Title: Sunshine Superman
Album: Sunshine Superman
I'm always intrigued when I hear a song that uses the tried and true 12-bar blues progression in an interesting way. For those who are not familiar with the form it looks like this:
I / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | IV / / / | / / / / | I / / / | / / / / | V / / / | IV / / / | I / / / | / / / / |If it's still unclear, think about every 1950's rock and roll song you've ever heard ("Blue Suede Shoes," "Hound Dog," "Rock Around the Clock," etc.). In this case, however, Donovan Leitch sets the chord progression over a slow not-quite-Latin chugga-chugga groove and layers of seemingly disparate instruments: upright bass, harpsichord, bongos and a slithery electric guitar that mimics the chromatic descent of the lead vocal. The first eight bars still sound so fresh and cool, reminding me of "Way Down in the Hole" by Tom Waits (another slow blues, but of the 16-bar variety) which wouldn't show up for another 20 years.
Leitch has a way with vocal harmony too, layering his droning nasal tenor on the line "cause I've made my mind up" before bringing it all together in a unison descending octave leap. It's a cool singalong moment and a perfectly executed hook. Surrounding himself with some slick session players, including Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and jazz drummer Bobby Orr, was a smart idea too. Perhaps not as adventurous or groundbreaking as "Season of the Witch" but definitely more fun to sing in the car.