musicology #482

SoulBoy #1

(The Miracles – I’ll Try Something New)

Waiting for the inspiration for a new theme it suddenly arrived yesterday out of nowhere… Soul. Why? well…above all musical genres Soul is in my flesh, blood and bones. Deeply ingrained from before I was born. allow me to outline my historicity

My mum and dad were both Original London Mod/ernists from 1962 and anyone who knows will agree that the authentic soundtrack to Mod/ernist is Soul…Rhythm & Blues too of course but whereas Rhythm&Blues had been around for many years Soul was ‘modern’ (albeit a fusion between Doo Wop and Gospel).

Between 1958 and 1960 the seeds of Soul were sown as the cultural boundaries began to be crossed in earnest and as is often the case it was music that blew the trumpet for change loud and clear. No more would the universal language be categorised strictly by ‘Race’ (my belief is that it’s the only language that speaks to all regardless of colour, nationality or creed). Artists such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Gene Chandler, Dee Clark, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, (along with a whole host of lesser known but just as illuminating singers, songwriters and musicologists), began to flex their musical muscles and craft the ‘new lick’ without the backing of Corporate thieves and vultures.

In December 1968 themusicologist was born with the soundtrack of Soul ringing in my heart and soul and from that day to this it has been ever present. Beginning with the ‘classics’ I have matured throughout the 70′s 80′s 90′s and into the 21st Century with the heartbeart of such priceless musicology as the soundtrack to my existence. There have been and are many other genres that have had a profound impact on the I but Soul still is (and always will be), my first musical love.

Kicking off with one of my favourite early Soul cuts courtesy of the pioneering  ‘Miracles’ who first recorded in 1958 for Chess, but it wasn’t until hooking up to Berry Gordy’s fledgling Motown Label that the musical sparks began to truly fly. Just like to add that without doubt The Miracles were a foundation stone on which the Berry Gordy empire was built…

musicology #322

DownbeatTheRuler #2

(Bob Andy – I’m Going Home)

Sir Coxson was a music lover and man on the street but also a businessman and a successful one at that which, in my experience is often not appreciated by those who have been left behind to hustle and scratch for survival on the tough streets of places like Kingston, London, New York etc. The truth is that many would rather see you stumble and fall than lift yourself out of the mean streets especially when, as far as they are concerned, (and maybe rightly so), you have made it off the sweat of their brow. This seems to have been the case with Coxsone as the years rolled on but it’s not easy to keep such an enterprise going, (as many record label owners would attest to), when everyone wants a slice of the pie. Coxsone not only put Studio 1 together but also kept it going right up until his death.

Possibly inspired by Cats like Sam Cooke whose SAR label was, (along with Berry Gordy’s Tamla Motown), a pioneer in the record business, Dodd couldn’t afford to ‘take any prisoners’ so paid the Artist, Arranger, Producer and Musician per side, (or as employee), rather than cut them in on the Action. After all it was he who was taking all the risk so why share the rewards? Any business person would agree with his appraisal of the situation but the Artist wouldn’t. To further highlight the point the singer of today’s cut is quoted to say;

“Clement Dodd is a good mentor and he really provided the facilities for a group of youngsters who would never have had anywhere to go in those days, but he could have done more for them. I would say Jamaican music suffers from a Coxsone syndrome.”

I can see why. It was they who created the ‘product’ for Dodd to capitalise on so why should they not be ‘cut in’? Dodd may say that “if you want a piece of the pie you also have to take some of the risk” which hardly any of the Artists were in a position to do. Cats like Prince Buster, (a businessman and Artist), saw the light and parted company with Dodd as soon as possible to make a name, (and hopefully some ‘corn’), for himself but of the many hundreds in Jamaican music history VERY few have much to show, financially, for their achievements.

What they do have though is a place in musical history that will last long after they have been laid to rest and an army of fans that continue to spread their name. Personally I would rather be the Artist than the businessman.

Anyway enough chat and on with the Downbeat show….

This 1966 !! cut, (his first solo piece), is courtesy of former Paragons founding member and songwriter supreme Keith Anderson, (Bob Andy), apparently backed up by The Wailers but to my ears it sounds more like The Heptones? anyway whoever is harmonising it’s Bob Andy’s wailing lead that cuts through and is one of my personal favourites…featured on one of the greatest Studio 1 LP’s Bob Andy’s Songbook.

Bob Andy….Live on…

musicology #239

inmodwetrust #6

(The Marvelettes – Someday, Someway)

Bit late with this final instalment of the mod selection. big night Friday night…the Cyprus cats were back in town to celebrate which, although having nothing to do with ‘mods’ certainly deserves a mention. As the regulars know themusicologist is, for me, a musical diary, a soundtrack connecting my feelings to the sweet sound of music, the benefits of which are many. had a great night made even better by making new connections which was a pleasure.

Music wise today’s cut is another from the Berry Gordy and Motown selection by a girl group whose name burned brightly on the emerging Mod/ernist scene especially in the lead up to Soul establishing itself as a mainstream musical force. B-side to their classic Beechwood 45789. Quality double sider that was definately played in and around London back in the day.

Tamla 45 from the pivotal year concerning mods and soul, (1962), whose paths were inextricably linked on the ‘road to freedom’ as oppressed people discriminated by the colour of their skin or, (as was/is the case on these fair shores), the way they spoke, began to break down, (and through), the walls of class and colour boundries to have more opportunities to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.

musicology #236

inmodwetrust #3

(The Miracles – Mickey’s Monkey)

another slice from the 1963 selection, the year that ‘Mod’ grew out of various shadows to establish it as more than a handful of ‘dressers’/stylists/modernists into a movement. Same year that the (New) Scene opened it’s doors in Ham Yard, (Soho), to become the premier London club and forum for all things ‘mod’ and hip in the capital.

The cut is delivered in fine style by legendary Detroit vocal group The Miracles with William ‘Smokey’ Robinson on lead supported by Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, childhood friend and, (along with Smokey), former 5 Chimes member Ronald White and female vocalist Claudette Rogers. The Miracles paved the way for Motown’s success in the early sixties with cuts like ‘Shop Around’, ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ and this one apoun which the Berry Gordy empire was built.

musicology #231

communication #9

(Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted)

A song that we, (should), all know delivered with pathos by one of the great Soul singers about a subject that is plainly close to my heart. Older brother of the Temptation’s member David, Jimmy hasn’t received the acclaim he deserves. This version, (the original), has the spoken intro which was removed for the final mix that made it onto the 45, (can’t understand why?)

Lyrics by James Dean, music composed by William Weatherspoon and Paul Riser, music played by the Funk Brothers, background vocals by The Originals, (Freddie Gorman, Walter Gaines, Hank Dixon, Joe Stubbs), and the Adantes, (Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, Louvain Demps), song produced by Weatherspoon and William Stevenson.

musicology #220

12AngryMen #15 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(The Marquees – Wyatt Earp)

end of the 12 angry road. the not guilty count is now 11-1. last man standing is Lee J Cobb whose personal vendetta against juveniles is obviously related to how he feels about his own son which, is not enough of a reason to send a teengaer to the ‘chair’ when all the evidence has been shot down in flames.

this last piece of the musicology pie is another from the OKeh label featuring a young drummer by the name of Marvin Pentz Gay whose recording career begun on this piece. signed to the label by Bo Diddley the record was a commercial failure so Bo introduced them to Rhythm& Blues legend Harvey Fuqua who incorporated them into his New Moonglows in 1957.

around 1958/9 Fuqua moved to Detroit, married Gwen Gordy, set up a couple of his own labels and when Berry Gordy convinced him to be an influential part of Motown introduced Marvin to the fold. and the rest, as they say, is history.

musicology #155

duets2 # 4

(Loe & Joe – Little Ole Boy, Little Ole Girl)

slipping out of the Jamaican selection into some Detroit action with a piece from one of post war urban music’s great innovators Harvey Fuqua…original lead singer of the Moonglows, (musicology #46), and Soul legend. influential in moulding the new sound that sprung out of the wells of Rhythm & Blues and Gospel, Harvey Fuqua helped, (along with Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Marv Johnson…), to ‘create’ the Detroit sound as head of artistic development at Motown after tiring of the effort required to run his own label, (which this one is on),

the duet is courtesy of almost unknown pairing, Lorrie Rudolph and Joe Murphy, who certainly do the song justice. more than that I can only add that it’s a 45 from 1961 and it’s on the ‘Harvey’ label.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 578 other followers

%d bloggers like this: