Saturday, 1 November 2014

Adeva 'Respect'

Chart Peak: 17
This Otis Redding song originally made No. 10 for Aretha Franklin in 1967... Adeva's new version was a worldwide club smash and reached No. 17 in Britain in January 1989.
At this point I think my lack of expertise in club culture - especially club culture when I was ten years old - is quite well-documented. Perhaps if I had known more about it I would understand why Adeva performs the video for this track not only wearing a construction worker's hard hat but actually carrying a hammer around with her. I would suggest that it was some sort of fashion on the scene at the time, but surely nobody would actually be allowed into a club carrying a hammer? However old I might get though, I'm pretty sure I'll never see the day when I understand why an otherwise bald keyboard player would grow a ponytail.

Despite my lack of dancefloor action I do actually remember this track from the time, it being a much-played radio hit at the time. My recollection is, though, that it took me quite a while to recognise this as the same song as the Aretha version I was also familiar with as, unlike many a dance cover version, this is actually quite radical, spreading sections of the original lyric around the track. It almost feels more like a house track that samples 'Respect' than a cover version of it. I'd imagine that if you did want to try that in 1988 it would probably have been easier to get a session singer to redo the vocal than to use the limited capacity of samplers at the time; I'm reminded of A Guy Called Gerald's claim that his classic track 'Voodoo Ray', sadly not featured on a proper Now album, is only so called because his sampler didn't have enough memory for the whole phrase "voodoo rage". It must be said, though, that if Adeva was engaged on those terms she didn't do it, because this is no impersonation of Aretha (or Otis for that matter) but an original performance with its own phrasing and ad-libs: she doesn't even do the famous "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" from the Aretha version. I'm suspicious of glib proverbs like "If you're going to do a cover version, make sure it's different" but this is one case where it's really worked. Perhaps it doesn't pack the emotional punch of the 60s versions, and it doesn't quite have the same proto-feminist anger as Aretha's take, but it's a highly enjoyable

And of course as a loyal Forgotten 80s listener I couldn't let this moment pass without mentioning that this was the first of Adeva's three consecutive solo singles to peak at 17.

Also appearing on: Now 16
Available on: Adeva

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