The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball

4/23/2005

Guilty pleasure Saturday: Freda Payne - "Band of Gold"

Is this really a guilty pleasure? Or does everyone agree that "Band of Gold" is one of the great R&B songs, make that one of the great pop songs of all time?

The liner notes to Freda Payne's 1992 Greatest Hits compilation bluntly gets to the heart of this song: is it about a frigid bride or an impotent groom? Freda sings: "I wait in the darkness of my lonely room / Filled with sadness, filled with gloom / Hoping soon / That you'll walk back through that door / And love me like you tried before" Sounds to me like it's a problem that Viagra or Cialis could cure. Unless the groom just doesn't like girls. Hey, it happens sometimes.

When Belinda Carlisle covered "Band of Gold" on her 1986 solo debut Belinda one reviewer said she sounded like a girl in her room singing along to her favorite records. Well why the hell not? The great Holland / Dozier / Holland production makes this one of the alltime great sing-along songs. The guitars processed to sound like sitars for the opening notes (after the drum kicks it off) is a classic pop hook. This has to be the most exuberant tale of failed romance to ever hit the pop charts.

Amazon sells the 11-track Greatest Hits for $12.98; the far more comprehensive 30-track Band of Gold: the Best of Freda Payne goes for only slightly more, $15.98. Alldirect sells the Greatest Hits on the sale for $8.67. So it comes down to how much Freda you want. You've got have the hits. How deep into the album tracks you willing to dig?
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