Walk On By

In 1969 Isaac spotted the funk in Dionne’s 1963 OG. The clipped rhythm, not the orchestra or brass parps, his focus. Not to take anything away from Ms. Warwick’s pitch perfect performance. The rapture of rejection. The hombre Hayes slowed the song right down. To a tortured crawl. Giving the arrangement a Morricone score melodrama. The fat beat and fuzzbox guitar twinned with Gainsbourg & Vannier’s Cargo Culte. The solo like a knife being twisted. Pins pricking a voodoo doll. The piece’s protagonist scorned, betrayed, tied, and chained. Unable to avert his gaze. Head not held high, but on his knees to testify. To the agony, and ecstasy. 

“You socked it to me momma, when you said goodbye…”

Whatever possessed him? Was it the need to prove that R&B, soul music, could be symphonic, and not confined to a 2, 3 minute pop song? Tired of his music being marginalized, belittled. Ignored. It was definitely a huge defiant gesture. 

Coming on like a substance – coke or acid? – addled epic. But love is the drug.* The horn section hitting a locked, looped crescendo half-way through. Segueing into hammered Hammond organ and mad, maniacal wah-wah guitar. Then finally dropping to its famous break. For just 20, 30 seconds before the close.

An influence on the recording, and remixing, of Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, Andrew Weatherall, on the radio, once recommended that you make sure you’re sitting comfortably for its 12 minute entirety. A slice of Burt Bacharach-penned Hot Buttered Soul to get lost in.

*Though it does sound incredible when stoned. 

Thank you Andrew, Isaac, and thank you Burt Bacharach.

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