Dust Bunnies: Saving All My Love
Announcing Dust Bunnies, an occasional feature in which we discover a record on our shelves. Because a) taking inspiration from Matt Woebot, I don't pretend to be an expert on everything, but would still like to believe that I've got a little something to say about music that falls outside the boundaries of microwhatnots and screamo (I know, who knew there was other music?), and b) sometimes it's a lot more fun to write about stuff that didn't come from a publicist. Some, including this writer, may think that "Dust Bunnies" lacks gravitas, but fuck it: bunnies are cute.
Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, "Saving All My Love For You," from Avant Pop (ECM, 1986)
This is one of 60-odd records I bought off a sidewalk sale on my block for a buck a pop. From the opening trombone fillip that kicks off the Masser/Goffin tune, Bowie's version is as sugary as Whitney's from the year before. (I can't get my hands on the original 1978 recording by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., so can't offer a comparison there.) The muted, doo-wopping horns of the intro are straight Muzak, and when the triangle rings out at the end of the first four bars, you unconsciously look to see if this is your floor. But then Bowie comes in, and you realize that this is drunken sugar, steeped in rum and staggering through the halls. He's like a soused groom making karaoke promises to his blasť Vegas bride. That doesn't stop the randy trombones from giving him a good ribbing about the previous night's stag party shenanigans. It's sweet, insincere, generous and narcissistic all at once, and proof once again that covers are the best thing ever to happen to recorded music. Besides, walking tuba is way cooler than walking bass.