Michael Kiwanuka: Tell Me a Tale
From Home Again (Interscope, 2012)
I’ll totally cop to a massive late pass on this one. I probably have this album somewhere in a tall stack of “stuff I should have gotten around to” but hadn’t. It wasn’t until recently that my dude Sandeep up in B.C. reminded me to check this out and holy sh–, was this song amazing.
I know it’s not always a compliment to laud an artist for how he may remind you of other artists but with “Tell Me a Tale,” there’s just so many connections intersecting here.
Let’s start with how the song opens, with those darting flute flutters and some folksy ’60s acoustic guitar. And a dash of harp! And then Kiwanuka starts singing and damned if I didn’t suddenly flash to Jim Sullivan, the ghost man of “Jerome.” Kiwanuka’s voice has that same, haunting quality; it suggest a life with some mileage on it.
And then the horns come in and suddenly, it’s like Fela’s band stepped in the studio. At this point, I’m thinking, “wtf is going on here.”
And then…(you see a pattern here?) the song drops into an interpolation of The Icemen’s “She’s a Fox.”. Are you f—-ing kidding me? Who the hell is this guy?
By that point, my brain mostly melted down into the following running dialogue: “thisissogoodthisissogoodthisissogoodthisissogoodthisissogoodthisissogood”
The album is Home Again. I’m going to be studying it like it’s on the test.