Last year in commenting on a previous blog of mine, a friend used the word forensic to describe the photographs I had used. It was one of those times I wish I had thought about using it myself, because it is such a good word to relate to photography. I kept it in my head to potentially use at a later time. This is that time as it turns out, but it comes with a catch of sorts. I decided to go one step further and use the application of forensics to the music as well as the photography. For the photograph I wanted to use one that had many things to look at and required careful looking to see it all. Similarly, for the music I wanted to use a song that had multiple components. A variety of sounds that together make the song special.
The photograph I chose is one I have used a slightly different perspective of here in this blog previously (way back in Part 2). But this one has more of a closeup view of the scene which I felt necessary. I took it several years ago on the Highline, the wonderful elevated park running through portions of downtown Manhattan. The song on the other hand, is one I have long wanted to break down in this forensic manner if you will. Long before I ever began writing these blogs, I told people that if ever I were to teach music, I would start with ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’ by The Temptations. The song has the complete package-vocals by The Temptations original lineup of Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin together with the music provided by Motown’s legendary house band, The Funk Brothers. There is more happening within the first 15 seconds of the song than just about any other I can think of. But perhaps for the first time here, this blog is not about song lyrics, or emotions, or memories from my past joined together with the aid of a photograph. This blog is about looking closer. Looking through the microscope to see what we can find. As you will see, in one single photograph there can be many things to look at, and in one single song, there can be many components to listen to, if you do it carefully. So let the forensics begin.
First we need the evidence, so here is the photograph-
And now the song-
Next, here are the facts as we know them. The photograph in black, the song in blue