Song Of The Day 8/20/2016: Yvonne Fair – “It Should Have Been Me”

The Hidden '70s, Part 2 – Songs like this are why I decided I wanted to DJ an R&B radio show. (Which I promise is still happening.) (I promise. Star Time Episode 2 should be up any day now.) (Oh God, I'm over-parenthesizing.) This is the kind of song that comes up after following a bunch of empty roads that makes the whole charade worth it, and this happens with me in soul music more than any other kind of genre. Yvonne Fair (1942-1994) was part of James Brown's extended collective on King Records. She recorded a single with Brown's band called "I Found You," which Brown later reworked into what's arguably his trademark song and the ultimate go-to movie trailer song for unimaginative film marketers across the globe.

After some relatively thankless background work in the '60s and '70s Fair turned up in 1976 with "It Should Have Been Me" (#85, 1976), a cover of a Norman Whitfield Motown song that was a minor hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1968. As seems to have been the case with a bunch of these Hidden '70s deals, Fair's version found favor in the UK where it made the Top 5. Fair's handlers gave it that primitive drum machine touch in the beginning, the same piece of flair that worked for Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" in 1973. But it's Fair's dynamic, whisper-to-a-cry singing that really pushes this one over for me. Yeah, it should have been her, chump.

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