leejohnson's current selection is:
Everything I Own
by Ken Boothe

Here's a chuck-away hit for you - at least, with the passing of time, that's all it is for me now, in essence. Its wholly downbeat nature forms only a distant and rancid memory of all that was wrong in my first marriage (allowing for the fact that THE only right things to come out of the partnership were my two children, who have since graced me with eight grandchildren). Don't get me wrong, I am certainly a firm fan of 'reggae' - just not this turgid ballad and its wistful yearning for a love now unreachable. A kind of wanting I certainly do not recognise regarding my first attempt at wedded bliss!


Saturday, 16 May 2009
1974 - Ken Boothe: "Everything I Own"

To my mind, a good cover version is one that takes the material of the original, unpicks the seams and then re-fashions it into a new suit of clothes tailored for the new artist. West Coast 'MOR' rockers 'Bread' made for an unlikely source for supplying a tune to be given a 'reggae' makeover, but Jamaican Ken Boothe manages to make "Everything I Own" his own not simply by pasting a 'rocksteady' rhythm over the words (you only have to listen to Boy George's 1987 attempt to appreciate that that's not nearly enough by itself to make it interesting), but by coming at it from a different angle entirely.

"Everything I Own" is a song of regret, but in place of the wistful aura of the original, Boothe adds a keen yearning to the song. Whereas original singer (and writer) David Gates sounded like a man quietly reminiscing to himself in an empty room, Boothe's vocal is more strung out and desperate, a man on his knees pleading to the back of someone walking away. Also, by deliberately/mistakenly changing the "Everything" of the title to "Anything", Boothe gives the lyric a more urgent and immediate air through asking them to take their pick from anything to hand rather than the predictable and empty sounding gesture of "take it all". The pedestrian shuffle of the backing only adds to the tension as Boothe painfully draws out every syllable with pliers to make sure his point is understood, but by the fadeout you know that it's falling on deaf ears. "Everything I Own" is a downbeat single to be sure, but it's good to see the public acknowledging that 'reggae' isn't all sun and could do misery as well as the next tortured singer/songwriter.


Well. Surprisingly, the blogger above ('Andr3w' from "Number Ones of the Seventies") has totally echoed some of the words I had already used (and I hadn't chosen this article until after writing my intro above!), and he mixes my metaphors somewhat in (I think) a most contrived way, to try to justify the drudgery of this 'ska'-ndalous effort. (Enough puns.) David Gates forever.

Charts, if I must ... In the UK, it clung doggedly to the No. 1 spot for three weeks (how?) in late 1974, staying a total of 11 weeks in the Top 40 before that Christmas. It was not released in the USA, 'Bread' fans might be relieved to hear.
1974 - Trojan - United Kingdom
Posted: 16th November 2017
Rewind to the Seventies! Anything from 1969 to 1980 appears here.......
Born in 1954, leaving education by 1972, 'glam' was my thing, "Ziggy" Bowie my hero. I was even the only guy in my town with the haircut (though not the carrot red colouring!). Therefore every seventh selection is a Bowie track.
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