As I've probably mentioned too many times, MSR is not my favorite label. And so it was some surprise that I came to rediscover this weird little gem, from another category I don't much like, 1980's song-poems.
Over the past few weeks, I've been reviewing some comments and other notes I made about song-poems, when I was first getting in to them, nearly two decades ago. One song, with no reference to the singer, was referred to as "With You". Now that's a fairly generic title, and in fact, when I searched the AS/PMA for the phrase, I got hits on more than 40 of its pages. Narrowing it down to only the song-poem labels on which I would have owned records in those early days, and to songs which had "With You", as the entire title, and that narrowed it down to one label and one song, MSR and Gina Genova's rendition of "With You".
I dug into the box containing my "song-poems I never need to listen to again", and dug it out, and sure enough, it's weird in unpredictable ways and rises above what I would have expected from that label in that era. The appeal to me here is the rather unexpected lyrics, and the attempt to shoehorn them into a tender ballad, which, for me, just plays up how badly that attempt works. The opening lyrics appear to be:
You always felt eager (?) for the pastries I baked you
You sewed me an apron, ???? blue
You spent hours repairing bikes,
made a case to put behind their well-worn seats
Actually, that's all sort of sweet - what I can make out of it, anyway, but at the same time, those lines don't scan very well as lyrics to a melody.
I'll also mention that the recording quality on this record is horrendous, the singer's words are very difficult to make out at times (witness my attempt, above), due to overly bass-ie sound, and I've tried to clean it up a bit, so I'm posting it twice, once with its original sound, and then again in a version attempting to improve that sound. Admittedly, the effort was less than successful.
Here is the original record:
And here's an attempt to clean it up a bit:
On the flip side, we have the consistently, resolutely awful Bill Joy (who sang the first song-poem I ever heard which was identified as a song-poem, "How Long Are You Staying", with some singularly banal lyrics, arrangement and melody, on the song "Be a Friend":