Listen: Stay With Me / Lorraine Ellison LorraineStay.mp3
I was thinking about my previous post (The Exciters) and a whole lot of Bert Burns details kept coming to mind, like one of his reportedly last songs, written with Jerry Ragovoy, being ‘Piece Of My Heart’. After being made super famous by Big Brother & The Holding Company, there really was no point in trying to compete with a re-recordings, although some did. Janis Joplin clearly had a definitive knowledge of the great RnB singers at that time. I remember her being interviewed by Dick Cavett and mentioning her favorite being Tina Turner. Neither he nor the silent audience knew who that was. She dug up and recorded greats by Garnet Mimms, Bobby Womack, Howard Tate and obviously Jerry Ragovoy (who wrote many of the aforementioned); undeniably making them hers.
There’s a cd compilation currently available, TIME IS ON MY SIDE – THE JERRY RAGOVOY STORY 1953-2003. I highly suggest getting a copy. It overviews an impressive array of styles, but mostly pure RnB. One of the songs it includes is ‘Stay With Me’ by Lorraine Ellison. Now oddly enough, I love her version even though I don’t love love love her voice. I like her an awful lot, but prefer a bit more husk. When combining her with Ragovoy’s songs though, it always works.
Now the following is a true story. If someone were to tell it to me, I wouldn’t believe them – it’s so far fetched. About 8 years ago, I went down to the village to meet Kate Hyman for lunch. She was looking at a small, really run down (needed gutting to be exact), brownstone and suggested we meet there (just off Carmine Street), have a look and go eat. I love looking at property and she knew it – so bang, we had a plan. A mutual friend, Glen Schiller, was the agent and he walked us through the then rotting, water damaged debris of a home – now renovated and clearly worth a fortune. I was a little timid about going up the stairs but followed along. There was literally nothing, and I mean nothing, in the building except a perfect, US promo copy of Lorraine Ellison’s ‘Stay With Me’ (the second issue – pictured at the top) propped against a bedroom wall. I know – you think I’m lying. I swear on my Mother’s life – this is true. I couldn’t believe it. There should have been a faint sound of ‘magic’ or ‘angels’ or ‘fairydust’ backgrounding my arm reaching down and chiming when as fingers met the sleeve, just in the movies.
This copy was mint. The sleeve factory fresh. What the fuck was this doing here? I asked Glen – he didn’t have a clue and said “Take it”. Well you only need to say that to me once. I did. So there you go – meant to be.