OK there’s no point trying to change the world first time out so I’m gonna ease myself gently in.
3 songs. All less than 2 minutes long. All perfect. With the world’s attention span shot to hell this could be a way forward for music.
First up the Box Tops first hit. The oh-so-young Alex Chilton, already gravel voiced finding the top 10 success which would evade him when he made the music he wanted to with Big Star.
The hands of Dan Penn are all over this classic single. Alex must have copied Penn’s demo vocal.You don’t just get a voice like that by yourself at 16 years old.
Curtis Mayfield wrote so many great songs under 2 minutes. The early Okeh singles with the Butler brothers, his songs for Major Lance ,show a young man sharpening his chops. They are not all “Gypsy Woman” but even those celebrating some imaginary dance craze have the lightness of touch unique to him. With the Impressions he hit the motherlode writing hit after hit. There’s more gospel around in this music than there was in the pop-soul at Okeh. “It’s Alright” is 1.51 straight from the church. Too short for you ? Then listen again.
Finally I got to pay my respects to the good folk who got me here. There’s a bunch of great short punk singles but my people would only want to hear one by some of their own. God bless the Undertones for this optimistic view at a time when it looks as if summer ain’t showing up this year. This clip might be short so that Steve Wright can talk crap out of our telly but the single still comes in under 2 minutes. Style.