Imagine this strange world aligning; An under-loved singer, child prodigy of Motown, raised in Detroit under the guidance of Frank Wilson, a chance meeting in a UK country pub decades later, a persuasion to get back to music. This could be the best made fake origin story, it could be down to the last letter true. I almost don’t want to go off Goggle sleuthing, I just like the romance and the tale.
And what a name. Memphis Stone. This could be the name of a maybe mythic singer, or it could be a thousand other things; the hulk-jawed detective in a film noir graphic novel, the 80s action movie chief who chewed out the rookies, the bouncer at strip joints in 70s down town New York who takes no mess, no bull and no shit. From the legend to band name this had me, and the track’s just as sweet as the gumph. And my me (I had to, it’s part of the job), it turns out the story’s all true.
So welcome Memphis Stone And the Elevators. Consider my taste buttons pushed. ‘Say Goodbye’ is a tough hardy head-blending mix of sounds that should not go together. There’s the Northern gospel psychedelic Britpop pomp of Primal Scream’s ‘Give Out But Don’t Give In’, there’s the horns and the big brass of Motown and soul, there’s the rush of a late Stooges muscle. There’s even a snag of Bernard Butler style melodies that get hung to the tough rhythmic hollers. And throughout it all, there’s a love, there’s a closeness, something like a natural exuberance. The enjoyment of making, playing and producing, it’s what make the track so damn attractive.
It’s busy, it’s full, it’s cohesively chaotic. It’s hook filled, nostalgic and open. I guess that’s what you get when experience glows, it’s a wealth of old tones in new places. Even the producer sounds a part of the band with the sonic based slap-backs and trickery. If there’s a hard-boiled equation between ego and skill, everything here lands just right. You’d need ears of concrete (anything other than Stone) to not take in the joy of this track.