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When your job requires you to create something from scratch which doesn’t serve an actual purpose other than to bring aesthetic pleasure to the consumer, the question has to be raised whether or not it’s a good thing to merely churn out something that largely falls short of that stated goal.

Though there are occasionally bad songs that become hits and turn a profit, and probably a few more mediocre ones that do a little better than break even, when you know you have songs that are bound to be ignored what exactly is the benefit of putting them out, spending money to press, ship and advertise them?

Just asking for a friend.


You Made Me Sing The Blues Too Long
So far Marie Adams has had three releases including one very worthy hit right out of the gate but after that nothing else much worth mentioning.

It’s not that the rest of her output has been poorly sung, she’s got a good voice, strong technical skills and a pretty good sense of conveying the emotional qualities inherent in the material. It’s just that the material itself is rather underwhelming, yet not so bad it’s off-putting.

Take Sweet Talking Daddy, a tune that just barely checks all of the relevant boxes for rock ‘n’ roll, yet doesn’t seem to try and do more than that and give us something truly memorable.

It’s got a standard story of a woman growing disgusted over her man’s cheating and telling him off.

It has a modest groove, an easy-going rhythm and it even has the right instruments more or less to carry such a song off, yet none of that is pushed hard enough to get us to sit up and really pay attention.

So how are we supposed to react to a record that gives us nothing to praise even if it doesn’t actually do anything worthy of outright disapproval either?

Well, how about just “disinterest”?


It Makes No Difference What You Say
Marie Adams’ vocal is the best thing about this but it’s still not anything that will bowl you over. She’s delivering the song with confidence but doesn’t have enough to work with in order to make it really stand out.

She sings with conviction, yet not with passion. To achieve the latter she could go in one of two ways, either pour on the anger and disgust, letting her words drip with venom, snarling and sneering at the guy she’s kicking to the curb.

Or she could respond with disdainful outrage, as if she’s amused by this no-good man’s feeble attempts at maintaining a relationship with her while seeing – count them – SIX other women.

That’s the choice I’d want to see – equal parts sarcasm and sass – because it would add color to the record while allowing you to keep a rather straightforward arrangement and thus maintain the same basic tempo so it doesn’t have to be completely overhauled, yet in doing so it’d add plenty of bite to the song with each new way she finds to scoff at this Sweet Talking Daddy.

But without those things the song as written seems a little disjointed somehow, even though it follows a fairly predictable path. There’s no memorable verbal hook she can keep returning to that would allow us to refocus ourselves each time through. Instead it merely unfolds like a person telling a story at a bar, getting all the details in but failing to hold our attention all the same. Sometimes you just have to give yourself over to a bit of exaggerated hyperbole to get a laugh and make a point stick rather than treat everything like a court deposition.

Thus it falls to the arrangement to try and pull its head above water, but even though it’s not out of date or refuting the basic rock principles in how its carried out, it gives us nothing to latch onto. Cherokee Conyers is merely aiming for something to hold you in a mild trance, the horns ebbing and flowing like the tide, yet it’s not giving this enough of an undertow to do that. Had he consented to have other instruments darting in and out, maybe provide two or more distinct parts that overlap and work off each other, then maybe this would be active enough to capture our imagination a little more.

Instead it all works together in a genial fashion which excites no one. Even the sax solo, though containing a good enough tone to pass muster, doesn’t raise the level of urgency or excitement in the track to really notice.

It’s hard to say they’re just going through the motions since it’s not lazy in any way, but it’s definitely not inspired to say the least.

I Don’t Even Care To Listen
Maybe this indifferent response is just a case of accumulated apathy on my part. The inevitable waning interest of doing anything – day in and day out – for so long.

The overall story of rock, we said at the beginning, is as much about the also-rans and never-weres as it is about the superstars and massive hits, yet hearing one middling song after another and trying to find new ways to detail how they fall short without actually sinking to the level of being unlistenable gets harder with each passing month.

Marie Adams isn’t at fault here. Heck, Sweet Talking Daddy is just her third release, we can’t be tired of her yet especially since we still find her to be a good singer even when the material is rather nondescript.

We can criticize Don Robey for rushing this out on the backside of an ill-advised cover song just a month after her last release, but we already ripped him for that yesterday and this cut probably would’ve come out a month or two later anyway.

Nope, what it is, I think, is the growing realization that – like most jobs, including writing full-length music reviews of old records – making records can be done somewhat competently by most artists we come across, yet basic competence doesn’t really get us excited.

We don’t compliment the chef for making a simple hamburger, we never recommend a hotel for merely having a clean room and we rarely remember having a blandly pleasant conversation with someone we met standing in line at the grocery store for two minutes.

Likewise we might not feel put out by hearing a record like this, but when we hear so many of them that don’t really make the effort to be special, it’s hard to give them even begrudging credit for being adaquate.

Kinda like this review isn’t good enough to be recommended reading for anyone other than insomniacs.

So give us both the same subpar grade and hope that tomorrow we all do a little better.


(Visit the Artist page of Marie Adams for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)