Ike and Tina Turner were a force to be reckoned with for sixteen years. From their introduction to the world as The Ike & Tina Turner Revue to the last straw divorce in 1978, they did nothing but produce hits and tour the world with a live show known to rival James Brown and the Famous Flames.
It isn’t a secret that the couple had problems. Domestic abuse and drug frenzies. A strange wedding in Tijuana. Even prior to them being married for fourteen years, Ike apparently hit Tina in the eye with his shoe stretcher. Cocaine is one hell of a drug.
Despite the behind-the-scenes madness that surrounded them, Ike and Tina managed to make some of the most important, impressive, impossibly perfect R&B and blues for nearly two decades. Enough talent and soul to set a concert hall on fire.
My particular favorite album of theirs, 1968′s Outta Season, didn’t gain them any Grammy nominations or awards (shout-out “Proud Mary”). At the end of the day, it was never their most noteworthy or successful album. But Outta Season is thirteen tracks of nothing but molasses blues. Catchy rhythms, constant guitar solos, and some of the best singing a human can produce.
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” is a truly great track. Having Tina sing such a tragic piece while her abusive husband plays the guitar right next to her is raw emotion at its finest (see also: super depressing). Halfway through Outta Season, Ike shreds on “Grumbling”: a two-and-a-half minute guitar solo. A fine intermission for Tina to grab a glass of water (see also: whiskey) and return to soulful wails. The backburner tracks like “Honest I Do” and “Please Love Me” keep the album in motion. Never does it weaken or collapse, but rather, pushes through the hardships and struggles in order to create something beautiful.
Although this album, for me, is musically perfect, the album cover might be more famous than the tunes. Ike and Tina with painted white face, eating giant watermelon slices. This album cover would have turned some heads in 2013; I can’t imagine the outrage of some narrow-minded fools in the sixties.
I might say this too often, considering I rarely play cards, but Outta Season is the perfect LP for gambling. Grab some friends and some beer and put on Outta Season. The whole room will get to toe-tappin’ and, before you know it, someone will mention Poker or Rummy 500. Hours later, you will be drunk as hell, out $250 worth of grocery money. When your lady finds out, then and only then can you properly understand the harrowing blues on 1968′s Outta Season.