such clarity that I would sell all of my limbs to be transported back to 1972 and roll my torso around on the floor in ecstasy.
It’s also easy to be dubious about covers, which is what the best parts of this record are. But these covers have become my favourite versions of the songs, and when I listen to the original versions I feel like things are missing in the arrangements, or they’re too fast, or not nasty enough. It’s a loaded thing to say about songs written by John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Carole King and I have fought about it embarrassingly with acquaintances at dinner parties. But Donny’s versions are delivered with such ownership and originality, and at the same time, total respect for where they came from. He can turn a rock song into a soul song without losing its intention, and he can take a soul song and just make it bounce along a little more than it did before.
The last thing I want to add is that I’m primarily a bass player, and I absolutely hate bass solos. They serve no purpose except allowing time for a bathroom break without missing the last chorus. No bass solo has ever needed to exist ever. Just delete them all. Except the bass solo at the end of this record.
So this is my love letter to Donny Hathaway Live. I love you. You are the exception to so many of my rules. You put me in a good mood whenever you’re around.
Let’s have some kids and hope they look like you and I’ll use them to find out who my real friends are. xxxxx
Deep Sea Arcade
Sydney-based group Deep Sea Arcade have just unveiled their simply stunning sophomore record ‘Blacklight’, a refreshing rinse of disco-powered electro-soul that we’d happily drown ourselves in more than once. Stream it below.