This track transports me to a rear view mirror framed glimpse of 1970s New York: hot pavement and traffic jams, car horns blaring in every direction. No one’s going anywhere in particular, but everyone’s eager to get there. People walk blindly down crowded sidewalks, bumping shoulders and jostling their way through the jarring city.
This cover of an otherwise dusty 1974 track by French-Italian singer-songwriter Nino Ferrer favours threatening piano over the original’s zoom of approaching tires. The reach of empty, lovesick hands comes through with the deep, ever present saunter of bass slides and desperately in-the-pocket percussion. Here, Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White put on display an ability to see through old fog with a meeting of their 21st century vocal poignancy. They hit words hard on the edges, and smooth out the middle for a crisp performance of whisper and articulation.
The third track on Gentlewoman, Ruby Man, “Looking For You” serves to set the stage for the decade of funk encapsulated in some of the tracks that follow. It segues between the contemporary sounds of Thinking Bout You and The Colour In Anything, while still being a transitive time machine into “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” and “Grease.”
This cover maintains the hollow acoustic presence that lives in its lyrics: “I was thinking of you, because time runs so fast, and it never comes back, and that’s all I can keep with me, that sweet love that you gave to me.” White and Morrissey emulate the pain of the original with this cover; the wail of both vocals and erratic synth exploration can’t help but put cathartic longing into the listener. This track is all ache and anguish in the best ways possible. Have a listen here.