11 August 2011

Talent Rising: Gina Sicilia, "Before the Night is Through" (2011)

First time I heard Before the Night is Through, I was sure it was a cover of an old '60s pop song. And I was wrong. Singer / songwriter Gina Sicilia, a brand new voice on the American blues / crossover scene, wrote this song herself for her 2011 album Can't Control Myself. But this young artist is certainly paying attention to the roots of her music -- blues and otherwise.

My ear tells me Gina's song owes a lot, lyrically and musically, to Save the Last Dance for Me (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman), originally recorded by The Drifters (with Ben E. King) in 1960. (I put a couple of the many covers of this classic up on the red jukebox in the left column.) Gina, however, creates her own song here, first with her variation on the Save the Last Dance lyrical theme and melody, and then with her personal vocal style, the early New Wave variation on a ska rhythm, and the Mediterranean elements that lace the tune. If she can keep writing like this, we may have a modern day Brill Building songwriter on our hands.

That's what first caught my ear, anyway. I posed this question to a knowledgeable colleague of mine. Before the Night is Through reminded him of a mid-'60s Drifters hit, Under the Boardwalk. Your thoughts on the roots of Gina's song would be greatly appreciated.

I have reached one personal conclusion about Gina's Before the Night is Through: no respectable jukebox should be without this song.



Addendum 12 August 2011: One of the commenters, Shannon Eric Peevey, notes that the solo guitar work at the instrumental break and the end is very much in the style of Django Reinhardt. Damn right, and fine Django style work it is. Thanks Shannon Eric.

9 comments:

whiteray said...

Boy, this one is a treat! Its influences are all over the map, too. Ska, as you mentioned, and its "skritch-skritch" echoes some hip-hop deejay stuff, as I hear it. Very clearly the two Drifters/Shuman-Pomus tunes you mention (and Doc Pomus, as I understand it, was always up front in acknowledging that a lot of the rhythms in his songs came from the Caribbean). And is there a hint of Hawaiian in that last guitar solo before the fade-out? Then, vocally, I hear a bit of Maria Muldaur (which is a compliment from me). Quite a nice find. Thanks!

Paco Malo said...

Thanks, whiteray. I knew you were the man to sort out the influences that form the roots of this wonderful song.

MAK said...

I like the song.

Rosie Sayer said...

I agree, the song sounds an AWFUL lot like "Save the Last Dance for Me." I had never heard of this artist, but I like her voice. Thanks for contributing to my musical education.

Paco Malo said...

The pleasure is all mine, Ms. Sayer.

Shannon Eric Peevey said...

Don't forget the Django-esque solo guitar playing :) (to add to the mix)

Paco Malo said...

Shannon, I heard it too. My problem is I think Django's style is so exquisite, I'm too careful about using Django's name. Thanks for taking the heat for me.

And welcome.

bostig said...

A very good song

Paco Malo said...

Thanks for the thumbs up on "Before the Night is Through", bostig.

Folks, bostig has quite an impressive set of blogs. Check out his work by clicking his (or her) name at the comment immediately above.