Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Delfonics -- Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) (1970)

Last week, this Delfonics classic played out over XM's Soul Street station while driving on the 678 and I couldn't help myself: I had to croon along loud and clear. If there's one song that forces a white boy to pretend he's a soul man, this is right near the top.

Definitely on my soon-to-be-posted list of "best song intro's,""Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" was one of many classics written and produced by Philly soul genius Thom Bell. The Delfonics had already hit the top of the charts with "La La Means I Love You" two years earlier, but this song truly set the gold standard for arranging and songwriting.

And all of it honored with the Quentin Tarantino Jackie Brown soundtrack seal of approval.

Rare do you find a song that actually announces itself, like royalty approaching. Two joyous solo bursts of a French horn (or is it a fluegelhorn?), pause, and then the chorus melody emoted by the bells and the immortal sitar at the same time. Got to love the 70's soul hits with the sitar!

In a slow swaying beat you want to finger snap to, you've got the prototypical torn man lyrics, you done him wrong, all in a cushy warm reverb:

I gave my heart and soul to you, girl
Didn't I do it baby.... didn't I do it bay-bay

Gave you the love you never knew, girl
Didn't I do it baby... didn't I do it bay-bay

I've tried so many times and that's no lie,
It seems to make you laugh each time I cry

Tempo and key shifts, announced by the several brief punctuated trumpets:

Didn't I blow your mind this time, didn't I, oh,
Didn't I blow your mind this time, didn't I...

That accusing falsetto, the accompanying guilt trip...

I thought that heart of your was true, girl
Now didn't I think it baby, didn't I think it bay-bay

But this time I'm really lea-a-avin' you-u-u, girl, wo-o-oah,
Hope you know it baby... hope you know it bay-bay

There isn't a bad note in the arrangement, right through the instrumental break of the verse, with its wailing French horn and silky vocals "Didn't I do it baby... didn't I do it baby!"

Here are two videos of the song, one straight from the 45, the way it was meant to be heard... the second from 1973, the Delfonics performing live with a distinctly slower beat and stripped down arrangement.


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