‘Your mama and daddy say it’s a shame, it’s a downright disgrace, but as long as I got you by my side, I don’t care what your people say’ sings an unrepentant Millie Jackson in her 1974 version of the Stax soul classic ‘(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right’.
It’s a steamy song about two lovers in an adulterous affair. Jackson sings the part of the woman, longing for her man, even though he is married and a father to two children. And it’s the tune that Kylie Auldist says changed everything for her.
When people write about drugs or sex, I always go, ‘well what would your mum say?'Kylie Auldist — Don't Look Back
Auldist remembers probably being around the age of one of those aforementioned children when she first heard this song.
Her aunties were attempting to introduce her to the music of Rod Stewart, who sang the first version of this song that she heard.
From there she heard Renee Geyer’s rendition and then, through a friend, she came to the amazing Millie Jackson treatment.
There are several versions of this song by Ms Jackson, but the one that struck a chord was the sprawling 11-minute epic, which features an extended monologue where the singer lays her feelings bare about why she still wants her man, even though she knows it’s wrong.
It’s this beautifully measured, tough but seductive talk that makes Jackson’s character most compelling.
Auldist says it’s one of the song’s standout features.
“I love it when women talk in music,” she says.
And the talk is hard, worn and weary.
‘You see the terrible thing about being in love with a married man, is the fact that you can’t see him when you really want to, and that can get to you sometime. Late in the midnight hour, when you really feel like you need a little lovin’, the man ain’t nowhere around, and that can get to you sometime. He has to stay home and play the part of a good and faithful husband’.
This talk is not without its smarts and laugh out loud moments, which are delivered at the tail end of the monologue.
‘The sweetest thing about the whole situation is, the fact that when you go to the laundromat, you don’t have to wash nobody’s funky drawers but your own, and I like that. I wanna keep my situation just the way it is, and to make sure it stays like that, when my man come over two or three times a week to give me my piece, I set my clock, so he can get up and go home on time. I don’t want him to be late…’
Wah-wah guitar licks sigh for satisfaction, there’s dramatic strings, sensual horns and a steady, expectant bass line which all add to the amorous atmosphere, heavy with desire. But the centerpiece is Jackson’s full bodied vocal performance.
It makes you wonder if Kylie Auldist would ever be inspired to get down and dirty in her own songs?
“Never!” she replies without hesitation.
Although she admires the singular determination of this character and Millie Jackson’s delivery, there’s no doubt her country upbringing and the values and ground rules that her mother laid down have had a lasting impact.
“When people write things about drugs or sex – you know, things you’re not supposed to write – I always go, ‘well what would your mum say? How are you allowed to write an album like that? Everybody can hear it…’,” she says.
“I get so shocked when people are putting things out there about themselves, like “wow you’re so brave!’”
Hear more about the song that changed it all for Kylie Auldist on Don't Look Back.