Please Me

This week’s submission has a some history behind it. Last summer, way back in ’06, Bobby Conn, booking agent Derek Becker, producer Blue Hawaii, Detholz!’s Karl Doerfer and I started having weekly meetings, with the intent of starting our own mp3 record label. We’d exist as a modern-day Brill Building or Tin Pan Alley or Motown: a songwriting factory, studio, and label all in one. It ended up being a too ambitious to exist in this world (at least for now…), but, in trying to envision what sort of music this idealistic project would make, I came up with this song, “Please Me“.

The idea was to do one-off collaborations with people that you don’t normally play with. The personnel here: Snokilla, the amazing singer of much-missed Chicago band Jitney, on vocals; H. Carl Lowendorf (Sprinkles, Pornado, Platonics), my erstwhile roommate and one of my guitar heroes, on the axe; the inimitable Ben Schultz (Sprinkles, Platonics, Ofays UK) on drums; and yours truly doing odds and ends to fill out the song. It’s a heavy, sultry song, swinging in an old dress made of canvas.

The recording is about a year old, and the song itself is a year older still. When I wrote it, I was sitting at the piano trying to do some kind of variation on the great Nick Drake song “Fly”, which begins with the lyric, “Please / Give me second grace”. I was trying to use the word “please” in the same way, if that makes sense. I envisioned it as a moody piano ballad, but, as was the case with “Is This Love”, I couldn’t help dirtying it up as the recording process went along.  I don’t know what will become of this recording, but I’ve always liked it a lot, and I wanted to share.

After two listens, I think that the new M.I.A. record is the real deal… fantastic, original lyrics as always, and a very progressive production style. Even if you yourself make music that sounds very different from hers, she throws down the gauntlet and makes you think. In other news, I am prepared for the Cubs to break my heart soon, but in the meantime, it was an exhilarating weekend to be a fan, as they crept ever closer to stealing the division that no one wants, the clownish National League Central.

8 Responses to “Please Me”
  1. will says:

    stunning. the piano and guitar usher in the song wonderfully. the vocal interplay is dynamite. yers lays the foundation and the 2nd. vocal really paints the prettiest picture—vocal melody/harmony is natural and perfectly timed. it would be hard to replicate this one w/o the 2nd. vocal—in fact, without THAT vocal in particular. it just fits so perfectly. the lyrical content and the music are a perfect marriage. oddly, i find the song to be light and romantic as opposed to “heavy” or “sultry”…(different ears…)funny, how through our own experiences we interpret things differently. this song’s all about arrangement. would make an awesome ep w/”dreams” and “taste the wine”. would like to hear your original demo of this—i think it was very well realized by the musicians. a great single! thanks for sharing! intrigued by the mp3 record label idea—might produce some interesting singles—my favorite way to enjoy music. i’m not a huge sports fan; but, i do know that the cubs play a modernized version of an older game developed by someone named abner doubleday, and i like that name, abner,…so, that being the case, i wish them well in pursuit of their 3rd. straight nba title. p.s., thought this song progression had a feel similar to the stuff you’ve been writing on guitar lately…what circumstances led you to want to revisit it? (other then the obvious reason that it’s a good tune?) current joy:harry nilsson. have a wonderful week. bye!

  2. Judah says:

    This is absolutely killer, Abe…a soaring, generous anthem with more rock and soul than anyone could ask for. Roy Orbison and John Lennon jam with Nina Simone in heaven while Jeff Buckley looks on approvingly. Beautiful lyrics, too. Thanks for sharing this one.

  3. Lara says:

    AHHHHHHH! I LOVE this song. I can’t even say anything. I just LOVE this song!!

  4. Abraham says:

    WOW! thanks you guys! this is quite a lot of enthusiasm!

    will: yes, I agree that snokilla’s voice is phenomenal, and perhaps essential to the track… in fact this may indeed be the final recorded version. it’s just hard to know what to do with this song, i.e., is it a baby teeth song? ah, we get so hung up on categorization in this day and age. it’s funny that you bring up harry nilsson (whom I also love love love) because his duet with john lennon on “many rivers to cross” seems in retrospect like a definite touchstone for the way this recording turned out.

    judah: I’m very touched by your response! much appreciated.

    lara: well that’s what this music-making business is all about…. getting a response like that. my music-marketing book tells me that we musicians are in the “state change” business, so, I’m happy to have changed your state!

  5. ham, great song!

    great performances too. you and Snokilla sounds amazing, and the wavery “tremelo-esq” bg vocals remind me eerily of wizard of oz…maybe the twister.

    i like the ending a lot too. “the crumble.”

  6. Abraham says:

    thanks jonny!!!

    yeah, snokilla rocked the tremolo backgrounds… she made the song. but maybe jim could handle her parts? in a potato-sack dress?

  7. snokilla says:

    How funny that I randomly come across this at 4am. Great to see that the song is being revisted, it was great working on it for that little bit.
    I have since moved to Athens GA, but Jim would have to decorate that potato sack dress with a little gold and glamour.

  8. Abraham says:

    athens ga? say it ain’t so! well, I hope you are still singing down there and maybe we can collaborate again! this one definitely turned out well and got some great responses as you can see.

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