Open Your Eyes
7″ Single, 1980
Bobby Caldwell is the man behind the mid-tempo-wanna-be-a-slow-jam classic “What You Won’t Do For Love.” Its in-between tempo was always a reason (in a long list of very good reasons) why I couldn’t ask some some girl to slow-dance in middle school (back when they would play a slow jam or two at a party!).
I didn’t discover “Open Your Eyes” until Common and Jay Dee increased its audience a couple of years back. I remember going to see Common and Jill Scott at The Hammerstein Ballroom in October of 2000, around when “The Light” was big. That was a memorable show for a couple of reasons. In between the time that they had booked the show and when it actually happened, Jill’s status had risen such that she was a little out of place playing before Common. The conversation while waiting for the show to start was whether she was opening for him or whether it was it a double bill and we never found out but we saw the answer to what was behind our question when she was presented with a gold record (for selling 500,000 copies of Who Is Jill Scott? (Words And Sounds Vol. 1)) at the end of her set…and then half of the crowd left.
To Common’s credit, after a twenty or thirty minute set change, he come on and put on a show that really engaged the remaining folks (it wasn’t THAT empty) and greatly exceeded my expectations. It included an un-akward mid-tempo slow dance with a 4-year-old to “Open Your Eyes” before he went into “The Light.” I was a little cocky about how music I thought I knew at the time (big surprise) so when a decent-sized portion of the crowd seemed to know the whole song (not just the parts that were sampled) and I didn’t, I got a little upset.
Needless to say, it went onto my master record shopping list and I eventually tracked it down. (Nothing like excessive pride to get you in touch with some good 7″s!)
Bobby Caldwell seems to be the master of the tempo-ambiguous love song. This song has become a Madame X late night classic and is often accompanied by lots of singing, acting and dancing. It seems to require both the dancing and the acting because it can’t make up its mind whether or not it’s a ballad.
What I love about this song, besides its overall charm, is that he is basically calling this woman a fool but he does it so lovingly, you wouldn’t really know. All he really says is “you think you’re so wise…open your eyes.”
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