Musicophilia Daily

[Audio] – Arthur Russell – “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face” (1974)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on April 1, 2009

Arthur Russell – “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face” (1974)

Anybody who’s followed Musicophilia for long knows Arthur Russell is one of very few I’d go so far as to call a “musical hero,” as he’s featured on at least half a dozen Musicophilia mixes and two Daily posts so far.  But loving Arthur’s music is a little different than loving that of most artists: no two albums, whether released in his lifetime or culled posthumously, under his name or via one of a dozen groups or pseudonyms, is necessarily alike, though there’s always something indelibly Arthur about anything he touched.

He puts Janus to shame; his permutations were seemingly endless: avant-gardener, disco impresario, cello-and-vocals dub hero–there really aren’t adequate labels, as these clumsy attempts illustrate.  ‘Love is Overtaking Me,’ released on Audika Records last year, revealed yet another side or three: singer-songwriter, modern loving rocker, high-country cowboy-poet, blue-eyed soul crooner.  This very early, simple song reveals a touch of all of these, and representative of the under-appreciated compendium as a whole, captures some of his strongest and most accessible melodies via plaintive piano, Hammond organ, brass touches and above all Arthur’s resonant vocals.

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2 Responses

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  1. ohrensause said, on April 1, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    such a simple, great tune. the way he sings it everyone can hear that arthur russell was very much in love with music. and the second half of the title line “i couldn’t say it to your face but i won’t be around any more.” sounds mysterously foreboding. i guess he didn’t yet have aids in 1974, did he? thanks again for a song i wouldn’t have discovered without your blog. is the rest of the album as good as this?

    • Soundslike said, on April 2, 2009 at 7:00 am

      It is almost all as good as this, some of it probably better–not at all “album like” as it spans so many years and styles, but it was on constant rotation for months and is another fantastic addition to Russell’s oeuvre. Glad you like it!


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