Saturday Night Music, March 27, 2010: Stevie Wonder, “Please Don’t Go,” 1974

When we were still in the Analog Age, in the Seventies, when some of you were still a glint in your mom’s eye, this was the last cut, side two of the platter. Where was I? I was a college sophomore, working as a cashier for an independent record store near campus (which also was known for selling bootlegs). The owner, who also co-owned a shop that sold gigantic pillows, was a cross-dresser who grew his own breasts for his woman, and raised Yorkies. (Note: she later turned lesbian and kicked him out; but that didn’t happen until much, much later.) I had graduated from living in the dorms to living with a group of young white people in a house where I had my own bedroom and helped to cook dinner each week.

Wiki says that Fulfillingness’ First Finale, from which “Please Don’t Go” is cut, was the fourth of the five consecutive albums that constitute Stevie Wonder’s “classic period,” when this man could do no wrong on the radio and in record sales and at the Grammys. I will say, though, that this album took a while for me to appreciate in full. Other than “You Haven’t Done Nothin'” with the Jackson Five doing the doo-doo-wops, another commentary on Nixon and his politics during Watergate, and this song, the album seemed to be a bit of a downer. The songs seemed slower, darker, bleaker, as if there was trouble in paradise. Eventually, I thought “Creepin’,” with Minnie Riperton, singing about desire sneaking in on little cat feet, was lovely, particularly when I heard it late one night on one of the San Jose FM stations. But still, it wasn’t out there like his earlier songs, “You and I,” or “Tuesday Heartbreak,” or “You Are The Sunshine of My Life,” or even “All in Love is Fair.”

I loved “Please Don’t Go” because there’s so much going on in it, and so many people participating (The Persuasions, Deniece Williams, Shirley Brewer in the choir; Michael Sembello on guitar) as if Stevie was summoning up once again the excitement–and the lows–of all of the previous cuts on Fulfillingness’ First Finale and leaving us with a finished aural painting.

The part I love best?

Yeah, yeah, yeah so baby please don’t leave
Don’t leave Steve
If you leave baby my poor heart would grieve
So I say yeah yeah yeah
Don’t go
Don’t go baby, don’t go baby,
Don’t go baby, don’t go baby,
Don’t go baby, don’t go baby,
Don’t go baby, don’t go baby,
Don’t go baby, darling,
Don’t leave me baby,
Wow a wow a wow
Wow a wow a wow
Wow a wow a wow
No baby don’t leave me baby
Yeah baby don’t get on that A train
Hear me, hear me, hear me, hear me
Cryin’. For your lovin’ in the midnight hour,
Cryin’. For your lovin’ in the morning. I was.
Don’t go baby, hear me cryin’, oh no oh no,
Don’t go baby, no no no no, oh no no yeah, yeah, yeah.

~ by blksista on March 27, 2010.

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