Same Name, Different Tune

I’ve been reading Willie Nelson’s memoir, Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die, for a review I’m writing, and I’ve been listening heavily to Nelson’s music at the same time.  Nelson has put out a massive number of albums in his lifetime, but I’ve been mainly focusing on his work from the 70s, which is often remarkably spare and wonderfully simple.  In 1977, he recorded To Lefty From Willie, a short tribute album to the country singer Lefty Frizzell.  It includes the song “That’s The Way Love Goes,” a pretty little ditty:


Janet Jackson also recorded a “That’s The Way Love Goes,” the highlight of her 1993 album Janet (it shares nothing with Nelson’s tune, aside from the use of the title phrase for the hook).  Jackson steals the circular guitar riff from James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” for the song’s backbone, but she removes its thinness and tension, transforming it into something secure and soothing.  Where Nelson goes for satisfying chord changes and interlocking parts, Jackson locks in a single, unified pulse.

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Categories

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: