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Why Won't You Let Me Be Black?

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Reseña de álbum

Nathaniel Mayer's big moment in the spotlight didn't last long — his sole hit, the truly wild "Village of Love," climbed the charts for a few months in 1962 and he never had a follow-up. But when Mayer returned to recording and performing in the new millennium, he didn't waste time — after the release of I Just Want to Be Held in the fall of 2004, Mayer kept himself busy touring and recording, releasing Why Don't You Give It to Me? in 2007 and regularly playing shows in America and Europe until he was sidelined by a stroke in the spring of 2008 (complications would claim his life before the year was out). While the sessions for Why Don't You Give It to Me? only lasted two days, there were six tunes left over, and combined with two acoustic performances from radio broadcasts, they've been released as Why Won't You Let Me Be Black? (The title comes from something Mayer told a French promoter after he got tired of the haute cuisine regularly served to him backstage.) Several of the tracks on this album sound more like spontaneous jams than songs, in particular "Mr. Tax Man" and "The Puddle," and Mayer's voice sounds worn and frayed on many of these songs. But if the flesh is weak, Mayer's spirit is strong and confident on these recordings, and he has a marvelous rapport with his band (which features Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry, and Troy Gregory of the Witches and the Dirtbombs); even on the tunes that sound spontaneous, his vocals merge beautifully with the tough guitar-centered sound of the musicians. And Mayer's songcraft is inspired; "You Are the One" and "The Girl Next Door" are the sort of soulful, passionate love songs they just don't write anymore, and "Mr. Tax Man" and "The Puddle" are compelling '70s-style rock-funk hybrids that sound smart and streetwise as Mayer sings about war, economic injustice, drugs, and homelessness. Why Won't You Let Me Be Black? may be a collection of loose ends, but these are loose ends well worth hearing, and they're a striking reminder of how strong and passionate an artist Nathaniel Mayer was right up to the end.


Nacido(a): 10 de febrero de 1944 en Detroit, MI

Género: Blues

Años de actividad: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Nathaniel Mayer is best known for "Village of Love," a 1962 hit for Detroit's Fortune Records, a small independent label run by Jack and Devora Brown. Mayer was only 18 at the time, yet his vocal on this classic track was a worldly and gritty croon, while his backing band, the Fabulous Twilights, exploded behind him with a sort of raw garage soul, making "Village of Love" somewhat of a magnificent lost nugget. A Detroit native, Mayer had a couple other memorable sides to his credit, including "I...
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Why Won't You Let Me Be Black?, Nathaniel Mayer
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