Friday, December 15, 2017

Spencer Davis Group – "I'm a Man" (1967)

If I had my choice of matter
I would rather be with cats

Even though dogs are smarter?

Sorry, cat lovers – but it’s the truth.  

According to an article by Professor Suzana Herculano-Houzel of Vanderbilt University and several other scientists that recently appeared in Frontiers of Neuroanatomy, the average dog has 530 million cortical neurons in its brain, while the average cat has only 250 million.  (Humans have 16 billion.)

You can click here to read that article.

Professor Herculano-Houzel, who admits she is “100 per cent a dog person,” explained why the number of neurons is important:

[T]he absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience. . . . [D]ogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can. 

Professor Herculano-Houzel with her dog
A golden retriever’s brain has more neurons than the brain of a lion or brown bear.  And everyone knows goldens aren’t exactly the sharpest knife in the canine drawer.  (Imagine how many more neurons the brain of a member of a smart dog breed might have.)

By the way, the brain of a raccoon has as many cortical neurons as the brain of a dog but is the size of a cat’s brain.  (I don’t care how smart raccoons are, they’re still assh*les.)

*     *     *     *     *

Of course, Steve Winwood wasn’t singing about four-legged cats in the “I’m a Man” lyrics I quoted above.  I took those lines out of context.

Here’s the entire verse:

If I had my choice of matter
I would rather be with cats
All engrossed in mental chatter
Moving where our minds are at
And relating to each other
Just how strong our wills can be
I'm resisting all involvement
With each groovy chick we see

Winwood and his pals – or “cats” – are typical males: they’re more interested in engaging in some highly intellectual “mental chatter” than in wasting their time with groovy chicks.

“I’m a Man” is a stick of dynamite.  The megatalented Mr. Winwood was only 18 years old when the Spencer Davis Group recorded the song, which he and producer Jimmy Miller co-wrote.  

Miller produced dozens of great rock albums, including several by Traffic – the band Winwood founded after leaving the Spencer Davis Group – and possibly the four greatest Rolling Stones LPs.  Miller was also an accomplished drummer who was the cowbell player on “Honky Tonk Women.”

“I’m a Man” made it to #10 on the Billboard “Hot 100” in 1967 about the same time that Winwood left the band.

Two years later, Chicago Transit Authority – who became simply Chicago – covered the song on their first album.  Its 7-minute, 40-second version of the song is fabulous, but the shorter and less complicated original version of the song is the winner and still champion.

Here’s “I’m a Man” by the Spencer Davis Group:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: 

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