Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hank Crawford, 1934-2009


Just how important was Hank Crawford? David Sanborn's introductory comments in this video hint at the answer. Without Crawford's inspiration, the one-time television program host suggests, he probably wouldn't have pursued music. Sanborn speaks for countless saxophonists who modeled their sound in large part on Crawford's work with Ray Charles. Along with a select group of men including King Curtis, Red Holloway and David "Fathead" Newman, Crawford created the soul-blues-jazz hybrid that's now so fully absorbed into the musical mainstream that it's become a cliche. But don't blame Crawford. He remained soulful on his later recordings, as heard on this 2000 album. Crawford died last week. (Tip via BGO.)

Am I sexist? Racist? Xenophobic? A hip hop apologist? I'm shocked by the frank sexual content on Lily Allen's new album. The same language doesn't bother me nearly as much when it comes from a male American rapper.

Kansas City Click: I'm seriously considering catching Christian star Chris Tomlin tonight at the Sprint Center.


m.v. said...

I have the same problem with language and sexes: I like George Carlin and other cuss-word using male comedians but can't stand Lisa Lampanelly and other cussing female comedians.

jonderneathica said...

I thought a lot about the Lily Allen question yesterday. I think that we men are OK with female sexuality in music when it's not graphic: euphemisms ranging from the "sugar in my bowl" to the "genie in a bottle" are very popular. Female self-gratification is OK if it is vaguely described, like "She Bop" and "I Touch Myself". Even more explicit female sexuality is tolerated if it's objectified (Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Khia, etc.)

When women complain about men as unsatisfactory (or coercive and abusive) sexual partners, I get uncomfortable. The lyrical content of "Tattooed Love Boys" still bothers me, though I love the song. I like Lucinda Williams' recent song "Come On", but I would hate to be the guy she was telling off.

jonderneathica said...

Lily Allen goes a step further, and I honestly feel sorry for her. I think she saw Liz Phair's frank sexuality (and maybe even Alanis Morrisette's) as a career move. Shocking songs about sex get attention. Even Britney Spears knows that.

Lily Allen says in the new Blender magazine that the guy who left her "in a wet spot" after she "spent ages giving head" doesn't know that the song's about him. Maybe she should have expressed her sexual dissatisfaction to him more directly, but then she wouldn't have a controversial new song.

jonderneathica said...

I think Lucinda Williams is one of the few contemporary female artists who writes songs about her sexuality that are comparable in quality to erotic poetry. She doesn't stoop to crude metaphors, and she doesn't portray herself in song as a passive object of male desire. She sings about her own desires and needs, much as Bessie Smith and other female blues artists did.

I also think that Shirley Horn's song "The Island" (from her 1997 album Loving You, released when she was 63 years old!) is a paean to the female orgasm that is far more subtle and tender than "I Feel Love". Clearly, I think about these things way too much.

Happy In Bag said...

Thanks, Jon and M.V., for confirming that you share my discomfort.

I intend to purchase Allen's album Tuesday, but it'll be in spite of these unfortunate references.

And Jon, I don't disagree with any of your assessments. I'll only add that when Missy Elliott gets dirty, she does it with such a sly sense of humor that it somehow works.