The Real Thing
Sergio Mendes & the New Brasil ’77
Sergio Mendes & the New Brasil ’77, 1977
I was looking for a nice warm-weather song for this week and this one is perfect in light of the upcoming “WONDER-Full (Part VII) Annual Tribute To The Genius Stevie Wonder” party. It’s a full night of Stevie classics, Stevie covers, Stevie-penned songs, Stevie samples, and little-known Stevie tracks brought to you by Bobbito, DJ Spinna and the fine folks at KeiStar Productions.
I went two years ago and had a little bit of an out-of-body experience. Not in the literal sense but in that I heard songs that I was totally used to dancing and jamming out to in my living room and all of the sudden, I was in the middle of a couple hundred people having the same would-be private reaction. Dancing at this event wasn’t really like dancing everywhere else. There’s no “that’s a hot beat” – people were moving in synch with vocal inflections, hi-hat hesitations and harmonica bends that they knew…WELL.
I remember looking up during the last 1/3 of “Please Don’t Go” to see Bobbito dancing in the DJ booth as if he was on the main floor and had just had his mind blown by something he hadn’t heard before. Of course, he had heard the song 100 times before. At that moment the entire room (the people sitting down, the people trying to look hard, the crazy “is that a cross between modern dance and capoeira?” dancers, etc) seemed to be in the same moment.
What does Stevie have to do with Sergio Mendes in a referee uniform, you ask? As unlikely as it may seem, Stevie co-wrote “Love City” and wrote “The Real Thing” on this album. Stevie pops up in all manner of places that you might not expect. My favorite is on Minnie Riperton’s Perfect Angel album. Aside from writing two songs under his “real” name, he’s also playing drums, piano, electric piano, and harmonica, billed as “El Toro Negro” (a play on his Black Bull Music Publishing Company). The arranging credit for the whole album goes to “Wonderlove.”
“The Real Thing” has a special place in my heart because it’s the first song I played in public. The DJ that I was playing after came back by the DJ booth to give me props for my selection. I thanked him…and then stood up a little straighter and relaxed my shoulders and went on to have a really good night.
>> songs are available for two weeks [6.4 MB]