Daddy B. Nice's #108 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Love Under Arrest"
No one who followed gritty Southern Louisiana's local juke joint good-times purveyor Lil' Fallay from his modest beginnings in 2001 through the new century's first decade could have been faulted for relegating the artist to the modest expectations of a regional journeyman.
Hole-in-the-wall dance ditties like "Swing It" and "Can I Dance With You" and--later--even the fizzy "Zydefunk Slide" were rollicking good fun on the bayou dance floors but fairly unimpressive on record, indistinguishable from serviceable club music in many other regions of the country.
And yet, there were hints of a greater artist growing and building underneath the surface even then: in the musicality and accomplished balance of "Can I Dance With You's" arrangement, and in the exhilarating choruses and progressive, two-part structure of "Zydefunk Slide."
But nobody could have anticipated the quantum leap in artistry behind Lil' Fallay's triumphant single, "Love Under Arrest" in 2009, a song with the sophistication of the classic work of mainstream greats like Sam Cooke, Van Morrison, Al Green and Peter Gabriel.
Here was a song that over-achieved in every aspect: rhythm track, tempo, melody, arrangement and--last but not least--execution.
Listen to Lil' Fallay singing "Love Under Arrest" onYouTube while you read.
"Love Under Arrest" seemed to spring full-blown from some heavenly source of inspiration. With just a little stylistic difference, it might have originated in the British electronica and new wave of the eighties (Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax"), or the charismatic early disco of the early seventies (the Bee Gee's "Staying Alive"), or--going back even further--the psychedelic rock and roll of the late sixties (It's A Beautiful Day's "White Bird").
Here was a song that had no identifiable roots, no discernible forbears, nothing to label it as zydeco or Southern Soul or funk or Lousiana-style club jam. Here was a song that burst out of nowhere, the way Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" or the way Prince's "When The Dove Cries" exploded on the scene.
Lil' Fallay's young Louisiana counterpart Cupid may have garnered the six-figure record contract, but Lil' Fallay's "Love Under Arrest" was the finished song that really deserved the attention and affection of the country and the world.
Lil' Fallay begins the song with a voice-over intro with a percolating keyboard in the background and a one-of-a-kind, high-pitched accordion flourish.
"There she comes,
Pulling me over.
Same place, same time.
I can't help myself, y'all.
I keep coming back
For more and more and more."
The prelude is a perfect anticipatory mechanism, pregnant with promise, and the second it ends the drums and bass and horn section kick in. Another percussive line--an understated, monochromatic rhythm guitar--swings in with a half-way wild, barely-controlled line.
"Woooooo!" croons Lil' Fallay. The excitement is palpable.
"She's got that
Come-back kind of love--
The kind I find myself
Always thinking of.
She can lock me up
And throw away the keys.
If you had her goods,
You would be a fool like me."
Before two stanzas are negotiated, it's obvious the song is soul-gone-pop in the most dazzling sense, the sense of Jeff Floyd's "I Found Love (On A Lonely Highway)." And, just like Floyd's durable Southern Soul anthem, "Love Under Arrest" is all about falling in love with a wonderful woman.
"She's the kind
That takes full control
I'm giving her everything
My heart, body and soul.
My love, my love."
Fallay (pronounced "fall-ay") delivers a vocal that recalls Stevie Wonder at his best. His tenor has range to spare, and although the song doesn't require it, you can hear Fallay's ability to slide up into a falsetto (relegated to the exclamatory "Woooo's!") at any time.
More telling, Lil' Fallay's tone and timbre are as tight and focused as a knotted muscle, each note projected with a tough, hard lyricism that instantly connects with the listener.
And the lyrics just keep getting better and better:
"I don't know
How she does it,
But she's on top
Of every situation.
Creating a total
She can go
From zero to sixty
In no time flat.
Handcuffed to the bed
While I'm lying on my back
She graduated top
Of her class.
The moon, the skills.
It makes you wonder what kind of sex education "classes" they have in the backwoods of Louisiana. It makes you want to take the first flight down and enroll.
Then that chorus kicks in--a veritable anthem to memorize and play in the mind all the day long. The strange-sounding, accordion-alarm sound with the extended fade pops in from time to time, always at the perfect intervals. Half of the song's enticement comes from these generous bells and whistles, perfectly placed, perfectly made.
The song ushers in a momentum-building bridge before lavishing an even more lushly-orchestrated chorus.
"Break it on down.
You can call it that
Kind of love."
This is part of a toned-down verse, heavy on the percussion, then the end arrives--quite as a surprise--with the extended alarm-bell sound as a coda. Few songs integrate so many aspects of an arrangement with such casual aplomb. Without ever sounding overblown, "Love Under Arrest" grabs hold of the spirit and invites the listener to soar with romance and hope.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Lil Fallay
Christopher J. Andrus, aka Lil' Fallay, grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, half-way between Baton Rouge and Lake Charles in the southern part of the state. A firefighter by trade, Andrus adopted the performing name Lil' Fallay and recorded his first single, "Swing It," in 2000 and his first album, self-produced and published, Dreams Do Come True, in 2001.
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Larry Milton's "Back In Love Again," you'll love Lil' Fallay's "Love Under Arrest."
Honorary "B" Side
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