Song of the Week is not really a feature on this blog but I make an exception in this case because this week I have been learning, playing and thinking about funk/soul classic If I Ever Lose This Heaven by the Average White Band.
I left school in 1975 and in order to celebrate that glorious crossroads-of-my-life feeling I bought AWB’s Cut The Cake
album and listened to it constantly throughout most of that carefree, long-ago summer. The song that particularly struck me was If I Ever Lose This Heaven
. Recently I decided to return to it. Much of my playing at home has been song focussed – where I learn a song I love and see how it fits together and analyse why it appeals to me. More often than not, it’s a certain twist in the chord progression where it takes a less-travelled road yet still manages to sound natural and pleasing. The chords for If I Ever Lose This Heaven
starts with a III V I movement which I have used in Chico Chica’s yet-to-be-recorded Red River
. It also happens at the start of the verse in Marvin Gaye’s Sunny
For years I assumed The Average White Band wrote If I Ever Lose This Heaven
– I’ve never been one for reading credits so alas, will never become a ‘buff’ in anything. In the previous year, Quincy Jones released Body Heat
which features Minnie Ripperton, Al Jarreau and the song’s composer Leon Ware so it was natural for the boys from Aberdeen to pick it for Cut The Cake
‘s sole cover. They borrowed a few of Quincy’s arranging ideas and I suspect they got the free blowing section at the beginning from Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay
which came out in 1970.
Staying on the nostalgia theme, I remember as a boy going to the cinema to watch a film and I can’t remember which. It was common in those days to put on what in rock concert terms would be called a supporting act. The film was about a boy with a pet kestrel called Kes – a bit like calling your dog Doggy but there you go. I hated it for the first few minutes and then I slowly became drawn into the characters and story. The film was by Ken Loach. I had never seen another of his films until last night. I am not an avid film watcher and my cinephile friends are appalled at how few I have watched over the years. This is something I want to put to rights so last night I went to see I, Daniel Blake. This lack of cinematic education made me nervous about organising a cinema trip. Originally I wanted to see American Honey but the timings didn’t suit. The genre of I, Daniel Blake is social realism. And it certainly didn’t disappoint in that respect. Daniel Blake is a man going through grim times, and in the course of the film they get ever grimmer and then (spoiler alert) he dies. Today I read a review. The writer said she cried. This made me feel bad because I stayed dry-eyed throughout which probably means I’m an emotional cripple.
Tomorrow (Sunday 23rd October 2016) 1pm-4pm, I will be performing solo guitar at Nova Restaurant and Bar, 20 Chiswick High Rd, London W4 2ND. I may be performing If I Ever Lose This Heaven. I do hope you can support me. Nova have a very good, weekly Sunday carvery – highly recommended.