Song Of The Day 8/6/2014: Billy Joe Royal - "Hush"



How Original: "Hush" was the unofficial beginning of songwriter Joe South's lane-change in the late '60s, which saw him moving away from the agreeably poignant slice-of-life songs like Billy Joe Royal's "Down In The Boondocks" and towards all that permit-free consciousness-expanding that was going on after Ken Kesey delivered a pastrami sub to City Hall. Wow, that... that opening sentence was kind of half-assed retrograde psychedelia, wasn't it? That wasn't intentional. Forgive me. I thought I'd shaken off the amber-hued cyclones of an undeserved heraldic past, where the decanters serve as leafy executioners and the voices of a thousand optimistic eunuchs do the... dammit! Why don't you guys stop me when you see that happening? It's a two-way street, free blog consumer!

Anyway, back to Joe South and Billy Joe Royal. In addition to South's attempt to unify everyone in peace, love and understanding with "Games People Play" -- actually one of the much better pop by-products of the attempted Aquarian Age -- South uncorked "Hush" on Royal in 1967, which encouraged Royal to unlock his inner soul shouter, as opposed to the plain, shying-away boy of "Boondocks." It worked: Royal's singing is gutsy and subtle, especially when he sings the title in transistor-radio vibrato. The record-buying public preferred the 1968 recording by newcomers Deep Purple, who threw fuzz-guitar and under-appreciated organ hustler Jon Lord on it for extra hushing. You could do worse.


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