STRINGS AND THINGS

Nancy: I Promise I’ll Wait
From 7″ (Mercede, 197?)

This song has been haunting me of late. Brendan was the first to put me up on it and a very nice Waxidermy seller broke me off with a copy on the cheap. Not much is known about either Nancy or Mercede Records though some have tried to suss out more info on this Florida based label/artist.

Right off the bat, the fact that Nancy dedicates the song to prisoners of war is notable and it frames the record within a particular historical moment. Yet…even though the song says, “I promise I’ll wait,” it’s not really obvious she’s talking about some lost POW love. In fact, if we’re really going to be picky here, the statement, “if we ever meet again, I promise I’ll wait” makes no sense. You don’t promise to wait for someone unless you *expect* to see them again but to say, “if we ever” means that possibility isn’t guaranteed. So what’s she saying here…she’s going to wait, possibly, forever? On the off chance they may meet again? I’m all for loyalty but c’mon.

But all this is secondary to 1) how stirring this deep soul track is. An absolutely striking, memorable arrangement of strings and guitar. Plus, 2) Nancy doesn’t have the greatest technical voice but she conveys a sincerity that’s affecting all the same.

Lovelites: Man In My Life
From 7″ (Lovelite, 1970)

Had this one on the back burner for a minute so it’s long overdue for me to show some love to this lovely piece of Chicago soul that showcases the mutli-harmonic beauty of the Lovelites’ vocals. The group is really undersung in my opinion; I’ve yet to hear anything from them that wasn’t solidly produced and performed. (Interestingly, though most of their career saw them only succeeding regionally, their one big national hit was a teen pregnancy song.)

“Man In My Life” is the b-side of one of their earlier singles and it’s another fine example of how a simple string accompaniment can add such a lovely dimension to a song. (Sorry for the distortion; I probably need to re-record this using a different needle unless it’s the vinyl itself that’s the issue).

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