What's the song?
April 11, 2006 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a song, with not many clues...

A tough one. I heard this a few years ago. It's a 1950s or 1960s song, with a swing feel, not too slow, male vocal in the style of Ray Charles, Brook Benton etc, keyboard playing a pivotal part (Rhodes or Hammond maybe).

The only thing I have which narrows it down is that whenever the verse (or chorus) resolved, it resolved to a minor 6th chord. So possibly the last four bars of the verse (or chorus) may have been:

C7 / / / B7 / / / Em6 / / / Em6 / / /

If anyone gets this you are the All Time Face the Music Champion of the entire Universe.
posted by TiredStarling to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
Those are a weird last 4 bars. I'm guessing you're using your ear to try that out? Even if you have those chords correct though- a 3 chord progression is meaningless. It'd be like sayiing "There's this song, it goes I-V-IV, then resolves back to I... what is it?" If you have ear enough, try to pick out some fragment of melody on the piano/guitar (or at musipedia.com) or even some kind of lyric fragment. I'm guessing it's not actually Ray Charles, or you'd have just said it- which means you remember it well enough to know the voice wasn't Ray Charles. Think of anything else you can remember- no detail is probably too small here...

It's possible someone will nail it out of the gate, but that'd honestly be incredibly lucky. You need to think of anything else you can recall, including melody lines, any parts of lyrics that occur to you, possibly even the rhythm of those chord changes might help.
posted by hincandenza at 6:36 PM on April 11, 2006

Al Green's "Love and Happiness" has a lick something like this, with Hammond organ. Not quite the right era though.
posted by ldenneau at 6:58 PM on April 11, 2006

I just moved and don't have my instruments unpacked, but "Go Now" by The Moody Blues has a very unusual harmonic cadence and is triplet based R&B. Wish I could test it for you....
posted by sourwookie at 7:27 PM on April 11, 2006

Maybe something by Bobby Bland? Much of what he recorded in the late 50s early 60s featured great bands with full-on brass that utilized more complex charts and arrangements than might usually be found in standard blues or swing band records of the time. Just a shot in the dark... good luck.
posted by anticlock at 7:31 PM on April 11, 2006

Hum a few bars and post a file we can link to. I have used this method to ID massively obscure songs. There just isn't enough info in your post to solve the riddle.
posted by sntamonica at 8:11 PM on April 11, 2006

September Song?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:46 PM on April 11, 2006

I unpacked an ax and noodled. As far as root movement goes, WGP nailed it. It would then ascend chromatically to F#, then to a B then resolve to E. The bridge would then do that G/g dim thing that's such a bitch to solo over.
posted by sourwookie at 9:14 PM on April 11, 2006

It's not September Song or Go Now or Al Green. It may be Bobby Bland - that's the era.

That C7-B7-Em6 cadence may not actually be how it goes!! It may (eg) be more of an Am-B-Em6.

The BIG thing is that it grooved away on the minor 6th chord whenever it resolved - it's such an "unsettling" chord that it stuck in my brain. Can't remember a scrap of the melody.

The feel was a stonkin' swing thing, like a Jimmy McGriff organ thing, or the type of feel that Stevie Ray Vaughan did much later on.
posted by TiredStarling at 9:20 PM on April 11, 2006

it doesn't sound much like ray charles, but that progression is at the end of "little miss riding hood" by sam the sham and the pharoahs
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 PM on April 11, 2006

The vi chord in 60's music was so ubiqitous. Even "Shout" was an epic ll: I-vi :ll vamp.

Given your chord example, the song would be in G. So the cadence you suggest would likely be lV-iii-vi. But is it more likely it "hangs" on the vi rather than resolves there? Where to next? A "G" (I)?
posted by sourwookie at 9:29 PM on April 11, 2006

Man, now I want to know what it is, too. I love me some unsettling vi chords.

Seriously. I'm, like, a big nerd.
posted by rossination at 10:19 PM on April 11, 2006

As far as the key of the song goes, it was definitely in a minor key, like a refined minor blues maybe. And, of course, the lyrics were something to do with a no-good woman that done gone left him.

Definitely not a 60s pop song.

I must reiterate that the overwhelming impression was that tonic minor sixth grooving away.
posted by TiredStarling at 10:41 PM on April 11, 2006

And to clear up any confusion: it's NOT the VI minor chord in a major key (eg Em in the key of G).

The song's in a minor key - say Em - and when the song comes home to Em, they play Em6.
posted by TiredStarling at 11:16 PM on April 11, 2006

Have you tried Songtapper.com? It works about 50% of the time for me.
posted by acoutu at 11:26 PM on April 11, 2006

Shot in the dark: Joe Williams' Nothin' but the Blues?

It's about the right era, style and has Jack McDuff on organ.
posted by turbodog at 9:42 AM on April 12, 2006

Then again maybe not. I think the album I mentioned is from 1983. But now I want to buy it. I love that Joe Williams.
posted by turbodog at 9:48 AM on April 12, 2006

I second the songtapper.com recommendation. I've had about the same success rate as acoutu.
posted by richmondparker at 12:42 PM on April 12, 2006

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