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You and Me
January 17, 2011 2:37 PM   Subscribe

The new film Blue Valentine (trailer) features a damn fine 60's-era soul ballad called "You and Me," of mysterious origin. The exposure has sparked an effort to find out who sang it and where it came from. The archival label Numero Group (previously) discovered the rehearsal tape, labeled only 'Penny and the Quarters', at an estate sale in Columbus, OH. Since then, "we have played this recording to over 100 movers and shakers from the time and no one has a clue."
posted by naju (28 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
It bears a striking melodic resemblance to the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine" to my ear.
posted by el_lupino at 2:41 PM on January 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mystery aside, it really is one of the most moving songs I've heard in some time.
posted by naju at 2:47 PM on January 17, 2011


God bless Numero Group. If I had enough money I'd buy literally everything they put out.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:48 PM on January 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Numero Group should just pay the $5 and start an AskMe thread. Hive-mind it!
posted by pedmands at 2:56 PM on January 17, 2011


So if they've used this song in a film but have no idea who recorded it, how did they make sure they secured the rights to use it legally?

Is that not a bit naughty, or am I missing something?
posted by Brockles at 3:00 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this is legally above board. Numero Group bought it at the estate sale, and they own the rights in perpetuity until someone with a legitimate claim comes forward.
posted by naju at 3:01 PM on January 17, 2011


Love it.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:04 PM on January 17, 2011


I'm no lawyer but works without authors are typically known as "orphaned works". Generally, as long as the commercial user made reasonable efforts to find the owner they will only be liable for a reasonable royalty.
posted by cyphill at 3:10 PM on January 17, 2011


IANACL,

It might be a bit naughty, but that might be somewhat ameliorated as long as they are sticking royalty payments into an account to pay against legitimate claims of ownership.
posted by edgeways at 3:12 PM on January 17, 2011


btw, my comment above was not meant to suggest it wasn't a really fine track.
posted by el_lupino at 3:20 PM on January 17, 2011


I'm no lawyer but works without authors are typically known as "orphaned works". Generally, as long as the commercial user made reasonable efforts to find the owner they will only be liable for a reasonable royalty.

'Orphan' is not a legal status. What you may be thinking of are the reasonable royalties through things like ASCAP and BMI and the like, but that wouldn't apply to a work like this. Presumably if it were in a performing rights society's catalog they'd've found the owner.

Generally, the owner of an unregistered work (and again presumably this is unregistered or else they'd've been able to track the owner down by now) can claim only actual damages plus the infringer's profits. 17 USC 504. Statutory damages require registration. 17 USC 412. Now, given that the song has been featured in a movie, there may be some significant damages in the form of the infringer's profits, but they would still pale in comparison to statutory damages. The 'actual damages' might be computed as lost royalties (it could also be calculated as lost sales or via the market value test), but since there was no legitimate market for the song the actual damages, however computed, are likely zero.

Also, the owner's got three years to step forward or else the statute of limitations will run. 17 USC 507(b).
posted by jedicus at 3:25 PM on January 17, 2011


Am I the only one who was surprised to hear a rather silly ukelele song described as damn-fine '60s-era soul (before discovering my mistake)?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:41 PM on January 17, 2011


Numero Group bought it at the estate sale,

They bought a tape cassette at an estate sale, not a copyright -- they have no more rights to the work recorded there than I do to reproduce songs off my estate-sale copy of Thriller.
posted by AzraelBrown at 3:54 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of another 60s soul mystery gem, "East of Underground" ...

Smiling Faces
I Love You For All Seasons
(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below
In 1971, America was in the throes of cultural revolution at home and military conflict abroad. While stationed in Germany, soldiers hailing from all corners of America battled it out in an Army stage-band competition. Runner-up East of Underground best captured the spirit of a turbulent America with their sweet-soul covers of the Impressions, Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic, and the Undisputed Truth.
Found through Wax Poetics, which had a wonderful radio show that is no longer continued.
posted by geoff. at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I had enough money I'd buy literally everything they put out.

I own everything they've released. They're certainly one of the best reissue labels going. We push them hard at my Toronto record store and are happy to turn people onto their stuff whenever we can. Everything about the label is top notch: the material, the cover art, the packaging, and the people who run the label.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:22 PM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are some really brilliant soul rehearsal tapes out there. My personal favorite is "I'll Never Cry for Another Boy" (by The Majestic Arrows, there's a released version but I don't find it as alluring), which is also out via Numero on the Eccentric Soul series.

"I'll Never Cry For Another Boy" is one of those songs I heard playing in a bar, had to rudely excuse my way out of a conversation, fight through a crowd of people to the very distracted bartender, whose co-worker's ipod was playing, and I had to let her let me look at the ipod and write down all the information, because I had to hear it again.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 4:32 PM on January 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Everything about the label is top notch: the material, the cover art, the packaging, and the people who run the label.

I haven't bought any CDs aside from Numero releases in several years; it's the liner notes, photographs, etc. that make it worth your while to own a physical copy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:38 PM on January 17, 2011


Maybe I've just watched Wag The Dog a few too many times, but my hunch is that this actually is an elaborate hoax to create a buzz around a song that really was just written a year ago last Tuesday or somehting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 PM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nah, it's just a song from a time when singers sang, lovers loved, and young hearts were full of joy. It sounds fresh and moving because in between then and now, we have built up near-geological strata of aural crud compounded of cynicism, transgression, and greed atop our music, and crushed the fragile sentiments that once made us want to sing.
posted by Faze at 5:14 PM on January 17, 2011


I saw that movie today and cried for 1.5 hours in it, and .25 hours after it. And yes, I like the song too- but the movie itself was heart-wrenching! So I may not be able to listen to it again so soon.
posted by bquarters at 6:23 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


the trailer was made by Zealot
posted by metafus at 8:35 PM on January 17, 2011


bquarters: I saw that movie today and cried [...]

You aren't one of the Quarters, are you?
posted by pracowity at 12:22 AM on January 18, 2011


I don't know the Quarters- I picked it from Bailey Quarters, WKRP. But in my defense, it was a sad movie. Now off to look up the other Quarters reference....
posted by bquarters at 1:27 AM on January 18, 2011


Oh, I didn't have to look too far..no more internet at 4:30am. I will show myself out.
posted by bquarters at 1:31 AM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are two types of love songs: the shallow ditty typical of early Beatles and all Backstreet Boys/N'Sync tracks where the lyrics rhyme and the singing is earnest, but in the end do little more than sound pretty (if that); and the kind that actually resonate as encompassing what it means to feel a bond with another person deeper than what you feel with anyone else.

For my money, the only two songs I've heard that fall into the second category are I Will Follow You Into the Dark, by Death Cab for Cutie, and this.

Good find.
posted by dry white toast at 10:05 AM on January 18, 2011


Here's some must-read additional info from Numero Group, along with a note to us about the legal aspects:

Others have speculated that some kind of infringement of rights has taken place, but rest assured that we have worked in concert with the Prix label owner since the onset of this project, and he is just as interested in solving the Penny & the Quarters mystery and remunerating the artists as we are.
posted by naju at 1:16 PM on January 18, 2011


This is great, and this thread has led me to discover the Numero Group. That's going to wind up costing me a lot of money, I guess. Apparently they're all awesome, so where should I start?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:31 PM on January 18, 2011


Part of the group has been identified.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 10:28 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


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