Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Interpretations

I have always been somewhat of a fan of the songwriting of Bachrach/David, especially those songs they farmed out to Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick. There is often a hint of real pathos in the lyrics, which are somewhat sweetened by the never ending progression of 9th and 11th chords. In 1966 they wrote songs for the soundtrack to What's New Pussycat? and among the odds and ends is an odd little minor key ditty named My Little Red Book. From the point of view of the gentlemen with the little red book, he has met his match with one particular girl. This swinging sixties dude realizes that she is the real deal, but unfortunately for him she has moved on.

So here are two versions of the song. The first, performed by Manfred Mann, starts off with an awesome piano pounding. The second - only a link here as there is no embed available - is Love's transmogrification and perhaps one of the oddest and most endearing relics of that transitional period between pop rock and psychedelia, with some garage rock thrown in for good measure. It starts much simpler, with a thudding repeated bass note. The minor key is discarded for a less fussy yet almost atonal harmonic structure. This video of the original Love line-up is perhaps their only filmed testament.

I know which version I prefer but will leave it to you to decide for yourself.

All I did was talk about you
Hear your name and I'd start to cry
There's just no getting over you... oh, no...

There ain't no girl in my little red book
Who could ever replace your charms
And each girl in my little red book
Knows you're the one I'm thinkin' of
Oh won't you please come back
Without your precious love I can't go on
Where can love be I need you so much

My Little Red Book-Love

1 comment:

Holly A Hughes said...

Nice comparison of the two. I love Bacharach-David too, as any self-respecting Dusty fan would. (And you know Elvis C is a huge fan as well.) I agree that one of the great things about this songwriting partnership is the combo of extraordinary tunes with incisive, edgy lyrics. They were the perfect team to cover the mid-60s seismic shift in sexual relations, and this song is Exhibit A in that overthrow of the status quo.