Monday, 7 March 2011

I put a spell on you, 'cause you're mine!

"Fortune Teller", Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (2007, produced by T.Bone Burnett)

O.K. if you have never heard of Led Zeppelin, fuhgeddaboudit......close this blog and go back to sleep. If you look up the definition of classic rock this band would be front and center. But that is not what we are talking about today. 

Probably the most famous fortune teller song was 'Love Potion #9' done by the Clovers in 1959 (written by Leiber and Stoller). This has been done by Herb Albert and even ACDC - a very solid pop tune.

I like “Devil Woman” by Cliff Richard (1976) and “Gypsy Woman” by Brian Hyland (1970), written by Curtis Mayfield).  Other fortune teller/gypsy songs include: of course ‘Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves’ by Cher, ‘Gypsy’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Witch Queen of New Orleans’ by Redbone, and of course ‘I Put a Spell on You’, Credence Clearwater Revival (C.C.R.).

Superstition, black magic, gypsies and fortune tellers are popular themes in music. For some reason we romanticise with this stuff – why are Stevie Nicks and Horoscopes so popular after all?

Written by Allen Toussain, and originally done by Benny Spellman (good name for a song like this, but who?), this song has also been recorded by the Stones, The Who, The Merseybeats, and The Hollies The version I first heard was on the Who’s ” Live at Leeds” – a very excellent album in its own right.  (Canadian Bobby Curtola did a very lame song called ‘Fortune Teller” in the ’60 – if you need to remove the contents of your stomach for some reason, look that one up!)

This version has a haunting middle-eastern sound with Allison Krauss’s beautiful voice showcasing a pretty good fortune teller story. The elegant T. Bone Burnett production emphasises reverberating percussion that gives a good pop song some punch! Robert Plant is not  innocent enough for us to believe he is the dude seeking the fortune teller’s help, but his instantly recognizable and well-loved mature voice helps to redeem him from any indiscretions he may have ever perpetrated – o.k. well not really.  

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