When I'm listening to a song for the first couple of times, I'm not focused on it, I'm just enjoying it, feeling it, and being with it. Sometimes you hear a song for the first time, and one particular lyric will define the song for you, regardless of the songwriter's intent. Such was the case when I heard Taj Mahal's cover of "Take A Giant Step". Taj Mahal recorded the song in 1969 for his double album, " Giant Step / De Ole Folks At Home". What I didn't know at the time was that this was a cover of someone else's song.
I distinctly remember being in my car, and the lyric "Come with me, leave your yesterday, your yesterday behind, And take a giant step outside your mind". Without paying attention to the rest of the song, I thought the song had some life / mind expanding message... similar to Bob Marley's Redemption Song lyric "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds." I became so infatuated with my mistaken interpretation of the lyric, that I thought it would be a great song for a blog entry... (and yes, I'm doing it anyway, just not the way I originally intended).
When I researched the song, I was surprised several times. Not only did I learn that Taj Mahal did NOT write "Take A Giant Step", Carol King did. I also discovered it also wasn't about freeing one's self from entrapping beliefs, it was about getting over a relationship gone bad. Of course, Carol King, the high Queen of relationships both good and bad, wrote it. (Don't get me wrong, I love Carol King). Ready for one more ? The recording artists to first bring the song to prominence were none other than The Monkees.... (and don't get me wrong here either, I love The Monkees too... proceed to disown me now if you will, but yes, I love The Monkees.... some of the best damn pop songs from the 60's, played by some of the damn session men (aka The Wrecking Crew) from the 60's, sung by some of the best damn voices of the 60's, but I digress.
Read these lyrics, and if you know nothing else about the song, tell me you don't think it's not about someone searching for and finding a way to happier mindset.
"Remember the feeling as a child
When you woke up and morning smiled
It's time, it's time, it's time you felt like that again...
...Come with me leave your yesterday, your yesterday behind
And take a giant step outside your mind "
It's the following lyrics, which I never really paid that much attention to, that really express the song's true intend.
"Though you flayed at love and lost
And sorrow's turned your heart to frost
I will mend your heart again...
...There is just no percentage in remembering the past
It's time you learned to live again and love at last
Don't sit there, in your lonely room
Just looking back inside that gloom
Mama, that's not where you belong
Though you've played the love and lost
And sorrows have turned your heart to frost
I will mend your heart again"
Here's a link to the Carol King version, which she used to pitch the song for other recording artists, well before her claim to fame as a recording artist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUJunzOT6YE
Various sources list the group, Rising Sons as the original recording artists of the song, in March of 1966. It was shortly after that, that The Monkees released the song as the flip side to their fist hit single Last Train To Clarksville. Their version was a mix between Carol King's folk singer feel, and the Rising Sons rock/pop version, in August of the same year.
But as I said previously, it was Taj Mahal's version, recorded three years later that has become my favorite cover. It's a totally different reworking of the song, and bears a listen, if you're even a casual listen of Taj Mahal's music, which you should be. Here's a link to a very recent live version of Taj Mahal performing the song, at the Crawfish Festival in New Jersey ( June 2018). It's very close to the way recorded the song 49 years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-dinLChwA4
If you get a chance, check out the different versions of the song, and let me which one you like best. And please feel free to share this with all your music loving friends.
Until then, leave your yesterday's behind, and take a giant step outside your mind.
The Martytoon Newsletter
The Thoughts, Designs & Process of Marty Qatani aka MartyToons.
Hi and welcome to the first blog post / newsletter of the all new revamped MartyToons website. Where to start ? I suppose a quick intro is in order for those of you who may be unfamiliar with me and what I do. I'm a cartoonist / character designer/ humorous illustrator. That sounds like a lengthy title, but none of those by themselves seems appropriate enough by themselves to describe what I do.
If I call myself a cartoonist, people tend to think I create a comic strip.... not true. If I call myself just a character designer, it seems a little limiting to me. I like to think I do a little bit more... make people think... wake people up, help someone remember a happy thought.... maybe even put a smile on people's faces.... hopefully. Calling myself just a humorous illustrator, just doesn't seem to have any "punch", "pizzazz", "sparkle"... you get the picture. I do like the sound of "Creator of Visual Enhancements for Artistically Challenged and Cartooning Impaired." It has a pretty cool ring to me, but it's a little hard to fit on a business card and still look cool.
What can you expect here ? How's a little doodle sound ? A little peek into what goes on in my working process and maybe even in my thought process ? That's my plan... I hope you enjoy. So let me dig into my archive, maybe shed a little light on happened and then invite you to comment. Sounds good ? Good... then lets get to it.
This is an early sketch of one of my favorite designs I'm working on. It's inspired by one of my favorite music artists, Cat Stevens, who know goes by the name of Yusuf Islam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens . Check him out if you get the chance and are a fan of 70's "Soft" Rock, and especially if you're a fan of songs about being positive, hopefullness, and becoming a little wiser.
Music is playing more and more a part in my designs. I love many styles of music and I always have it playing in my studio while I'm creating. Alot of times I let the music direct what I'm going to sketch when I intentionally sit down to sketch, sometimes I'm not planning on sketching at all, but I hear a song and an image will just pop into my head, and I have to get it down on paper. I believe that's what happened here, but to be honest, I came up with this sketch several years ago, and I can't remember the exact circumstances that gave birth to this.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it. Got any questions ? Feel free to comment below.