Download: John Oates, “How Does It Feel To Be Back” (live, 2013)

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John Oates is offering a scintillating acoustic version of his Hall and Oates gem “How Does It Feel To Be Back,” originally released as the opening track on their career-turning effort Voices. Download it here for free.

Whereas the initial full-band version possessed this ultra-modern neo-jangle, this in-concert take begins with an emotionally raw, old-time cadence — making the familiar song almost unrecognizable at first. In this quiet and spacious atmosphere, every one of Oates’ words takes on a new resonance, and you hear them anew.

When he finally gets to the chorus, Oates catches a plucky groove, turning “How Does It Feel To Be Back” into something closer to a happy reminiscence, before descending back into another sad stroll through the second verse. Time has been good to Oates voice, imbuing it with darker, richer flavors — and making it perfectly suited for a more considered approach like this.

“How Does It Feel To Be Back,” of course, was the first single released off Voices, reaching No. 30 in the summer of 1980. (The album would then produce three more Top 20 hits — the No. 12 “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin,'” No. 5 “You Make My Dreams,” and chartopping “Kiss On My List.”) In some ways, though, it’s never sounded better.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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