“This is Joe South. Put Nixon on the line!”
The song I bring you today is a very far-out and somewhat uncharacteristic (yet very groovy) effort by one of my all time favorite artists, the mighty Joe South.
South, one of the preeminent songwriters of the 1960s with a criminally overlooked recording career of his own (his Capitol LPs are essential) is known mainly for that intersection of rock, soul, R&B and pop that was all over the American south in the 60s, with folks like Tony Joe White, Bobbie Gentry and South himself crossing all kinds of stylistic borders.
Though South’s oeuvre was marked with occasional psychedelic touches (though no more so than most pop artists of the day) the track I bring you today is a full-on, trippy soundscape.
‘A Million Miles Away’, which appeared on the 1969 ‘Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home’ LP sounds like it had it’s genesis in a studio guitar jam, and grew into something a lot weirder.
Here we have South’s guitar, aided by percussion, dancing from stereo channel to stereo channel, wrapped in reverb and echo, and culminating in a recorded phone call where South himself calls the White House, asking to leave a message for President Nixon from the “hip community”.
It’s unlike anything else on the album – which is packed with great songs, including the hit ‘Walk a Mile In My Shoes’ – or pretty much anything else South ever did.
The cool thing is, that the song/sound collage is genuinely trippy.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.