Cover Me Sundays: “Baby Can I Hold You”
And We’re Back!
Yes after the decade that was 2020, we are definitely on the path to be on the Good Foot for the entirety of ’21. You know the entire year that has been the first week or so of 2021? Listen, let’s cut to the proverbial chase – this series has been around and then it hasn’t but then it has… you get the picture. But please get the picture that this is not some sort of new endeavor for us. The very first Cover Me post was March 21, 2010 which you can find right here.
How Did You Get Here???
There’s a backstory in that very first Cover Me post, the song that is featured was the song that linked me up with the Legendary Grown Folks Crew(see what I did there?). But seriously, it happened all upon de Twitter. Pontification and all that and then these GFM Peoples tweeted back and as they say the rest is history(although I like herstory better ba dum bum). But let’s bring it all forward, to today or perhaps we can even address yesterday to a certain extent. Yes we’re purpose driven over here friends – everything has a rhyme and reason.
The Donny Effect
Fourth things first. For those of you just joining us Cover Me Sundays is a series dedicated to advancing the premise that great songs demand to be covered – dassit. Covers can take many forms from a complete re-imagining to an almost verbatim copy to what I like to call the “Donny Hathaway Effect” which is a cover that sounds so singular, so personal and in many ways becomes so popular that you think its the original. In some ways contextually today’s cover by Dancehall Reggae Artist Foxy Brown has hints and allegations of the “Donny Effect”.
Song O’ The Day Courtesy Of VUU
For historical context I feel like I’m not alone in being hit with the “Donny Effect” by the Steely & Clevie produced track. My intro to Foxy Brown’s version was on a mixtape(an actual one) from one of my friends who was home on winter break from Virginia Union University in ’89 – ’90. Both “Baby Can I Hold You” and “Fast Car” were mixed in on the set, but at the time if I’m being totally honest Tracy Chapman’s original version of “Baby Can I Hold You” totally had missed me. Plus… you know how we do, when I first heard Foxy Brown’s cover the song was now entitled “Sorry” to me. Again, I didn’t have the benefit of having the 12″ or any liners etc., because it was just on a tape.
So for some if we’re being completely honest/transparent “Sorry” was the song and Foxy Brown was the artist until… you either have that friend or you have that experience where someone schools you. It happens. For me I honestly can’t remember when it happened in relation to this particular song, so I’ll say ’nuff respect we always give ’nuff respect and credit to where credit is due round these parts. Also, shout out to all my VUU folks and my HBCU Peeps in general – in the late 80’s and early 90’s a lot my folks were the musical plugs for me as they introduced me to so much regional and international music by virtue of the network of people they came in contact with during their respective matriculations.
Again, as is stated above ’round here we give all respect to the originators, we celebrate the writers, the innovators and the like. “Baby Can I Hold You” is the third single released from Tracy Chapman’s eponynomous debut album. The song peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 and saw a second release in 2001 as part of Tracy Chapman’s greatest hits album Collection Take a listen to the original flavor below.
So I couldn’t let this post and relaunch of this series go by without addressing our IG Post from yesterday which if you didn’t see it, it features Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane”. The post received some interesting comments(both positive and negative) to say the least or the most(because some of y’all are really out here doing the absolute most). No, I’m not going to repost my comments, but there are a few things that I do believe can/should be said so that we have a better understanding of the spirit in which our little meme was posted.
1. It was a Meme folks i.e. not that serious. To borrow a phrase from another songwriter the post was “Ironic” don’t you think? We’re not alleging a thing. We’re not team anyone(except perhaps Team Jokey Jokes).
2. We aren’t being precious or definitive in the post, in fact I believe there was an open-ended proposition that “You Make The Call”. If you don’t think the guitar riffs sound similar cool. If you do cool. Again, we have no dog in the fight.
3. The problem with the Internet is that you really don’t have any idea who you’re talking too. On IG from our page you really don’t have any idea because you only see a logo. There’s a whole team of us with a variety of skills and experiences across a myriad of industries including music.
Trust and believe we have an understanding of copyright, compulsory licenses, derivative works, interpolation, synch, master use and on and on… some of us are performing professionals who understand music analysis but again the point of the post was not definitive or precious it was truly Kaboom Look Who Stepped In The Room…
4. Lastly and I mean this to help soooooo many of you. Google is not your friend. Let me say that again for the people in the back, the side and the rear. I’ll tell you, you, you and all of you. Yo! Imma paste below and go. For real if you didn’t experience something in real time and have that memory don’t go to the first thing you find on Google Search. Don’t do it. Find a reputable source. Interrogate dates. Use common sense.
Here’s a context clue that you can use. If there’s a video of a song and you think that song came out in 1992(Because: Google) but it actually came out in 1982 just look at the evidence itself – the video. The way people looked and even the way things were filmed look radically different in 1992 than they did in 1982. That’s just a lil tip. Now if y’all want to get into the nitty gritty details of a lot of these issues we’ll need to setup a seminar for that. But until then…
P.S. Yes we heard the interpolation of EWF’s “Reasons” in the synth horns in the intro to Foxy Brown’s version. Didn’t want to get caught lacking outchea.
This is how Google has many of you. Loud & Wrong. Have a Good Day…