Just got back from listening to Taylor Hicks' new clip at Rehearsals.com. Wish I hadn't gone. To say I was disappointed is a gross understatement. Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" was my favorite cover from Taylor's pre-idol days. I felt his passion for the music down to the bone when I listened to it, over and over, on GC in the early days. I couldn't get enough of Taylor's incredible take on this classic tune. Well, things change ... or so it seems. Maybe.
So, here's my take on this car-wreck of a video clip. It LOOKS like Taylor has forgotten the words, forgotten the tune, forgotten the passion. There is absolutely no artistic connection between him and the musicians. There is no joy in this performance. Don't believe me? Go watch the video clip and look at their faces. They are simply going through the motions, but only just barely. I had to force myself to watch it more than once, so I could be truly certain of what I was witnessing.
To be completely honest, at first when I watched it, I felt sickened with betrayal. How could Taylor allow such failure, when this song means so much to him on a personal level? Then I got to thinking. Taylor knows this song down deep in his soul. He owns it. He feels this song more than almost any other that he has done. How do I know this? He made me feel what he feels when he sings it, from the first time I heard it on GC. Then it struck me. This is not the performance he's got in him. Those of us who have followed his career closely know this. For whatever reason, he and the musicians in the band are NOT giving us their real take on it in this video. I don't think it was a bad day, or a bad take. I think this was done deliberately. I'm not going to try and guess the reasons. I just have confidence that Taylor has more respect for Ray Charles than this horrible representation suggests. It doesn't prevent me, however, from wholeheartedly wishing that this particular video clip had never been released. It's that bad. Just my humble opinion, folks.