It’s late Sunday night. I’ve spent the entire day doing work around the house. I’ve been helping my son with some school work. Hanging a ceiling fan in my daughter’s bedroom. I sat down for a bit to watch the Pats/Bucs game. I was ready to go to bed after a long but productive day and suddenly as I was walking down the hallway to my bedroom it hit me. Shit! It’s Sunday night. The D’aily isn’t done. In fact, I haven’t even started. Damn. So, here I am against my better judgment writing a post well past my bedtime. Not the first time…
Luckily the D’aily Random Song Generator did me a favor and gave me a live cover. Much like “Fencewalk” a few weeks ago, “I’m Glad You’re Mine” is a track from D’Angelo’s Live At The Jazz Cafe. The concert was recorded in September of 1995 and six songs were released in 1998. In 2014 the complete concert was released and that included “I’m Glad You’re Mine” along with five more tracks.
Unlike the 1:48 snippet of “Fencewalk” that opens the concert, “I’m Glad You’re Mine” gets more attention. It clocks in at 6:14, the final two minutes of it are an instrumental transition to D’Angelo’s hit song “Lady.” The other major difference between “I’m Glad You’re Mine” and “Fencewalk” is the recognizability of the content. “Fencewalk” wasn’t exactly a hit and the band who originally recorded it, Mandrill, weren’t a household name. On the other hand, “I’m Glad You’re Mine” was originally performed by beloved soul legend Al Green. “I’m Glad You’re Mine” is the second track from Green’s 1972 classic I’m Still In Love With You, ranked number 285 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time. It’s sandwiched on the album between “I’m Still In Love With You” and “Love and Happiness,” two of Green’s greatest hits. Hip hop has given “I’m Glad You’re Mine” a second life over the past several decades as it’s been sampled in hundreds of hip hop songs. The unique drum rhythm, string arrangements, and quick hitting horns make the song unforgettable and ripe for sampling. My favorite use of this track for hip hop purposes comes from Eric B. and Rakim’s 1990 track “Mahogany.” Rakim’s voice over that unmistakable Al Green sample makes for an incredible old school hip hop ballad.
With “I’m Glad You’re Mine” 21-year-old D’Angelo wasn’t just covering an old soul song. He was announcing to the world that he was ready to take the baton from the old guard. He was worthy of playing music by the likes of Al Green and other legends. D’Angelo’s cover is enjoyable, but I’d love to see what he could do with it now in 2021. The Jazz Cafe version is a note for note cover of the song limited by the instruments D’Angelo had available at the time. It’s mellow and enjoyable, but it’s almost too easy. The original version had some grit. D’s version is smooth. I have a feeling D’Angelo would have a different interpretation of this song 25 years later with more experience and a better band.
That’s all the time I’m giving to “I’m Glad You’re Mine” today. It’s a lovely song, but it’s obviously not D’Angelo’s. It’s an Al Green classic and young D’Angelo just paid tribute to him by featuring it in his concerts. The fact that I wasn’t released until nearly 20 years after he performed it tells me that it was probably never intended to be released as part of the album. Too many impatient fans like me were waiting for something from D at that time, so they threw us a bone. There are better D’Angelo songs.
That’s all for the start to week three of the D’aily blog. Now that I know what day it is and remember that I need to be typing these every night again this week I’ll be back again tomorrow, hopefully with something that has more story to tell. Happy Monday, y’all. Make it a good week.