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Song premiere: JD McPherson covers 'A Little Respect'

L to R: Jimmy Sutton, Jason Smay, JD McPherson, Doug Corcoran, Ray Jacildo.
L to R: Jimmy Sutton, Jason Smay, JD McPherson, Doug Corcoran, Ray Jacildo.courtesy Rounder Records

by Luke Taylor

January 26, 2017

If the sign of a good cover is how much an artist can make it their own … JD McPherson has a new cover that's a home run.

The Erasure song "A Little Respect" was originally released in 1988 and remains one of that band's signature songs; its infectious beat continues to fill dance floors. On Thursday, Jan. 26, JD McPherson premieres his cover of "A Little Respect" — and it's also sure to fill dance floors, but in a whole new way.

McPherson and his band reimagine "A Little Respect" as a soulful, swaying, slow-dance number, undergirded by the rhythm section of drummer Jason Smay and bassist Jimmy Sutton, with acoustic guitar laying down the chord progression, together with Ray Jacildo's piano. Carrying the song's message — a plea for love and compassion — are McPherson's heartfelt vocals, reminiscent of Sam Cooke.

To fill out the Motown-style mix, the synth keyboards heard on the original have been replaced by a horn section, led by Doug Corcoran on sax, including a smoky instrumental middle third. Later, Jacildo takes us out with some shimmering Hammond B3 ornamentation that glides gently into the fadeout.

Lending even more earnestness to the song is the fact "A Little Respect" is an important part of McPherson's personal history. "I met my wife of 13 years at a darkwave/gothic/retro nightclub in Tulsa, [Okla.], and since we lived in separate cities for a while, that's where we'd meet on the weekends," McPherson recalls. "We danced around to this Erasure track, 'A Little Respect,' one night. Later, she slapped me in the parking lot. We were sweethearts, but we broke up for some reason — it lasted about a week."

During the breakup, McPherson says he kept only one CD in his car, and it was the Erasure album, The Innocents, on which the track appears. "I drove around constantly, pining, listening to those bittersweet pop melodies," McPherson says."'A Little Respect' is still one of 'our songs.' It's a cure-all tonic for both heartache and joy."

McPherson's take on "A Little Respect" is part of two new playlists of being released by Amazon Music this Valentine's season - one to embrace the love in the air (Love Me) and one to ease the pain of heartbreak (Love Me Not). Both playlists feature original songs and covers from artists including Ingrid Michaelson, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Tacocat, Okkervil River, Kadhja Bonet and others. "A Little Respect" will be included in the Love Me Not collection.

The playlists, comprising more than 70 new recordings, will be available for streaming exclusively on Amazon Music — Amazon Music Unlimited or Prime Music — beginning February 3.


JD McPherson - official site

Amazon Music