Jesse Jarnow

“i wish it would rain” – the cougars

“I Wish It Would Rain” – The Cougars (download) (buy)
from Jamaica to Toronto, 1966-1974 compilation
released by Light in the Attic

(file expires June 20th)

Apparently, this is a Temptations cover, though I only know the Cougars’ version from the Jamaica to Toronto, 1966-1974 soul/reggae compilation. The vibe amazes me every time, which simultaneously nails the heartache of the lyrics (“raindrops will hide my teardrops, and no one will ever know”) and the feeling of swampy, unbearable humidity. Part of that is in the particular crackle of the recording, but a good deal of it is the arrangement: the alternating notes between the guitar and the heartbeat kickdrum, the atmospheric organ. Of course, it has a hook, which reminds me of Hendrix’s “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” (a song I haven’t heard in probably 13 years, when I learned a mongrelized version for a summer camp band, so maybe I’m totally misguided). But it is the conflation of weather and emotion that does it. Not that it’s gotten too humid yet this summer, but I’ve been feeling “I Wish It Would Rain” lately, wanting to watch sheets of flamboyant storms come crashing across the basketball court outside.