I fell in love with this song this evening. At this point it's hard to find many words to describe it; I'm just dazzled by how wonderful it is. It's a mournful and spooky-sounding soul song, opening with some percussion, and then some harmonized background vocals, drums, brass and piano. I guess the kicker for me are the shimmering strings in the arrangement, which come in with the main vocal. The vocals are fraught with emotion, and there is a very interesting use of vocal sounds as the song fades out.
Being a Five Stairsteps novice, I'd like to know if they recorded many other tracks like this. I gather that the record was produced by Curtis Mayfield, but I've never heard anything by him with quite such a delectable arrangement. Any advice would be appreciated!
available on CD - The First Family of Soul (Buddah)
30 Sep 03 ·Arthur: The Five Stairsteps have a history going back to the mid sixties -they recorded for Curtis Mayfields 'Windy C' label and later for George Harrison's 'Dark Horse' label
Group main man Kenni Burke is still active in the music business, having co penned the much copied and sampled "Rising To The Top" and has recently (last year) visited the UK where he performed a number of PA's and recorded at least one song. I have to confess I never heard "Danger! She's a Stranger" but will make it my mission to do so! 01 Oct 03 ·tinks: oh my god, this is one of my all-time favorite songs! i can't believe i never thought to put it up. i love the backing vocals..."danger! stranger!" 16 Oct 03 ·delicado: You have excellent taste! For the record, I was able to find one other Five Stairsteps track that has a similar moody feel to it. It's called 'Something's Missing', and is almost like a prototype version of 'Danger...' 31 Mar 04 ·bobbyspacetroup: Sampled by Outkast incidentally (check out "Two Dope Boyz In A Cadillac").
31 Mar 04 ·delicado: Yeah, I read about this and checked out the Outkast song. I have to say I wasn't that impressed. I think maybe the big beat over the piano and gentle shimmering strings killed it for me a bit! 26 Apr 07 ·artlongjr: Fascinating to read the comments here...I didn't know Outkast had sampled this. I remember first hearing this song when I got their first album way back in 1981, and it is my favorite tune on there. It's a classic of Chicago soul. The strings, horns and Clarence Burke Jr.'s lead vocals and the group harmonies add up to a delightfully foreboding, almost sinister mood on this number. This came out in 1966, I also have "Something's Missing", which came out on Buddah in 1967. I keep telling everybody I know that the Stairsteps are easily the equals of the Jackson Five! They also did a terrific funk-psychedelic number in 1969 on Curtom called "Madame Mary"...I can't figure out the lyrics but it may be about marijuana! 06 May 07 ·karen: If you like "Danger She's a Stranger", you will love "You've Waited Too Long". I remember the Five Stairsteps, and they were a lot more talented than the Jackson Five (and better looking). But unfortunately they were not on a major label like Motown, but they got a lot of respect and admiration in the Black community and plenty of airplay in DC, NY, Philly, etc. "Oooh Child" was a major hit...I wonder what they are doing now and how they look.
An incredible, hard-to-describe classic from Jorge Ben. It opens with a funky, feverishly strummed chord sequence, and builds up beautifully. Warm strings come in, while the vocals become more and more manic (in a good way). I really can't do this song justice in words, but I urge you to check it out. Jorge Ben really is a genius songwriter, and his backing group, 'trio mocoto' really rock.
from Forca Bruta available on CD - mojo club volume 4 (Polygram Germany)
17 Sep 03 ·sodapop650: My favorite Jorge Ben is his work on the LP "Tudo Azul" by Ze Maria. If you are not familiar with Ze Maria he is a very hip brazilian organist. The easy comparison whould be with Walter Wanderley, but he is way way cooler with a chimelike reverbed style and a lot darker sound, almost creepy voodoo northern Brazil Bahia sound like the way "Os Afrosambas" by Baden Powell Vinicius de Moraes and Quarteto Em Cy is. A guy I work with is from Brazil and says that although just about everyone is Catholic in Brazil many practice voodoo too and that Vinicius made a pact with the Devil in return for his career - There is something distant and weird about that LP - and the Ze Maria LP as well. Anyway, I think "Tudo Azul" which is available on CD is the first versions of Ben classics Mas Que Nada and Por Causa de Voce Menina. If you go on to ebay look for a guy named Alan Bastos, he sells tons of cool Brazilian CDs cheap. 01 Oct 03 ·tinks: was this recorded in '69? it's the first track on his '76 "samba nova" lp...is that a re-recording, or what? can somebody shed some light for me? at any rate, it's a great album for, uh, "lovin'". my favorite track would have to be "vendedor de bananas cosa nostra--bicho do mato", if not for its unwieldly title alone. 17 Oct 03 ·sodapop651: No this LP is on Continental Label and recorded in 1963. It is available on CD. Tudo Azul, I think it means "everything Blue" 18 Oct 03 ·tinks: the version i have is definitely not from 63, it's waaay too funky. 18 Oct 03 ·delicado: I'm confused about the whole thing. I have no idea where I originally got 1969 from (other than that the arrangement suggested it); the song is on 'Forca Bruta', which I thought was from 1975, but I think in retrospect that's just the date of the copy my (appalling quality) LP was bootlegged from. 21 Oct 03 ·delicado: Ok. It turns out there's a pretty good Jorge Ben discography at http://www.uol.com.br/benjor/disco.htm, which confirms the date of Forca Bruta as 1970. I think sodapop was talking about the (completely separate) Ze Maria album. I heard 'mas que nada' from this album, and it was indeed excellent. 02 May 04 ·Marco-Visitante: Official and completes discography of Jorge Ben Jor is here:
05 May 04 ·sodapop650: But I've changed my mind. My new favorite Ben classic is "Carnaval Triste" of the Sacundin LP. There is also a great Ze Maria cover of it off an even earlier LP I'm not sure who penned it or recorded it first. But its meditative and chantlike and very voodoo.
hm, i wonder why this hasn't been added yet. if this isn't classic, then what is?
there are about a zillion different interpretations of this song by about a million different artists. there are compilations only with this song but by different artists. and i got two of them.
maybe it's mainstream and it's played too often but i love it nonetheless.
my favourite version is on the album "the composer of desafinado plays". of course arranged by claus ogerman. he did also the arrangement for "the wave" which is i think the best album by antonio carlos jobim. an album packed full with classics.
he made the strings sound so cool and you really get the feeling of what for a lifestyle bossa nova seems to have been those days. (as i think and hope it has been...)
from the composer of desafinado plays
21 Oct 03 ·delicado: Totally digging those Ogerman strings. Ogerman is a genius arranger; I particularly like the work he did with Astrud Gilberto ('funny world' and 'non-stop to brazil' are two great ones) and Joao Gilberto. 24 Jun 04 ·brasilnut: I always hear Claude Debussy's 'Claire de lune' in the phrase 'ah, but he watches so sadly'
19 Jan 04 ·delicado: I still don't have this album (and it just sold for a whopping $79 on ebay!) but from the picture on the back cover, I'd say this is definitely the same group as Os 3 Morais. 20 Jan 04 ·tinks: 79 bucks! i paid a quarter! i listened to the clip on your morais recommendation, and it definitely sounds like the same people. mystery solved!
29 Jan 04 ·delicado: Dionne gets my vote! 28 Feb 04 ·FlyingDutchman1971: Dionne's rendition of this song is indeed excellent, however my vote would have to go to Dusty Springfield's recording. Dusty sings this song with more desperation in her voice. 24 Dec 04 ·BlueEyedYe-Ye: It's very difficult for me to choose between the two - the White Stripes version is pure horror though. Not in a good way...