This is the last track on the celebrated Let’s Get It On album, most of which is quite happy and sexy and danceable. Just to Keep You Satisfied, on the other hand, is about Gaye’s separation from his wife, and it’s one of the most unflinching accounts of a split I’ve ever come across. It’s all there: sexual obsession, frustration, bitterness, nostalgia, self-justification, shame and so on. The music is mostly strings, hardly any percussion or bass, some lovely backing vocals and brass and Gaye’s voice soaring and breaking over the top. Gaye revisited the subject to devastating effect on the Here, My Dear album, but really he said it all in this single track. I still get really upset thinking about Gaye’s decline and death, and I worry that his music’s getting forgotten. I hope that’s not the case.
There are two tracks on the Pieces of the Sky album that I really love – this, and Boulder to Birmingham. Too Far Gone is a perfect example of the kind of sad song that works for me: lyrics that delve into human misery, a beautiful melody and a convincing delivery. It’s about letting go of someone when you know the relationship is over, but you’re still desperately in love with them. At the time you think that feeling’s going to last for ever, and there’s something rather noble about it (fortunately, in my experience, it wears off, which is a relief, if rather mundane). I was never much of a country music fan in my youth: Emmylou and her ilk were a far remove from the glam, disco and punk I grew up on. So I didn’t hear this until the early 90s, when it popped up on a compilation tape that a young man gave me during a short-lived affair. He was keener than I was, I was in love with another, all in all it was a very country-and-western situation played out in a flatshare in Islington, if memory serves.
Nice little blog for Jeff Funk here.
Dear London friends, just to let you know that I’m launching my new James Lear novel The Hardest Thing with a reading at my favourite shop in the whole world, Gay’s the Word, on 5 September. It’s free, it’s central, I’ll be saying dirty words and there may even be liquor. What more could you wish for?
The Facebook event page is here.
‘A blog tour’, they said. A new concept to me, but then again I still think microwave ovens are a novelty. So – I’m packing my virtual bags and over the next few weeks to promote my new James Lear novel The Hardest Thing. I’ll be doing one-night stands in venues across the internet. I shall endeavour to be entertaining or at the very least to give you free books. Here’s the itinerary if you want to stalk me.
Friday July 19 – http://www.mahubooks.blogspot.com/
Monday July 22 – http://www.longandshortreviews.com
Wednesday July 24 – http://quixoticorchid.wordpress.com/
Sunday August 4 – http://nikkamichaels.wordpress.com/
Wednesday August 14 – caribbeanaccentbookreviews.com
Monday August 19 – thekissmequicks.com
My new James Lear novel, the seventh so far, is just out in the US and will be coming out in the UK in August. It’s called The Hardest Thing, and it’s my take on the super-butch Lee Child/Jack Reacher thriller. It’s set in New York and New England, and it features a lot of ass-kicking as well as the more usual things that happen to that part of the male anatomy in Lear books. It’s getting some fantastic reactions on Amazon, Goodreads etc so I hope it does well. And I hope the man who inspired the sexy hero, Dan Stagg, doesn’t realise that I’ve made him do all these filthy things in a book.