Monday, March 31, 2014

NOT What He Had in Mind!

Given the title of this record, and the current hype here in the U.S. over all things basketball, I felt a strong pull to name this post after a catchphrase frequently uttered by sportscaster Marv Alpert. It seems appropriate.

However, I was also tempted to name this post "Thank God for Gary Roberts" or "The Inimitable Gary Roberts". For every time I get to hear a Gary Roberts record, I feel that, in a way, my day is complete, but in another way, I feel cheated - there are so FEW of them! Why can't there be as many Gary Roberts records as there are Mike Thomas records.

For as many of you know, Gary Roberts was singularly unable to look at a piece of music and sight-read it effectively, while simultaneously sounding like he knows the song AND sounding like he's the least bit involved with what he's singing - all of which are key talents for a song-poem vocalist. He is, in a sense, the anti-Gene Marshall. His greatest moment has to be "Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood and Brush" (I'd throw a few votes towards "Keep Those Hopes Us" for second place). But today's feature is no slouch either.

Part of the credit goes to the fairly awful lyrical content here. Really, who'd want to have this set of words directed towards him or her. It certainly sounds like the writer plans on staying with the beloved to whom the words are directed, but those words are largely ones of complaint and dismissiveness, aren't they? And don't phrases like "a challenging disappointment" just slip freely over this midtempo shuffle beat?

But just wait - this may be the most obnoxious set of song-poem lyrics (or any other lyrics) you've heard in some time:

I know I am the kind of man
that I good woman wants and needs,
and feels obligated to,
And knows, in return,
I can understand her shortcomings,
and say "I love you".
But you're not who I had in mind.

It's hard to make those words worse than they are, but Gary Roberts' hesitating, soulless and flat delivery do the job.

The flip side, "The Old Good Book", is little more than a schoolmarm-ish lecture set to music, although I do wonder what "My tender God care" means - perhaps I'm hearing that wrong.

Gary's reading of this song again convinces me that the studio could hardly have done worse if they'd pulled in the first person walking by outside and asked him or her to sing.

Happy CUBS Season, Everyone!!!

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