Thanks to Ana-B for cooperation on this post!
Why is it that so many of Tina Turner's songs seem to possess such a strong auto- biographical undercurrent? Is it that I am looking for it in her songs when in case of others I wouldn't? But then, why do I seem to hit on something every time I'm looking for it?
|From Jack Robinson's photosession, 1969 (look it up here)|
On the personal level though, things had gone from bad to worse. Tina had her stomach pumped clear of 50 valiums after she had discovered that Ike had fathered a child with her friend Ann Thomas and after Ike had started to treat her ever more violently. »Yes it finally got to the point where I was ready to die. ... I felt like I could not take any more. ... And that's when I started to hate Ike Turner. ... [W]ith the women, and the beatings, I had started losing that love for Ike. And now, after the pills and the hospital, I was starting to hate him« said Tina in her autobiography (I, Tina, p. 144 + 148).
|From Jack Robinson's photosession, 1969|
The first tune, »I'm Gonna Do All I Can (To Do Right By My Man)«, was penned by country musician and producer Wayne Carson. It's one of those husband & wife songs, crammed with that kitschy marital and ultimately depressing devoteness lyrics so typical of the C&W scene ... he's the only real thing that ever happened to me ... He can make me be good, he can make me change my ways, do the things a good woman should and I'm gonna make him happy each and every day. I'm gonna do all I can to do right by my man, to be the kind of woman he wants me to be ... Ike couldn't have cared less. The song made it to #98 pop in May '69.
Let's turn to the B-side, Johnny Northern's & Jimmy Bailey's »You've Got Too Many Ties That Bind«. As to Tina's performance, this B-side is much stronger than the A-side. And what a contrast! Listen to Tina singing ... Every time in my life when things begin to glow, there comes a change and back downhill I go ... Every time when happiness comes my way, along comes misery and destroyed my whole day ... I once was blind but now I can see, I can see, oh yes I can see - that there's too many ties that binds (!) ... I cross my heart, hope to die, each time I think about my life, I wanna cry. That's why I'm singin' there's too many ties that bind. Too many, too many ties ... Phew! Ike couldn't have cared less. But how must Tina have been feeling when singing these lines? And how to reconcile the two songs?
|From J. Robinson's photosession, 1969|
So what are we making of the Minit single? Musically, we have Tina singing two heartrending ballads here. Conceptually, we have a plea of marital thankfulness and an outcry of utter desperation, an explosive mix. Are they expressing just the same, after all? If looking at Tina's troubled life in and around 1969 and how she dealt with it this doesn't seem farfetched. But the B-side was recorded years before, and maybe also the A-side was not really a recent recording. So why put out both songs in 1969 (apart from the convenient fact of recycling, in part, older material)? I have no obvious answer to this. In fact, I am musing about this without truly knowing whether Tina's private life had any part in why these tunes were released in 1969. On the other hand, can you listen to these songs and be convinced, in earnest, that her private life had nothing to do with it? They just so closely reflect, in all their contrasting message, Tina's state of mind in 1969. And what she told in her auto- biography about the events in late 1968 and early '69 just so closely mirrors the lyrics of the B-side ... but she kept on holding up the facade and was stuck with Ike (that's where the A-side comes in) ...
For the record: »I'm Gonna Do All I Can (To Do Right By My Man)« never appeared on an album at the time (the Turner's only Minit LP being Live In Person). The song was first released in the '80s on LP and was afterwards included in CD packages of the Minit r&b output (one recently re-issued). »You've Got Too Many Ties That Bind« appears on a 1991 Japanese CD (TOCP-6597) which has all the Minit sides and is actually entitled You've Got Too Many Ties That Bind.
Ike & Tina Turner: »I'm Gonna Do All I Can (To Do Right By My Man)« / »You've Got Too Many Ties That Bind«
on Minit # 32060 (1969):