One of the songs that I play often is Quincy Jones’ jazz number “The Secret Garden” performed by Al B. Sure, James Ingram, El DeBarge, and Barry White.
The version I listen to depends on how I’m feeling. If I want something smooth and/or I feel like singing along, I typically go with the album version. My absolute favorite part of the song is the coda at the end, “If you think I’m gonna take care of you, if you think I got what you need…” But in this version, I’m also partial to Ingram’s verse.
But if I want to hear the song with a little more energy, I listen to the live version from the Soul Train Music Awards. (Side note: I miss Luther. He does the intro for the performance.)
In this version, I like El DeBarge’s part the most, mainly because Ingram’s part was edited down and El DeBarge is a REALLY good live performer. Two funny things happen in this performance too. One, I am all but certain Barry forgets the lyrics (it’s more pronounced at the end) and is forced to wing it. Two, you can hear Barry and El DeBarge verbally sparring during the ending ad libs. Listen for it.