We’re closing out the week with a familiar theme. It’s a live track by young D’Angelo covering a 1970s soul song. Not only that, it’s the second Ohio Players song we’re covering. I have a loose policy here at the D’aily that the length of the post should be equivalent to the length and/or relevance of the song, so let’s get down to business and make this one quick.
“Sweet Sticky Thing” was originally recorded by Ohio Players for their 1975 album Honey. The original is quintessential 1970s. Mellow and breezy funk. It’s also over six minutes long with at least two thirds of the song dedicated to an alto saxophone solo while vocalists simply repeat the line “sweet sticky thing.” It’s not bad, but I certainly wouldn’t have pegged this song as one worthy of a D’Angelo cover.
D’s version comes from a concert recorded in 1995, then released in 1998 as the D’Angelo Live at the Jazz Cafe, London album. However, the 1998 version of the album did not contain “Sweet Sticky Thing” and fans weren’t able to hear it until 2014 when the entire show was reissued. The version played on the 2014 album is barely 90 seconds long. It’s paired with a brief cover of Mandrill’s “Fencewalk” as a funky 1-2 punch to open the show.
D’Angelo’s live cover completely removes the sax solo and instead replaces it with a funkier beat, keyboards, and a lot of bass. I’m guessing it was easier and more economical to do it this way compared to building a band large enough to replicate the instrumentation on the Ohio Players original. D’Angelo’s version is only 90 seconds long and serves as more of an interlude than a full song, but I still prefer it over the Ohio Players version. I know the term neo-soul is a swear word in some circles, but I’m going to use it here anyway. I prefer 90s neo-soul to that mellow 70s stuff music. Neo-soul was more my era and generation. Give me the heavier bass and drums over the strings and saxophone of the 70s any day. Not dissing all 70s music by any stretch. Sometimes the vibe of that music makes my skin crawl and I’m not sure why. There’s a fine line between funky 70s like Stevie that I’d listen to every day and corny 70s that creeps me out. The Ohio Players’ version of “Sweet Sticky Thing” is closer to the latter for me.
One more observation: Ohio Players album covers had all the subtlety of the Kissable ad from the movie Boomerang.
With that, it’s time to wrap up the week. A brief song gets a brief post. Not that it should matter to the reader, but I’m going to be spending some time out of town in the coming weeks and it’s going to be tricky to post a song every weekday for the next three weeks. I’m going to need to get a few written in advance in case I can’t do my usual one per day. I need to take advantage of these opportunities for brief posts and move on to the next one. That’s exactly what I’ll do now. Coincidentally, Monday’s song is another relatively short one, but it’s funky as hell and deserves our attention. Join me again on Monday for the groove you need to propel you into the new week. Have a great weekend!