Tuesday Revival

So please don’t call me lazy, but today I am literally going to post directly from another blog. I know that this must be breaking the blogger code in some form or fashion, but Levi’s Pioneer Sessions do such a great job of explaining and describing the beauty of their musical revival project that I just can’t paraphrase. So today I am going to just let them do the work. The Pioneer Sessions were devised to give current rock, pop, country and blues artists the chance to give thanks and celebrate the musicians that inspired their sound. Levi’s set up recording sessions for contemporary artists to remaster the songs that paved their way, giving a shout out to the greats that inspired them in their own endeavors. I am posting Raphael Saadiq’s session, but all of them are worth a listen….

Raphael Saadiq is enjoying the third act of a distinguished R&B career. As part of Tony! Toni! Toné!, Saadiq (back then he went by Raphael Wiggins) turned out numerous chart-topping R&B singles in the late ’80s and early ’90s, several of which – including “Little Walter” and “It Feels Good” – ended up on the pop charts. He then turned his attention to Lucy Pearl, a supergroup he formed with En Vogue’s Dawn Robinson and A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad. But Saadiq truly found his visionary voice when he struck out on his own. Released in 2002 his album Instant Vintage was, in its title alone, a statement of purpose.

With one foot firmly planted in R&B tradition and another kicking forward, Saadiq offered the genre a direction apart from the tired New Jack sounds. Six years later he’d release a modern masterpiece with The Way I See It, a recording deeply influenced by classic Motown, with a lush modern production and topical lyrics.Saadiq grew up during an amazing time for R&B. It seems likely that the Spinners’ “It’s a Shame” was heard often when he was a kid. Hailing from Detroit the ensemble perfected a smooth, fluid vocal approach and released complex songs that would help define R&B into the ’70s. Saadiq chose to re-craft the band’s pop hit “It’s a Shame,” a precise and concise plea to a wrong-doing woman co-authored by the great Stevie Wonder. Saadiq runs his velvety voice through the song, updating the iconic jingling guitar and bubbling bassline of the original.



Raphael Saadiq, “It’s A Shame”


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