With his latest life during quarantine playlist, Nick Triani discusses touch and intimacy in a post-Covid world, Stevie Wonder celebrations and AOR singer/songwriter Judie Tzuke.
My partner made a great observation to me about touch and intimacy in a post-Covid world. Casual sex anyone? Illicit affairs? Salacious kissing behind the bike sheds? Who fancies these interactions in public places I wonder? A great barometer of course is the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. A potential killer illness created fear and confusion and had an impact on sexual activity.
But social factors impact on my subconscious and that exchange of bodily fluids seems most inappropriate right now. In a less sensual sense, the casual handshake, hug with an old acquaintance or relative are now considered officially passé, our physical exchanges remapped and dissolved. And if we think for a moment about the implications in the long term, as human beings it repositions an unsaid need at this time – closeness. At a time when we need to be together, the overriding sense is to keep our distance from each other.
On a positive note, it was great to see Stevie Wonder‘s 70th birthday so widely celebrated. Little Stevie’s early output is seriously underrated, but the run of albums between Music Of My Mind (1972) through to Songs in the Key of Life (1976) is where the reputation is built. Wonder was a prodigious talent for such a young age. His first self-penned hit came when he was just eleven years old. But that run of 1970s records added depth to the Motown sound and political insight to the hit single nous Wonder’s talent had always displayed. I’d like to think it was these musical achievements we were celebrating this past week.
In keeping with making stuff available during Covid-19, some bright spark published a whole slew of the now legendary John Peel Sessions. A few discoveries from the time when I was an ardent Peel listener during my early teens are included on this week’s playlist.
I’ve recently wondered, if the timelines had allowed, where Fairport Convention might have gone next if they’d got someone like Judie Tzuke into the band after Sandy Denny had left. Tzuke is a singer/songwriter who fitted into the fabric of the then aspiring UK AOR scene of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Tzuke hit gold with a couple of singles from her decent debut album Welcome to the Cruise , released on Elton John‘s Rocket Records. ‘Understanding’, my favourite cut of Tzuke’s, has remained a constant for me since I was a teenager. One of those ballads with an earnest delivery elevating the track above normal singer/songwriter perceptions. It still feels real to me and one wonders what might have been with Tzuke.
Nick Triani is an editor and contributor to One Quart Magazine.