Final cut of today’s 3 course ‘meal’ is one of my all time ‘Boogie’ favourites from a musicologist whose name should be known far and wide but sadly isn’t. Singer, song writer, producer, arranger who songs have been recorded by MANY a legend, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, Minnie Ripperton, Donny Hathaway, Marlena Shaw, Quincy Jones and the list goes on..this one is from 1982. BIG tune…vocal duties shared and co written by Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer fame..
Final week of the Soul theme and who better as far as themusicologist is concerned to bring us down the final furlong than one of my most cherished artists Bobby Womack. As I have mentioned before, along with Curtis Mayfield it was Bobby Womack who had the most influence on a young child running wild on the streets of South London in the 1970’s. Cuts like I Can Understand It, If You Want My Love, O.V Wright’s That’s The Way I Feel About Cha, Stop On By, A Woman’s Got To Have It, Communication, (to name a few)…are all integral parts of the soundtrack to my existence. In fact often when I hear, (early 70’s), Bobby, Curtis, Bill Withers, Stevie and Marvin I can view the world through the eyes of a child once more. Music does that for me like nothing else can. I don’t think of what I was doing or wearing to identify the stepping stones in my life it’s ALWAYS what I was listening to and no doubt always will be. So without further delay, (and before I get all misty eyed), hold this late 60’s slice of the Bobby Womack pie recorded for and released on the, (New Orleans powerhouse), Minit Label. Produced by Chips Moman
Staying on board the Soul Train for this week as there are far too many cuts and artists who have yet to be featured..Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, James Carr, Sam Cooke, Teddy Pendergrass, Al Green, Aaron Neville, Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke and on and on and on in fact a year still wouldn’t be long enough to dig deep into the Soul Cellar so another week is the LEAST I can do.
Too many pieces to choose from…must have lined up at least 5 cuts…just as I’m about to prepare one a next piece floats out of the speakers to distract my butterfly mind. So without further delay hold this piece from one of the great duets Sam Moore and Dave Prater. So electric were they on stage that Otis Redding refused to go on after them. 1965 release on the Stax Label.
Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Lee Fields was so hot last night but the Menahan Street Band were on fire. Deeeeeeeeeeep Soul and funk that has to be heard and seen live to be fully appreciated. WHAT a show. EVERY song a winner. They almost tore the roof off at the Bloomsbury last night which considering its underground was quite a feat ! If you like Soul and Funk and they are playing in your town then do yourselves a favour and make sure you attend.
Bit of a dilemma as to what to lay down today? TOO MUCH choice on the Soul front and as I go to lay one down another comes up and ‘speaks’. Been listening to Legends like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Leroy Hutson as well lesser known but just as majestic Cats like James Carr, O.V Wright, and a whole host of 45’s from the 60’s and 70’s so rather than face the dilemma I’m just going to lay down this 60’s Soul marrow trembler and be done…..Recorded for and released on Don Robey’s BackBeat Label in 1965, (from the album If It’s Only For Tonight)
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…
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’
“Four vital functions as basic as the four elements: Sexuality, sociality, ideation and glory. Or: pleasure, speech, thought and prestige.
Being deprived of any of the four leads to stupor and death.”
Final piece of the Fragments selection..could have gone on for a while longer but new inspiration is knocking on themusicologist’s door so tomorrow I’m rolling out a new theme…just like to finish the ‘Fragments’ by paying a final tribute to Baudrillard for delivering such profound insights into the age of banality that we find ourselves inhabiting..for me the Cat penetrates some dark corners with illuminating observations.
What better way to wind up this session than with a combination of Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott Heron..I’ll say no more and just leave it up to the two of them to lay it on you.