Time Is On My SideHey Googlers: so I'm the #1 search result when you search the terms "bandleader winding." It's always nice to be number one at something. But why, on today of all days, are so many of you searching "bandleader winding?" It's sending my traffic to the moon, and while I'm thrilled, I'm really curious. Please let me know in the comments section -- I'm dying to know what's up.
The Rolling Stones' ability to write astonishing rock songs is only exceeded by their ability to cover even more astounding songs by actual black people and brand them forever in the public consciousness. Case in point: Time Is On My Side, a rock radio staple since the Stones covered it in 1964.
Charlie Watts and the boys (you never read that phrase, do you) may have thought that they were covering Irma Thomas's rendition of the tune, released a month or so prior. However, Thomas herself was covering a tune orginally released in October 1963 by Kai Winding and his Orchestra.
Winding was a bandleader and trombone player extraordinaire. You don't usually think the of the trombone as a buttery, elegant, tear-jerking instrument, especially in the hands of a cracker like the vanilla pillar you see on the right, above, next to a young Miles Davis. And it's not, at least on this track.
Winding's trombone would etch a cosmic pattern kissed by silver-tongued angels straight onto your eardrums if it were not for The Enchanters' soaring, ecstatic vocals. The lead singer (whose name I can't find at the moment) teeters on the brink of screaming in righteous, ecstatic agony without ever quite slipping into a maudlin trench of self-pity. The lyrics themselves are incredibly minimal, simply "Time is on my side ... you'll come running back to me."
The song doesn't need anything else. Winding's trombone provides the melody that Ron Wood and his gang of louts smeared over with words in their more famous release.
I've listened to this song at least fifteen times today, and it has not stopped sending tiny electric ripples over the surface of my skin. As I recline here at my desk, alone, on the sixteenth listening, I feel the same way I did at the first: I am exhilarated and sweetly exhausted, as though I'm laughing after a tremendous cry and resolving that things will be different as the tear-tracks fade into the rest of my face. The world is brighter, like a particularly nasty storm has just moved away and the sunlight seems so sweet. Wilson Pickett's version of the same song plays immediately after and it feels like a tepid exercise from a brokedown hack.
Males are not allowed to cry in contemporary American cultures, and I think that's exactly why the obsessive love of pop music is largely the dominion of dudes: it allows us to feel what our culture does not. We don't have the necessary emotional safety valve that women have, and so we bottle everything up, drink too much and fall in love with pop music. I'm not saying it's healthy or good, but it's gotten us this far.
So after all that hot balloon juice, here's the song itself:
Time Is On My Side, by Kai Winding and The Enchanters
This song will be available for seven days, or until 25 people download it, whichever comes first. If you do go to download it and it's no longer there, please leave me a message in the comments section. This will both let me know that it's time to re-upload it, and give me some idea of how many people are actually paying attention out there...