♫ I’ve Never Been To Me ♫

I played this one a few years back … sometime in 2018 … and this morning, as I was sweeping peanut shells off the back patio, it just popped into my head, where it has remained for much of the day.  When I played it back in 2018, I played only the version by Charlene, the only one I was aware of at the time.  However, my friend Ellen commented that the Temptations had also covered this song on their Reunion Tour in the early ’80s.  Although I love the Temptations, I still prefer the Charlene version of this song, but I will include both this time ’round so you can choose for yourselves!

Charlene, whose full name is Charlene Marilynn D’Angelo Duncan Oliver, is an R&B singer who is known mainly for this one song.  Originally released in 1976, it barely made a blip on the charts, reaching only #97 in the U.S.  Six years later, it was re-released after a Florida radio station started playing it to great public acclaim, by which time Charlene had moved to England and was working in an Ilford, Essex sweet shop. The re-release became a huge hit in both the U.S. and the UK.

I am not one who deeply analyzes songs.  I take lyrics at face value … when I even hear the lyrics, that is!  I hadn’t given much thought to the lyrics, but might have missed the meaning of them anyway.  According to Songfacts …

The song was originally written from a male perspective but was rewritten by Ron Miller for Charlene. The use of the line “I’ve been to crying for unborn children” was not written about abortion. The line refers to a woman who is at a point in her life that she wished she had taken the time to have children.  There are many misconceptions about this song. The spoken bridge in the song was not about or did it mention abortion – it was deemed too feminist and when Charlene’s first album was re-released in 1977, the spoken bridge had been deleted. When the song became an unexpected hit in 1982 it was the version WITH the spoken bridge intact that was released. It has also been widely reported that the 1982 single was a re-recording, it is not.

This was used in the 1994 movie The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. There have been several cover versions of this song by both male and female artists, including Nancy Wilson, Randy Crawford, The Temptations, Walter Jackson and Howard Keel.

I’ve Never Been To Me
Charlene

Hey lady, you, lady, cursin’ at your life
You’re a discontented mother and a rich inventive wife
I’ve no doubt you dream about the things you’ll never do
But I wish someone had a talked to me like I wanna talk to you

Ooh I’ve been to Georgia and California, oh, anywhere I could run
Took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free
I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Please lady, please, lady, don’t just walk away
Cause I have this need to tell you why I’m all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won’t you share a part of a weary heart that has lived a million lies

Oh I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed ’em what I’ve got
I’ve been undressed by kings and I’ve seen some things
That a woman ain’t s’posed to see
I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Hey, you know what paradise is? It’s a lie. A fantasy we create about
People and places as we’d like them to be. But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding, and it’s that man you fought with
This morning, the same one you’re going to make love with tonight.
That’s truth, that’s love

Sometimes I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children
That might have made me complete
But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free
Hey lady, I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children)

Songwriters: Kenneth W Hirsch / Ronald N. Miller
I’ve Never Been To Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag ♫

Enough of Bryan Adams for this week … let’s have us some James Brown!

In March 1965, after a legal battle with King Records, Brown agreed to a new contract with a higher royalty rate than their previous agreement, plus Brown’s own publishing company and complete artistic control. Brown promptly went into a Charlotte, North Carolina, studio and cut Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.

King Records executive Syd Nathan gave a copy of this to New York DJ Frankie Cocker, who hated the new James Brown style but was impressed with the response when he put it on the air anyway. When King Records released the track as a single, Smash Records, the label Brown had leased some of his songs to that prompted the lawsuit, released an instrumental version of the song. As part of the ruling, Smash Records could release only instrumental versions of Brown’s songs.

The original song was about seven minutes long, moved at a slower pace, and featured a more elaborate intro. After the song was cut, Brown sliced off most of the intro, sped the song up to get it played on pop radio, and broke it up into three parts (the second of which can be heard on the flipside of the original single).

The vocal version reached #8 in the US. It was the first Top 10 hit for the Godfather of Soul, and marked a departure from his early music toward the definition of his signature sound. Horns are used for percussive effect, and Brown’s vocals are tightly attached to the overall instrumental mix.

Brown recorded this song in one take – the released version was merely supposed to be a run-through, but sounded so good it was kept anyway. Brown, who still hadn’t memorized the song’s lyrics, read from a sheet in front of him; at the beginning of the original take, he can be heard saying “There’s a lot of words here, man.” He also can be heard exclaiming “This is a hit!” just before the band kicks in.

This won a Grammy for Best R&B Recording of 1965. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1
James Brown

Come here sister, Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip, about that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

Come here mama, and dig this crazy scene
He’s not too fancy, but his line is pretty clean
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

It’s the Jerk
He’s doing the Fly
Don’t play him cheap ’cause you know he ain’t shy
He’s doing the Monkey, the Mashed Potatoes
Jump back Jack, See you later alligator

Come here sister
Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip now
But I can dig that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
He’s got a brand new bag

Oh papa, He’s doing the Jerk
Papa, he’s doing the Jerk
He’s doing the twist, just like this
He’s doing the Fly every day and every night
The thing’s, like the Boomerang
Hey, come on
Hey hey, come on
Hey hey, said you uptight, out of sight
Come on, see what you know
Come on, see what you know

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: James Brown
Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1 lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Everybody Plays The Fool ♫

First released in 1972, this song was written by J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark and Ken Williams.  It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best R&B Song at the 1973 ceremony.

The first recording of the song to reach the Top 40 in the United States was by the R&B group The Main Ingredient, a trio consisting at the time of Cuba Gooding Sr., Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons, Jr. Their version of Everybody Plays the Fool rose to #3 in the U.S.

The Main Ingredient was a Harlem group that began as the Poets.  This song was actually written for country singer Charlie Pride, but according to Cuba Gooding …

“He listened to it and decided it wasn’t country enough for him to sing. He said, ‘I’ll never be able to sell this as a country song. It’s more like a pop song.’  So we gave it to our arranger, put an orchestra behind it, and recorded it ourselves. But we never liked it — we never believed it was going to be a hit record. We wanted to be more like the Temptations or the Four Tops, and that’s what the rest our album was about.

They sent us on a European tour for two weeks, and when we came back, ‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ was the hottest record on pop radio.”

The record surprised them by becoming the group’s first big hit. But oddly enough, the group, who until that time had been firmly entrenched as an R&B group, at first couldn’t get airplay for it on soul stations.

“Black stations wouldn’t even play it. They said it wasn’t R&B. RCA signed me to a three-year contract as the lead singer for the group, everybody was rolling in dough because of the song, but the black stations wouldn’t play it.”

Eventually, that would change, of course, and the song sold more than a million copies, was awarded a gold record, and was nominated for a Grammy as R&B song of the year.

Aaron Neville recorded a cover of this song in 1991 which also hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching #8 in the fall of that year, and it spent 20 weeks on the chart. This was Neville’s third Top 10 hit on the pop chart, following Tell It Like It Is and his duet with Linda Ronstadt, Don’t Know Much.

Since I like both versions almost equally well, I offer up both for your listening pleasure!

Everybody Plays The Fool
The Main Ingredient

Okay, so your heart is broken
You sit around mopin’
Cryin’ and cryin’
You say you’re even thinkin’ about dyin’
Well, before you do anything rash, dig this

Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I ain’t lyin’, everybody plays the fool
Falling in love is such an easy thing to do
And there’s no guarantee that the one you love
Is gonna love you
Oh-oh-oh, lovin’ eyes they cannot see
A certain person could never be
Love runs deeper than any ocean
You can cloud your mind with emotion
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby, it may be factual, may be cruel
I want to tell ya that
Everybody plays the fool

How can you help it when the music starts to play
And your ability to reason is swept away
Oh-oh-oh, heaven on earth is all you see
You’re out of touch with reality
And now you cry but when you do
Next time around someone cries for you

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool
Listen, baby, they never tell you so in school
I want to say it again
Everybody plays the fool
Listen to me, baby

Everybody plays the fool, sometime
(No exception) no exception to the rule
It may be factual, may be cruel, sometime
But everybody plays the fool
Listen, listen, baby
Everybody plays the fool, sometime
They use your heart like a tool

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kenneth Williams / Ralph Bailey / Rudy Clark
Everybody Plays The Fool (Re-Recorded / Remastered) lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Carlin America Inc

♫ Stuck On You ♫

Tonight, I am in the mood for some Lionel Richie, and guess what?  I found one that I really like that I haven’t played here before!  Sadly, though, I cannot find a bit … not even a tiny scrap of background trivia about the song, so for tonight you’ll have to be content to just listen.

This one peaked at #3 in the U.S. and Canada, and #12 in the UK.  Interestingly, for I think of Lionel and his music as R&B or soul, this was the first, but not last, of his songs to chart on the Country music charts!

Stuck on You
Lionel Richie

Stuck on you
I’ve got this feeling down deep in my soul that I just can’t lose
Guess I’m on my way
Needed a friend
And the way I feel now I guess I’ll be with you ’til the end
Guess I’m on my way
Mighty glad you stayed

I’m stuck on you
Been a fool too long I guess it’s time for me to come on home
Guess I’m on my way
So hard to see
That a woman like you could wait around for a man like me
Guess I’m on my way
Mighty glad you stayed

Oh, I’m leaving on that midnight train tomorrow
And I know just where I’m going
I’ve packed up my troubles and I’ve thrown them all away
‘Cause this time little darling
I’m coming home to stay

I’m stuck on you
I’ve got this feeling down deep in my soul that I just can’t lose
Guess I’m on my way
Needed a friend
And the way I feel now I guess I’ll be with you ’til the end
Guess I’m on my way
I’m mighty glad you stayed
I’m mighty glad you stayed

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Lionel B. Jr. Richie
Stuck on You lyrics © Brockman Music, Brenda Richie Publishing

♫ I’ve Never Been To Me ♫

Charlene, whose full name is Charlene Marilynn D’Angelo Duncan Oliver, is an R&B singer who is known mainly for this one song.  Originally released in 1976, it barely made a blip on the charts, reaching only #97 in the U.S.  Six years later, it was re-released after a Florida radio station started playing it to great public acclaim, by which time Charlene had moved to England and was working in an Ilford, Essex sweet shop. The re-release became a huge hit in both the U.S. and the UK.

I am not one who deeply analyzes songs.  I take lyrics at face value … when I even hear the lyrics, that is!  I hadn’t given much thought to the lyrics, but might have missed the meaning of them anyway.  According to Songfacts …

The song was originally written from a male perspective but was rewritten by Ron Miller for Charlene. The use of the line “I’ve been to crying for unborn children” was not written about abortion. The line refers to a woman who is at a point in her life that she wished she had taken the time to have children.  There are many misconceptions about this song. The spoken bridge in the song was not about or did it mention abortion – it was deemed too feminist and when Charlene’s first album was re-released in 1977, the spoken bridge had been deleted. When the song became an unexpected hit in 1982 it was the version WITH the spoken bridge intact that was released. It has also been widely reported that the 1982 single was a re-recording, it is not.

This was used in the 1994 movie The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. There have been several cover versions of this song by both male and female artists, including Nancy Wilson, Randy Crawford, The Temptations, Walter Jackson and Howard Keel.

I’ve Never Been To Me
Charlene

Hey lady, you, lady, cursin’ at your life
You’re a discontented mother and a rich inventive wife
I’ve no doubt you dream about the things you’ll never do
But I wish someone had a talked to me like I wanna talk to you

Ooh I’ve been to Georgia and California, oh, anywhere I could run
Took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free
I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Please lady, please, lady, don’t just walk away
Cause I have this need to tell you why I’m all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won’t you share a part of a weary heart that has lived a million lies

Oh I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed ’em what I’ve got
I’ve been undressed by kings and I’ve seen some things
That a woman ain’t s’posed to see
I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Hey, you know what paradise is? It’s a lie. A fantasy we create about
People and places as we’d like them to be. But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding, and it’s that man you fought with
This morning, the same one you’re going to make love with tonight.
That’s truth, that’s love

Sometimes I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children
That might have made me complete
But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free
Hey lady, I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children)

Songwriters: Kenneth W Hirsch / Ronald N. Miller
I’ve Never Been To Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC