Song Of The Day 6/12/2014: Sam & Dave - "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down"


Black Music Month/Memphis Week: "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" is a song from my second favorite album of all time... Get Happy!! by Elvis Costello & the Attractions. Even more noteworthy: Elvis' cover was my first real exposure to his music. When I first heard the song on KZAP in Sacramento I got confused, because the infallible, deified music journalism construct had been telling me Costello was a "punk" artist for three years, and the Memorandum Of Fear my church passed out informed me that I had to refrain from all instances "punk" that might get hurled into my pathway to righteousness by Satan, or Sid Vicious. But "ICSUFFD" sounded nothing like punk. I found it very agreeable. This song wasn't destructive or nihilistic -- in fact it stood on guard against falling down. Listen to it closely and there's no doubt that the singer much prefers a perpendicular, upright existence.

Although it wasn't punk, Costello's version was still a drastic reworking of Sam & Dave's original reading. In their hands it was a strong, persistently revealing ballad, in the vein of their beautiful standard "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby." Costello's version was a bouncing jump party that still fit the melancholy of the lyrics just as well. "ICSUFFD" was composed by Allen Jones and Homer Banks, a couple of songwriters just outside the perimeter of Stax's innermost circle of best-known song authors (although Banks was in on the songwriting of the hits "Who's Making Love" and "If Loving You Is Wrong ['I Don't Want to Be Right]").

Interesting lyrical twist: "The vow that we made / You've broken in two / But that won't stop Sam & Dave from loving you!" Kind of an alteration of course from yesterday's SOTD in which such sharing was strongly discouraged. But they both appear to know about each other, so I guess they're okay with it. Never knew Memphis was that progressive.


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