Wednesday, April 27, 2011

“Children’s Song” by Roberta Flack

This song has always been one of my very favorites. “Children’s Song” is a little-known tune from Roberta Flack’s little-known soundtrack to the little-known Richard Pryor/Cicely Tyson film Bustin’ Loose (1981).

This touching film, suggested by a story from Richard Pryor himself, finds ex-con and parole violator Joe Braxton (Pryor) hired by a school teacher, Vivian Perry (Tyson), to drive a group of special-needs kids from the Philadelphia shelter they’re housed in and due to be shut down to Ms. Perry’s Washington farm. Of course, Braxton hates the job and Ms. Perry’s lover tries his best to get Braxton back to prison – and get the kids back to Philadelphia. But Joe and Vivian learn to work together to provide the kids with some sort of hope and a future filled with people who care about them.

It doesn’t sound feasible at all. But the pairing of Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson is inspired. The two have a remarkable chemistry as polar opposites.

And Roberta Flack provides a particularly dynamic set of songs (composer Mark Davis is credited with providing the film’s score), which found an album release on MCA Records in 1981, the year before Flack scored her huge – and great – movie hit “Making Love” (which was actually written by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Bruce Roberts).

“Children’s Song” is a beautiful piece of the funky Gospel-like ephemera that Roberta Flack is so adept at. The tune is as catchy and simple as are the lyrics:

Open your eyes to your feelings
Show me that you care
Just like the stars in the heavens
God is everywhere

Open your eyes to your feelings
Your heart will let you see
And let me say that I love you
God bless you and me

Participating musicians are unknown, but it’s a good guess that co-writer Barry Miles helms the predominant synthesizer and the great Dom Um Romão mans much of the exciting percussion fills that make this song so fun. Also Tisha Campbell, Judson Dean, Michelle Lewis and Jamie Murphy are on vocals.

Otherwise, the LP credits the following: Roberta Flack (keyboards), Barry Miles (keyboards, synthesizer, marimba, strings), Clark Spangler, Ed Walsh (synthesizer), Marcus Miller (synthesizer, electric bass), Allen Wenta (lyricon), Jeff Mironov, George Wadenius (guitar), Gary King, Dwight Watkins (electric bass), Buddy Williams (drums, percussion), Dom Um Romão, Carol Steele (percussion) and Jay Hoggard (marimba).

There’s plenty of good music on this soundtrack including the poppy “Just When I Needed You,” Luther Vandross’ “You Stopped Loving Me,” Robert Flack’s instrumentals “Qual e Malindrinho” and the funky Prince-like “Rollin’ On” and Marcus Miller’s should-have-been-a-hit “Lovin’ You (Is Such an Easy Thing to Do.)”

But my favorite is and always will be “Children’s Song” (anybody else hear where Prince might have copped "Sign 'o the Times"?).

2 comments:

Nikki Natural said...

Thanks for posting this, I loved this song since I heard it as a child. now I own a film company and I cant wait to try and put this song in a film. This is the only place I could find it.

jibril
www.originnile.com

sheldon c said...

That song is so sweet the words the music what a peace of art