Song of the Week – I Wish it Would Rain, The Temptations


This weekend marks the 10 year anniversary for the SotW. Wow, over 500 postings (almost 700 songs) without ever missing a week. Thank you all for your feedback and encouragement.

It also marks the 50th anniversary of an important milestone in my life as a music lover. You see, 50 years ago this week my parents threw a party for my 12th birthday at the roller skating rink they owned and operated. I invited my entire 6th grade class which was about 40 kids. (Yes, we had large class sizes at the parochial school I attended.)

Many of my classmates gifted me records, supporting my growing interest in music. The records I received were on the Top 40 of New York’s 77 – WABC, the most popular station of the day. The link below is to the survey of what was hot that week:

77 WABC Music Survey, Ferruary 13, 2018

I had almost all of the Top 20 records and I’ll select one for today’s SotW. Coming in at #8 that week was “I Wish it Would Rain” by the Temptations.

“… Rain” features another outstanding, plaintive vocal by the great but flawed David Ruffin. The music, fitting for the sentiment of the song, is supplied by Motown’s house band, The Funk Brothers.

The lyrics were written by Roger Penzabene after discovering that his wife was cheating on him.

Sunshine, blue skies, please go away
A girl has found another and gone away
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom
So day after day I stay locked up in my room
I know to you, it might sound strange
But I wish it would rain, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

‘Cause so badly I wanna go outside (such a lovely day)
But everyone knows that a man ain’t supposed to cry
Listen, I gotta cry ’cause crying eases the pain, oh yeah
People this hurt I feel inside
Words could never explain,
I just wish it would rain, oh let it rain, rain, rain, rain, ooo baby

Day in day out my tear-stained face
Pressed against the window pane
My eyes search the skies desperately for rain
‘Cause rain drops will hide my tear drops
And no one will ever know that I’m crying
Crying when I go outside
To the world outside my tears
I refuse to explain, ooo I wish it would rain, ooh, baby

Let it rain, let it rain
I need rain to disguise the tears in my eyes
Oh, let it rain
Oh yeah, yeah, listen
I’m a man and I got my pride
‘Til it rains I’m gonna stay inside, let it rain

Can you feel his pain!?! It turns out Penzabene was hurting so bad that he took his own life in desperation on New Year’s Eve 1967, a week after the single was released. Damn!

The song has been covered by many singers, most of them soul artists. To my ear, the most interesting cover was by the Faces with Rod Stewart taking the lead vocal. It’s worth checking out if you’ve never heard it.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Ditty Wah Ditty, Ry Cooder (w/ Earl “Fatha” Hines) & Weather Bird, Louis Armstrong w/ Earl “Fatha” Hines


The first time I was introduced to jazz great Earl “Fatha” Hines was when my cousin Tom V. (an excellent guitarist and contribution to SotW) played Ry Cooder’s recording of “Ditty Wah Ditty” from the album Paradise and Lunch (1974) for me. This is a version of the Blind Blake composition, not the song by Willie Dixon and Bo Diddley that shares the same title (although many spelling variations exist). Hines duets with Cooder on this track.

Hines was over 70 years old when “Ditty Wah Ditty” was released. Still, his playing was impeccable. His improvisational runs and glissandos are a thing of beauty.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also give you something to listen to from Hines’ early, influential recordings with Louis Armstrong from the late 1920s. My selection is “Weather Bird.”

The liner notes to The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz call “Weather Bird” a “mounting, unencumbered duet… the fullest statement on record of the encounter of the trumpeter (Armstrong) and pianist Earl Hines.”

Hines’ duets with Armstrong are cited as some of the most important jazz recordings ever pressed. Hines is credited with inventing the piano style known as the trumpet-style. Its main characteristic is a right hand that plays chords that were typical of horn sections of the day. Hines was a major influence on Art Tatum, another pianist that many jazz aficionados consider one of the greatest ever.

Enjoy… until next week.