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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 133
Mon. May 21, 2012

“Sometimes Always [feat. Hope Sandoval]”
The Jesus & Mary Chain
1994

“♫ I gave you all I
had/ I gave you good and
bad/ I gave but you just threw
it back
[…] ♫”

One of my favorite duets, save for “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny & Dolly, has to be this one from Jesus & Mary Chain’s Stoned & Dethroned LP circa 1994.

In all reality, the JAMC were created by the brothers Jim and William Reid because, “…we couldn’t find records that we liked to buy.” JAMC put their foot to the distortion pedal and created a band with a sound both Reid brothers desired.

But—JAMC didn’t just blow the guitar amps to make sound crafted songs. The brothers Reid incorporated, “the pop sensibilities of The Shangri-Las with the production values of (Nick Cave’s) The Birthday Party…and that’s us…psycho and candy two extremes on the same record.” Mix in a little surf guitar inspiration and you have the JAMC sound in full effect.

Stoned & Dethroned was supposed to be their “unplugged” record but William Reid explained what happened during the S & D Sessions—“We talked for years about making an acoustic record. But then when we were in a recording studio we found we couldn’t. We couldn’t do enough interesting things with acoustic guitars to make an album. So we thought we would make things more loose, and added acoustic guitars together with electric guitars, and then totally stripped everything down to basics.”

The highlight of the album was Jim’s duet with his brother’s flame at the time—Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. Originally Jim wasn’t the first choice to duet with Hope. Jim explained when he said. “The original idea was to get Lee Hazelwood [Editor’s Note: Nancy Sinatra’s famous duet partner and co-writer] to sing in a duet with Hope and it nearly happened. We talked to him on the phone and it was going to happen, but it all fell apart at the last minute […] so then I stepped into his shoes.”

Why Lee Hazelwood, you ask and not Jim you ask?—“I always loved an idea of a good duet…Lee and Nancy were pretty much the blueprint for [“Sometimes Always.”]

So what is it about “Sometimes Always” that makes it timeless for me? Let’s face it with Hope Sandoval makes this a classic. Hope’s sultry kiss off vocals so sweet yet biting are the definite highlight for me. How about the fact that electric JAMC’s Brothers Reid successful wrote recorded and produced a successful acoustic flavored riff centric ballad!

Actually “Sometimes” could also be a reflection of William and Hope’s volatile relationship. “Sometimes Always” is the perfect spark song for a modern on and off love affair where lust, hate and hurt are ruling emotions in a climatic and unhealthy union.

Hot tempered love never sounded this good—thanks to Hope’s sultry vocal styling’s and JAMC’s acoustic flavor making “Sometimes Always” irresistible duet between Sandoval and William Reid.

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