Sunday, February 19, 2017

Grammy dis of Jimmy Webb (Pocketful of Keys - Thelma Houston)

What was the big news at the Grammy awards? Low-class cow Adele won a “Best Album” award and instantly brayed that it should’ve gone to the tacky, ridiculous Beyonce. Oh, the racism! The head of the Grammy show also had to defend the show and tally up how many nominees "of color" there were, and contrast it with the number that won. Meanwhile, isn't it a fact that rap and R&B get so much time on the show that entire categories are ignored, and classical artists almost never get to perform? Hasn't Jay-Z been the host more often in the past years than anyone else?

One thing that was not addressed was why black artists have legitimized stealing. It’s called “sampling.” Or, heh heh, “sharing.” These days it’s hip (hop) to take somebody else’s melody and vocoder it a little and say it’s uniquely yours. It’s cool and legal to grab a sound effect somebody worked hard to achieve, and use it on your own song. Yo, be like Kanye the Genius - steal a third of a Jimmy Webb song, call it “Famous,” get Grammy nominations, and shrug when Webb isn’t nominated.

Since the media is too busy kissing Beyonce’s ass (how many people worked on her "Lemonade" album...dozens), and Kanye’s ass (17 people credited on "Famous") they sure as hell ignored old Jimmy’s complaint. Jimmy is a member of an unfashionable minority group. He's one of those antiquated singer-songwriters who don't rely on a committee of people or a dozen different producers to put out a product. Ageism is ok, while we cry about how Black lives matter and no other group. Not the Native Americans who tried to block a polluting pipeline. Not even the Latinos being literally walled out. Not older musicians who can't get label deals or any respect from companies that pay more attention to twits like Ariana Grande and twats like Beyonce.

Webb's attempt at seeking publicity and justice turned out to be just another hapless grumble on somebody’s Facebook page. HIS. Yes, reduced to muttering to his fans on Facebook about it, Jimmy pointed out that “More than 35% of ‘Famous’ is rooted in my song ‘Do What You Gotta Do.'”

Kanye West’s “Famous,” was nominated for Grammy awards in both the Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance categories. Webb has had a long, long career and written dozens of hit songs and dozens more that are excellently crafted works of art. How many Grammy awards do you think he has? Three. And, (shiver), his “Song of the Year” Grammy was for the horrible “Up Up and Away” sung by the black group The Fifth Dimension. Some of his most obscure songs ("Laspitch," "Friends to Burn") beat the entire Rihanna catalog.

Today, most performers rely on a formulaic bunch of producers and writers to give them the BEATS and EFFECTS to ride mediocre music and lyrics into the ears of moronic Millennial listeners.

Jimmy: “There are twelve writers on ‘Famous’ nominated to win Grammys, each responsible for about 5% of the song. And I, Jimmy Webb, AM NOT a nominated songwriter for ‘Famous....'So why am I being denied a nomination? Grammys ‘do not credit writers of sampled material or interpolated material in any of our song categories’. This is not a mere sample and it is more than ‘interpolated material’: ‘Do What You Gotta Do,’ with a new recording of Rihanna singing, is the first thing the listener hears, and what draws them in on West’s ‘Famous’ – it is the face of the song. The use of my chords and melody throughout becomes the backbone. And there it rests on the great Nina Simone singing ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ at the end. ‘Do What You Gotta Do is what the listener is left with, it is the foundation of ‘Famous.’ ‘Famous’ doesn’t stand without ‘Do What You Gotta Do.'”

The Grammy jerks told Jimmy that he could “submit a proposal” to alter the “rules.” Right. The rules are rigged and they won't change. They favor the NEW power, where record labels are bastard children to Spotify, Amazon and iTunes, and ego jerks such as Beyonce and Kanye are royalty. For all the whining about blacks not getting their fair share, those two, and a lot of rappers, outsell Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and Elton John. Guys like Jimmy Webb or Randy Newman are lucky to be on a label at all." The situation would be less painful if the work was "art." If it was GOOD. It sucks. Ed Sheeran sucks. Taylor Swift sucks. As for Beyonce and Kanye, they are even more annoying, as they parade around in Goddess gowns or flaunt gold-plated toilet seats. Queen Bey poses pregnant like she's the newly crowned Queen of Sheba. His Lordship of the Leather Skirt and Fur Coat, Kanye West, sinks into a glower if people don't bow down to him, or acknowledge his shit-eyed fat-assed Kardashian porn-video-leak-whore as beautiful and talented.

That’s the “sea change.” That’s the “paradigm.” That's having the power to ignore Webb's plea for fairness.

Back in the day, black artists recorded Jimmy Webb’s songs and he got paid. It was that simple.

They didn't "sample" something. They respected the artist, and sang the lyrics as they were written. Back then, it did not seem to matter if a white guy wrote the song a black artist sang, or vice versa. Yes, the music biz was corrupt, with its Payola and its power struggles, but people got paid. Maybe Webb and Donna Summer got a lot, with “Macarthur Park.” Maybe the royalty check wasn't so much when Thelma Houston recorded “Pocketful of Keys.” It was a better system back then. The latter song is your download. It's worth noting that back then, there wasn't a lot of racial cliche shit going on. Thelma Houston didn't buy into the cliche of singing nothing but soul songs. She wanted to cover a very thoughtful character study from Mr. Webb, and she did. No wonder it's so obscure it gets mentioned here. Good songs are rarely popular, huh? And the “songwriter” is more endangered than the manatee.

Pocketful of Keys Thelma Houston

1 comment:

John said...

Wow. I applaud you for having the guts and the enthusiasm to tell it like it T-I-is. For over 20 years I have been smoldering over the praise that pop artists have been getting for their "catchy" tunes that are nothing without their (uncredited) samples. Personally I haven't paid attention to the Grammys (or any award shows actually) since the '70s, believing that it is all a farce. But it does bother me when a true artist of his craft such as Jimmy Webb is not just forgotten for his contribution, but strategically disallowed recognition because "we have to draw the line somewhere".
It seems there's an endless list of talented people that have been denied their rightful acknowledgement and compensation for their work going back to Alan Freed and Elvis Presley adding their names to songwriting credits in order to get royalties, and that seems ok with the music industry. But by God, don't let a record company catch you downloading a 50 year old song for free without them getting their money. A song mind you that the record company has left out-of-print for decades.
Anyway, for the great article that you have shared with us, I say Hip Hop Hooray! I'd also just like to add that I'm amazed you were able to get thru an article on Jimmy Webb without mentioning Glen Campbell. Regards.