Song Of The Day 6/19/2014: Billy Paul - "Am I Black Enough For You?"

Black Music Month/Philadelphia Week: Those of you from the old days of Olympia karaoke, back when we did it for the love of the game and not the endorsement deals, will remember that I actually did have a small set of go-to songs. I no longer maintain that list, mainly because I don't do nearly as much karaoke these days, what with the being married, the having kids, the job, the sciatic nerve issue, the nights teeming with piercing regret. One of the songs in the go-to pile was "Me And Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul. I would estimate in the course of my old karaoke career that I did "Me And Mrs. Jones" upwards of 30 times. It's got such a simple and obvious set of vocal directives. That, and folks love the songs about adultery.

Billy Paul didn't really have another hit besides "Jones," though Gamble & Huff were able to coax a lot of character from Paul's voice, maybe the most idiosyncratic on the entire Philadelphia International roster. They managed to come up with a really good album called 360 Degrees of Billy Paul, this percolating protest song being a highlight. I know it may be a bit disparaging to call a "protest" song "percolating," but that's what it does. It percolates. Be happy it doesn't clump.

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