Ladies with Soul … Lots to choose from; Aretha Franklin, Carla Thomas, Candi Staton, Randy Crawford, Millie Jackson, Mary Wells, Gwen McCrae, Vicki Anderson, Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Barbara Lewis, Etta James, Dee Dee Warwick, Fontella Bass, Minnie Ripperton, Marie Knight, Dee Dee Sharp, Mitty Collier…as well as contemporary kittens such as Angie Stone, Brandy, India Arie, Beyonce…and those are just the ones off the top of my head !
As difficult as it was to choose..today’s cut, (courtesy of Doris ‘Just One Look’ Troy), has ALL the right ingredients; Vocals, Lyrics and Production..
Bronx born Doris Higginsen begun her career singing Gospel in her fathers choir but it was as a songwriter that she scored her first hit ‘How About That’ recorded by Soul pioneer Dee Clark in 1960. Three years later she was spotted by James Brown working as an usherette at the Apollo and in that same year she wrote and recorded the Mod/ernist classic ‘Just One Look’. Not sure how or why but Doris didn’t go on to receive the critical acclaim that her talents deserved. Employed by the Beatles at Apple as Artist, Writer and producer Doris sung backup and worked with some of the UK’s most established musicologists, (The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and The Moody Blues), but failed to make a commercial impact as an artist in her own right. After a few years in the wilderness Doris’s story became a successful stage show ‘Mama I Want To Sing’ which is scheduled for a cinema release this month? I didn’t know that before researching for today’s cut but musicology works in mysterious ways so it makes complete sense to me.
Just got back to the ‘Big Smoke’ after a few days spent in natural paradise with two angels. The landscape up there, (North West England), never fails to inspire me and I always come back with a bit more of a ‘Tigger Bounce’ in my step. Knocking on the Christmas door now as we come down the home straight. Tree’s up, presents beneath it, kids excited. Just have a few more things to do and then it’s kick back time from tomorrow.
A question for you all out there..has the quality of song writing, (and singing come to that), gone downhill over the last few years or am I just not being exposed to the ‘right’ material? don’t know if you noticed but I listen to a LOT of music from as far back as the early 20’s all the way through to today and if the term ‘popular’ has any meaning/value as far as making judgement is concerned then the quality of pop today is, (generally), to my ears..poor. By NO means am I suggesting that quality music isn’t still being made as I don’t need to listen any further than Master Terry Callier, (for instance), to know that marrow trembling cuts are still being made but as I listen to the ‘charts’, (not out of choice but due to having two children over the age of ten), I can’t help but be disappointed. Where are the Dinahs, Arethas, Maxine Browns, Etta James’s? the Sam Cookes, Otis Reddings, Jackie Wilsons, Clyde McPhatters, Ben E Kings, Smokey Robinsons, Marvin Gayes, Curtis Mayfields, Bobby Womacks. The Gregory Issacs, Pat Kellys, Slim Smiths, Ken Boothes, John Holts, (the list could go on and on), who are the singers and songwriters kicking arse and trembling marrows in the 21st Century??
Today’s cut is courtesy of one of the afore mentioned legends, Jackie Wilson. A man who needs no introduction with his version of the hymn ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’