I can comfortably say that Lee Moses is one of, if not the best lyricists and musicians of blues and soul. His career was something of an oddity, and he sort of skated by during his active years (60s-90s) rather unnoticed. In fact, even to this day, I rarely hear his music played whether on radio or by friends. Of course, he had to compete against some of the biggest names in R&B at the time: Barry White, Earth Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye… But Lee Moses’ music is hauntingly beautiful, irrevocably sad, and definitely worth a listen.
His album Time and Place is one of the most well written albums about love that is proudly self-inflicted. The song, "Bad Girl" is one of the most important instances of Atlanta soul, inarguably, and music historians have regarded it as essential to the genre as James Brown’s Live at the Apollo.
It starts with Lee Moses beckoning about how he’s going to tell us a story about a “bad girl/something that happened to me a long time ago”, a story about this titular bad girl, a girl who betrays him, beguiles, tempts and teases him, and just all around fucks with his head. He’s talking about his Mom, his Dad, and his friends pleading with him to leave her,
and then, as the narration goes… “But I’m in love with the little girl/and I do believe she loves me/What my heart feels/My lips must confess/and I will never leave her alone/So I don’t care if they call her bad”.
The rest of the album is in the same vain and tone. “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right”, another beautiful and equally sad one, is all about the pleasure that arises from toxicity, a catch-22 that marks some of our most passionately virulent relationships.
Then the song that I plan on playing at my wedding someday, “If Loving you is a Crime” is another slow ballad of a love song. As the lyrics go, “If you don’t want me to steal your heart/Lock me up and keep us both apart”.
It’s about those all-or-nothing relationships, the ones your friends tell you are toxic, the ones where you’re both either passionately in love or furiously at each other’s throats. It’s one of those relationships that you can’t even look back on physically because, after the break up, you probably angrily torched every last piece of evidence you could find; It’s okay, though, because this is the album for those relationships: the ones where the pain is proudly self inflicted.