17 October 2005

lorraine ellison - "stay with me" (from the best of loma records, available for purchase here.)

in brief : this whole post: due to a shaving accident earlier today, i'm typing w/ nine fingers.

not much of a fan of literary criticism, vladimir nabokov put forth that the mark of a good poem is a "telltale tingle between the shoulder-blades."

lorraine ellison's "stay with me" is a song that paralyzes the critical faculties, and much else besides. as i write this i'm preparing an answer to my own challenge of the other day, songs that one would like to see appear on a john peel-esque tribute to oneself--"stay with me" will be one of those songs, a song that i've played to just about everyone i meet. it's been the last song on every mix of mine that it's appeared on and it's also been sequenced last on every compilation that has collected it and, as you'll hear, there's a v. good reason for this.

the force of ellison's vocal is said to have shook the walls and nearly have broken the tape, but its emotional power exceeds even that. it is a song that meets nabokov's standard and then some, as the session players are said to have dropped their instruments in awe, while others broke into tears. even on tape, the impression is scarcely less powerful: it produces a sinking feeling in the pit of one's stomach, gooseflesh on one's arms, and, yes, a tingle between the shoulder-blades, and down the spine. it is music that is as raw and exposed as the flesh on my left index finger.

play it loud--and for everyone you know.

1 comment:

Tom said...

This is one monster of a song. Definite props for it.