On Sanctified Pussy . . .

Marvin raised a serious question in his piece Sanctified Pussy (posthumously changed to Sanctified Lady by CBS). Can a man have a “good” girl who still has “chops” in the bedroom? I don’t think we can teach ‘em anything, but at best, maybe awaken some latent talent. :)

As men, I think it’s unfair how we often either vilify or deify women. My pleasure is the woman’s pleasure. But the larger question to me is that men are typically attracted to the bad girl, just like women opt for the bad boy over the nice guy. If a so called bad girl changes her “wicked” ways, does she compromise a part of herself thus making her man be less attracted to that woman who used to drive him crazy? I know the answer intellectually, but when I look at my life, I most often opt for what I can truly never have.

As Marvin said in Heavy Love Affair, “Loving the pleasure sweetly; loving the pain as deeply.”

I guess I don’t like teaching girls any more than I like teaching cats in my band how to play. I want you to come to the table with chops. I’m bringin’ it, I wanna know what you bringin’! And to those who wonder what chops are: chops = skills.

What Is A “Good” Girl?

I don’t believe you can ever have it all. And if I could, I doubt I would want it. I’d be bored. And by “bad” and “good”, I don’t mean a persons facade as much as I mean how we are affected by society’s moralistic view of how one should be.

Women are taught to be ashamed of outward expressions of sexuality which in turns makes many ashamed of their bodies and not in touch with their inner self. Men are only more of a man the more women he has. For a woman, she’s just labeled a slut.

Why Is That?

We live in a patriarchal society so that’s why there’s the lean on the male side of the equation, but I believe it plays into a natural part of what makes men, men, and women, women. Biologically speaking, one man can impregnate several women, but a women can only birth one man’s child at a time.

 

Hardly any women I know do, and the few that I know who go for the henpecked type do so because they are wearing the pants. No judgement, but that is why that works. Even in that situation, a man will feign ignorance in order to have autonomy in another area. Yeah, Cliff Huxtable was henpecked like a mothafucka, come to find out he was gettin’ all kinds o’ pussy on the side. Sanctified and not!

Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Boys . . .

Two people jockeying for the same role in a relationship is destined for failure. Two people not being who they truly are in a relationship is headed for the rocks. Love is understanding and loving all who a person is and is not. I think too much importance is placed on commitment. Of course, not many people like the idea of sharing their beloved with others, but I believe it’s unreasonable to think that just because we love someone they can’t have an attraction for someone else. So many great relationships have ended because of this. Wherever you place pressure and expectation in a relationship, that area is bound to be tested. And as humans, we may try our best, but all fall short from time to time.

The 60%

The problem is I believe a matter of most people trying to fit their relationship in a box. A construct that doesn’t work for most people, which is why over 60% of marriages end in divorce. And the top two reasons why they don’t work is money, and the number one, sex. Hell, if it weren’t for the amount of unhappily married men out there, prostitutes would be out of business. I’m not trying to put all the responsibility of a relationship on women either. Fellas need to step their game up, big time. So many men are solely focused on their satisfaction, that they never bother to be in tune with what makes their woman happy. A happy woman makes a happy man and I do all I can to cater to my beloved to see that she is taken care of in any capacity I can offer.

Soulmates

I just formally divorced my “soulmate” last August (2010) and I’m not looking for another one. She helped me to complete myself, and for that, I am forever grateful for her presence in my life. Now that I am whole, I look to no one as another half. Perhaps a partner in this journey would be cool. Maybe a life together one day at a time, but that’s about it for me. I enjoy being single, I enjoy not having to answer to anyone, I enjoy coming and going as I please, and I enjoy being me. I AM my soulmate, and if another female wants to join me on the ride, so be it.

Being a bad boy doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s crude hubris you put on for the sake of winning adulation. A bad boy simply means that you don’t take shit off no one. Women are attracted to that because they know that a man who is like that is capable of protecting them. Not some punk ass bitch who will run if confronted with danger. That said, one can be a kind-hearted bad boy.

Pussy and Money

About money and sex, many women will go for a man who has plenty of bread who can’t put it down at all in the bedroom. How many examples of that have we seen in the world? Money problems do not supersede sex in most relationships.

Let’s think about it: Money is just power. It’s not the dollar that’s the issue but the power and access to things that makes money attractive. Most sex issues in relationships have to do with power. In order to make beautiful love to your partner, one must be vulnerable.

A lot of people are not willing to open up their heart space to someone like that (even in marriages). Without that, the connection isn’t authentic and therefore relegates lovemaking to banal hip thrusts and obligatory oral service. Boring!

A woman will take a nice guy with money, but she will also take an asshole with money too. In fact, if he has lots of money, he may not have to be a “titan in the bedroom” at all to have a woman/women. But a broke ass Nigga who’s turning her mind out in the bedroom will trump all of those any time. She would spend all her money to make sure that brotha is taken care of.

Freaks Come Out At Night

If you have an inner freak in you and you don’t let it out to play, it’s only a matter of time before it comes out. Most people suppress these feelings for the sake of being righteous or being in a relationship. I’m not saying you shouldn’t exercise self control. It’s not wise to just fuck anything, anytime you want, but never letting yourself express that side of yourself may result in those repressed feelings coming out way worse than if you just dealt with them in a healthy manner.

I’m happy to be single because the experience of marriage led me to a grander vision of who I am. I am not down on monogamy or long term relationships. I just don’t believe it’s for me. Once you’re in a relationship, the compromising starts. I’m just not interested in compromising any part of myself for the sake of union. If there is a union for me, it will be based on both parties being able to grow continually into who they are free of fear. If you’ve found marital bliss, I believe that’s great and I’m very happy for you. I’ve done it and don’t believe it’s for me, but I’m open to the possibility.

Marital Status-Quo

I’m not saying this is you, but a lot of people stay married because they don’t want to be alone in older age. I’m not going to be in a relationship for fear of dying alone. I was born alone, I shit alone, and I will die alone. That doesn’t ever concern me.

My father passed at age 68, single, and living a wild life ’til the very end. It was frustrating at times as his son to know that would ultimately lead to his demise, but I respect that he did what he wanted. If you live your life afraid of death, you’re already good as gone.

Strike Up The Band

About the analogy with my band, I consider letting other cats solo as a conversation not a compromise. At the point of which I have to make any compromises, meaning I can’t really express my ideas fully for the sake of the ensemble, it’s time to move on. A band leader confined by outside forces is no longer an artist but merely a musician. I can’t create under those circumstances, and compromise will only serve to make you empty inside. I’d rather use that energy to build another situation in which I’m able to flourish.

People are how they are and I don’t waste time trying to change them. In my band, or in a relationship, I get with people for what they bring, not for what I want them to become. You may be able to inspire something in that person over time, but anything much more makes it contrived, comes off forced, and ultimately has no life.

And as far as swinging goes, the connotation is usually something one does with various partners, not just one in perpetuity. On and off the bandstand.

- Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

On What’s Going On (An Elegiacal Epitaph) . . .

All of you who know me know what a Marvin fan I am.

Next to Miles, he’s my favorite artist.

“What’s Going On” signaled a significant shift in the Soul music of the 70s.

Like Miles’ “Kind Of Blue”, it is both a Blues and a Modal record.

Tell me if “Wholy Holy” don’t remind you of “Flamenco Sketches”?!?

In fact, the alto player (Eli Fountain) makes several Cannonball Adderley references, whether intentionally or not.

By modal, I mean most of the chords are built on a series of notes, that when suspended, creates a mood rather than a tune.

It also was one of the first records that inspired the change of the fabled “Motown Sound”.

The thing cats my age or younger can’t get about that album is the impact it had at the time because we’re too young.

The fact that it holds up after all these years is a testament to it’s timelessness.
“What’s Going On” was also one of the first hit Soul recordings to heavily employ the use of my favorite chord, the Sus chord.
The Sus chord is the sound of Soul music in Seventies.
It’s interesting as it’s both happy and sexy at the same time.
A rare combination these days.
Of course, it was used earlier.
Gil Evans was one of the first to popularize it in Black American music.
He influenced both Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter whose compositions are always heavily laden with Sus chords.
Herbie cites his tune “Maiden Voyage” as his best piece and it’s progressions are all Sus chords.
For those who don’t know, a Sus chord the same one used in the guitar riff in the beginning of the Ramsey Lewis / EWF collabo “Sun Goddess”
Back to “What’s Going On” . . . .
The strings and background vox with the ooh and ahhs reminds me of Ray Ellis’ arrangements on ‘Lady In Satin” (quintessential break-up album).
Marvin would later do a quintessential break-up album of in own on his ode to Anna Gordy “Here, My Dear” (my personal fav of Marvin’s).
If you listen, pull out the CD or an album so you can dig the song cycle.
The song cycle fucks me up every time, how each tune morphs into the next.
Deep.
I’ve had several conversations with friends lately on people’s purchases being more singles based now as opposed to albums as a result of iTunes, iPods, and other personal jukebox-like devices.
I see both sides of that argument.
As far a popular music goes, the recording industry was initially singles driven, so I think it’s kinda cool it’s going back to that.
“What’s Going On” was first released just as a single.
Not only was it rejected by Motown’s quality control department, but Berry Gordy said it was the worst record he’d ever heard.
Somehow the single got put out (probably due to Marvin’s then marriage to Anna Gordy, Berry’s sister) and it sold 100,000 copies on the first day!
At which point, it’s appeal was unquestionable.
Marvin was then asked to complete a whole album of likeminded material.
The rest is history.
At first glance, it may seem this record is about the Vietnam war and the post-Civil rights movement state of America.
Yes, Marvin does address these issues in a literal way, but to me, it’s much deeper.
A major source of inspiration were the war stories Marvin’s brother Frankie shared with him.
However, if you look at the lyrics another way, I believe he’s speaking of his own family but using the War as a larger metaphor.
He’s talking to his own mother crying, the ongoing fighting with his father, speaking to his biological brother and sisters, and the inner war that we all deal with.
As y’all know, that is where true peace must be found if we are ever to come to world peace.
Boy, do I love those bells!
On “What’s Happening Brother” I believe he’s talking to Frankie, but in the larger since, he’s speaking to us all.
It’s so personal, so Urban, and yet Universal at the same time.
By digging within, he found something to which we can all relate.
Deep.
Peep the multiple leads on the title track.
They’re like different aspects of the same man being expressed simultaneously.
He pioneered, mastered, refined, and developed this multi-layering concept for the rest of his career.
Seven different guitar tracks on “Sexual Healing”.
Dope.
Check out “Save The Children”, how it comes out of “Flying High”.
Shit, just that transition alone is a study in itself.
Back to “Save . . . .”
Call and Response with himself, first in speech then in vocals.
The drums are in 4, the bass in 3, and the congas in an uptempo 12.
4 and 3 are both factors of 12, dig?
Deep.
Congas are kicking.
And I’ll be damned if the tenor sax (Wild Bill Moore) doesn’t quote Stan Getz in his solo on “Mercy Mercy Me”!
And his tone is reminiscent of “Lockjaw” Davis with shades of Ben Webster.
The guitar riffs create a trance-like vibe throughout the recording resembling the same feel Hip-Hop artists like Dilla would generate when using samples decades later.
This feel is perhaps most apparent on “Inner City Blues”.
This record was so far ahead of it’s time in so many ways.
The whole record keeps this thematic, repetitive thing throughout while never getting static.
Intense.
An elegiacal epitaph.
Of the title track Berry Gordy once stated, “what’s that Dizzy Gillespie shit he’s doing at the bridge?”.
He went on to say, “it’s old and nobody wants to hear that”.
Boy, was he ever wrong!
From the sounds of the streets to the sounds of the concert hall, “What’s Going On” captures it all.
- Nicholas Payton