Part of me really belongs on the west coast. I was actually born there in Anaheim, but I’ve spent nearly all of my life living in the desert southwest. However, here and there my love of certain things makes me think I really am a coastal boy at heart. One thing I love is west coast pop and R&B. This is why my pick of the day “Little Italy” from Stephen Bishop, with a great assist from Chaka Khan, feels perfect for the day.
Stephen was a master of making great breezy west coast pop; just the stuff that makes you want to wade in the water all day and forget about doing much of all the rest of it. What makes this song so cool is that I can hear him try to create an east coast pop/r&b sound…think Manhattan, Coney Island, NJ boardwalk. This is brilliant in my opinion. He is tapping a musical vein that is urbane, kinda gritty, and conciliatory to the Italo-American sound and feel of that coast, yet with a new breeziness that is Easterly, and very Atlantic to draw you in.
Just listen to that pseudo-Italian guitar and vocal delivery morph from coast to coast, his Pacific-tinged subdued vocals met by Chaka Khan’s considerably more New Yorkino backing. My favorite part of this whole song starts around the minute mark when Chaka comes in and throws that song into that gorgeous bridge full of Mediterranean-style horns that Bishop vamps over. This song becomes positively bicoastal then. On a day like this, when the sun is no longer tentatively warming up, something this comfortable just makes me feel like I’m halfway from any coast.
Before the Spotify link to the track, check out Stephen’s performance of “Save it for a Rainy Day”, another great track from the same album. This track actually features both Clapton and Chaka Khan, what get!