Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me – Gladys Knight & The Pips
…the moon above is shining bright, c’mon boy the time is right, here I am, take me in your arms and love me….
The tinkling harpsichord, the sighing voice, the lazy seductive sound, the shimmering strings the soft pillow of backing vocals – why wouldn’t you put this on a mixtape for your new girlfriend? This was an early offering from me swooning as I was to Jenny just after I’d met her. I can’t remember what I called the tape – was it TDK? – but it contained only pure soul music. They were my favourite songs at the time, but there must have been a part of me that was going – “I know I’m a white guy from deepest Sussex, and you’re a black chick from Wembley but I like soul music yeah?!” It would have had a title because that’s what you did. It might have been called – wait for it – “Soul Music”. Hahaha. Anyway the reason why this tape has become legendary is because we lost it in Italy. At some point in 1990 I received a postcard with a photograph of Positano on it from David Steinberg, the Israeli director who’d helped me at the NYT in 1989 (see My Pop Life #7) and who was now on holiday on the Amalfi Coast.
It was breathtaking. I remember Jenny and I staring at this unlikely vista thinking WOW where is that?? We hadn’t been to Italy either of us. It has since become our destination of choice for holidays. But : Whatever happened to postcards? It used to be the age-old duty of anyone who travelled : you had to send a pile of postcards out to mum and dad, all and sundry. Those at home would receive them with joy, a little slice of sun and culture, a smidgeon of envy. It was basically a look at me moment, but people would get offended if you didn’t do it. If they later found out that you’d “gone abroad”. Doesn’t feel like that any more, but maybe it is if you’re young. Anyway as soon as I’d wrapped on the endless unglamourous winter that was Alien3 at Pinewood Studios (twinned with Gulf War 1) , we booked a holiday in Positano, flew to Naples and drove our hired car round the dramatic winding mountain roads to our hotel. It was a beautiful if expensive place and we explored the region – Ravello, Capri, Vesuvio – all totally stunning – in our little car, which had, of course, a cassette player. I remember the constant curves of the road, and perhaps the giddying drops to the sparkling blue sea beneath us, made Jenny feel a little nauseous from time to time. We brought a little selection of tapes, one of which was The Soul Tape. We left it in the car when we returned it. Sorry – I left it in the car when I took it back. I Left It In The Car.
We have spent the last 20 years trying to remember what was on that tape of love. Certainly Bobby Bland – Too Far Gone (mypoplife #27), definitely Jackie Wilson “Sweetest Feeling” and Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”. Carla Thomas : “I Like What You’re Doing To Me” and Eddie Floyd “I’ve Never Found A Girl”. And this beauty from Gladys Knight, from her early days at Motown when she was first to record ‘Grapevine’ and had a hit with this Norman Whitfield-produced classic slice of pop/soul in 1967. We wouldn’t see Gladys live until 2008 – it was worth the wait – and yes, she sang this one bless her.