Monday, April 21, 2008

A Cautionary Tale

When 'The Rain' rose to #9 on the Billboard charts in 1986 it represented the high watermark in the career of Oran "Juice" Jones. Born in 1959, Jones was a respected soul singer but 'The Rain' was his first attempt at a crossover into a harder edged sound.

The song carries a lot of the hallmarks of a smooth R&B number with slick vocal harmonies, but where it differs is the lengthy spoken word segment in the second half. It wasn't rap perse because it lacked the rhythmic delivery, but it was nonetheless very effective in conveying the emotion of the storyline. 'The Rain' was a cautionary tale about the consequences of infidelity. In truth it was Jones' delivery of the spoken word segment that appealed most to me in the song.

The lyrics were edgy yet had a slightly comical undertone. Lines like "silly rabbit tricks are made for kids", and "whip out the jammy and flatblast you both" were highlights, but my personal favourite was "you without me like cornflakes without the milk". I've spent the next 22 years looking for an opportunity to use that line in general conversation, but alas the chance is yet to arise. Needless to say I'd surely fail to deliver it with the same level of cool as the "Juice".

Jones seemed to be washed between the cracks of music genres, unable to repeat his success in either R&B or rap. Sad, because 'The Rain' was a class performance.
The video clip is standard fare, consistent with the narrative of the songs lyrics:

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