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.
Love the way the SoulBoy is shaping up….Soul and Reggae are the two musical languages that I am fiercely passionate about..I like many genres and almost all styles but nothing connects with the I like these two. Maybe it’s because I was brought up with them? especially Soul, the sweet sounds of Jamaica didn’t make an appearance until I was 3 or 4 years old but Soul is in my flesh, blood and bones…prenatal style !!
Seems like the Soul Kitchen’s hotting up with every cut so i’ll keep up the pressure with this piece from the superb Irma Thomas..well known to Soul Cats and Kittens for many a fine slice, (this being one of them), ‘The Queen of New Orleans Soul’ started out singing in a Baptist Church choir as a teenager but it wasn’t until 1960 that she ‘waxed her first side’. Like all the great New Orleans Soul singers of the sixties it was on the pioneering label Minit that she really begun to cut loose under the wing and watchful eye of the legendary Allen Toussaint, producer, arranger, songwriter and piano maestro whose contribution to the emerging sound now known as Soul deserves, (and gets), honourable recognition. Today’s cut was reinterpreted by the ‘Big O’ for his first solo outing ‘Pain In My Heart’ and as good as that is, for me, this one reaches out even further. 1963 recording on the Minit label. Already featured twice on themusicologist, (#150/ #359 Irma Thomas oozes Soul.
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’
(Little Miss Cornshucks – Try A Little Tenderness)
Shooting The Monkey (freedom from the distracting ego)
‘Has your majesty never observed the bounding monkeys?’ answered Chang to the King of Wei. ‘If they can reach the tall cedars or camphor trees, they will swing and sway from their limbs, frolicking and lording it in their midst, so that even the famous archers Yi or P’eng Meng could not take accurate aim at them, But when they are attracted to what they suppose are delicacies and find themselves among the prickly mulberries, brambles, hawthorns, or spiny citrons, way below their loftier arena, they must move with caution, glancing from side to side, quivering and shaking with fear.
‘It is not that their bones and sinews have become suddenly stiff and lost their suppleness. It is simply that the monkeys find themselves in a difficult and disadvantageous position, one where they cannot exercise their abilities to the full. And so it is when Man becomes full of himself. His attraction to what is seemingly of benefit and greater security to him actually distracts him from expressing himself in his full light.’
‘I like that tale, ‘ said the King of Wei, ‘but knowing you as I do, I have no doubt that the monkey is merely a metaphor for Man’s own mischievous self. Our fall from our true identity causes us to improvise and clutch at a false identity with the same desperation as someone falling continuously into the abyss.’
‘Exactly so!’ said Chang gleefully. ‘In the absence of the true knowledge of who we really are, our adopted self must keep alive its fictional existence with convincing, albeit empty, chattering.’
‘Chattering which is taken to heart rather than ignored,’ said the King. ‘Incessant and sweet chattering thoughts that, while sometimes a nuisance, sweetly persuade, convince, cajole, even scare us into believing that if we want protection, security and peace of mind, there is no other self worth listening to.’
‘And if such a self was indeed a monkey, how would you, as a sagely king, deal with it?’ enquired Chang.
‘Why I would ensure that both Yi and P’eng Meng practised harder, until they were successful,’ his monarch replied with amusement.
‘And how so for your own self, is it also a case of shooting the monkey?’ asked Chang.
‘Again, I would employ and develop those decisive archer parts of my own being to unmask myself.’
‘Well said, my King, for only by such action will you rid yourself of a fictional power that ultimately renders you powerless.’