Tried to lay this one down yesterday but my ‘service’ provider wasn’t up to the job of providing the ‘service’ that I pay top dollar for so I’m throwing it down early and plan on doubling up with a next piece later today when I return from starting work on a new and very interesting project that is exciting me.
Sliding out of the 50’s Doo Wop and into the 60’s Soul with this 1963 Motown cut from…The Miracles led, (of course), by one of the great singers…William ‘Smokey’ Robinson…
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’
Today I would like to take the opportunity and quote from a top ranking piece of critique on the subject of Modernist by a Cat named Johnny Spencer who lived through as well as observed the changing face of London during the early Sixties.
“In London during the early sixties as in other parts of the British Isles a tiny minority of young, (mostly working class), boys and girls known only to themselves as ‘Modernists’ were walking, talking, dressing and dancing to a different song. These youngsters who were conceived in the heady and delirious optimism that marked the end of WW II had passed onto them in their genes a very real sense of supremecy, invincibility and confidence, a confidence that was fuelled and underpinned by the meta narrative of the western world, the concept of modernity, then at it’s zenith. By the early 1960’s the social fabric of cities in England had changed radically from the period before 1945, the war had dealt attitudes of authority and deference a mortal blow, conscription had ended, and the young en masse for the first time found themselves with a realistic disposable income. With history on their side this generation of independently minded teenagers felt able to think and act for themselves, not in a quasi-intellectual way as the ‘beatnicks’ had done, or to have to rebel, like the ‘Teddy Boys’, but as a truly autonomous entity.”
The musicology is courtesy of modernist icons ‘The Miracles’, (Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, Ronald White and Claudette Rogers), whose unique and distinctive sound epitomised the emerging sound that became known as Soul. The cut that was BIG on the London scene was in fact the second version, (with strings), but in the essence of ‘Modernist’ I had to lay this, (regional) one, (without strings), on you. Recorded for and released in 1960 on Motown.
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.
of the ten most soulful singers of the twentieth century, this cat is pushing for top spot and there can be no greater compliment paid than the one below from one of the others on the list:
“Jackie Wilson turned out to be probably my greatest idol that I ever had, as far as an entertainer,” said Smokey Robinson. “Because to me, he had everything. Jackie was just a complete package. The other guys could sing, but Jackie could sing and dance and entertain. He was really just great. So I think I probably admired him more so than all the other guys.”