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Song of the Day #996

Song of the Day: Found a Cure, a #1 dance track from 1979, was written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. It appears on the Ashford & Simpson album, "Stay Free." Ashford passed away on 22 August 2011. But he left behind a musical legacy that still provides the cure; listen to the energetic, soulful 12" remix on YouTube.

Comments

This isn't my favorite song but it is a good one. Normally, I'd choose "I Am The Walrus." Since the Beatles, however, are already well represented (Strawberry Fields, She Said, She Said), I'll go with "The Boxer." Simon's acoustic guitar tracks are exquisitely detailed, expanding on the textures he wove so convincingly on "Mrs. Robinson." Set upon the implacable heartbeat of the kick drum, they dance and flutter like solemn butterflies. Very few major artists could get away with the opening line to this song, but Simon's delivery not only suspends mundane reality, it welcomes the listener into a story so matter-of-factly that one simply assumes it's authenticity. Garfunkle's intimate, intuitive harmony is so finely crafted and performed that it's nearly transparent; like the guitars, it focuses attention on the song, rather than itself. The inclusion of the bass harmonica compliments and emphasizes the narrative so well, that it achieves an aura of inevitability. It is nearly impossible to imagine the song without it. Then one comes across that ephemeral guitar solo. Because the guitarist uses the volume knob or foot pedal to allow the notes to swell into being, the solo appears to glide into and out of awareness; a ghost moving serenely through the mist. Simon stated, in a long-ago interview, that he was initially opposed to an extended ending for this song. At that time, "Hey Jude" had just recently taken that concept to the limits of pop utility (and then some!) and he didn't want to appear to be contrived. Fortunately, Garfunkle and Halee convinced him otherwise. And so it is, that after one of Simon's most profoundly moving verses (listen to the restrained delivery on the last quatrain.....it HURTS), we are treated to layer upon layer of sonic textures, opening upon some facet of the many emotions implicit in the song. Simon DID prove his instincts were correct when, at the very end, everything drops out, save the acoustic guitars and a brief, haunting voice that seems to be singing to itself. Well, enough.

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