Monday, June 8, 2009


The thing about soul is it's the beginning as well as the end. To a beginner I say of the whole world of soul: start here. To those in trouble I say: use this. To those who have seen it all I say: take one of these.
It was named what it is named for a reason.
Same with jazz and rock and blues. Together they are the four cornerstones but soul is the boss and of course it was begat by other things: Aretha didn't say much truth be told (when she wasn't singing) but she did once say: ..."now there's a plain bare fact, soul came up from gospel and blues, that much you can write down..." yet when pushed she concluded it was music that somehow bought to the surface whatever was happening inside.
James Brown took it back further in time when he said he first danced in order to earn more coins from WW2 serviceman going past in rural south troop-trains: "...I probably had some years-old African beat in my brain.''
Nu-soul is just as good as old-soul. Some of the most soulful music I've heard was made by machines. Soul covers everything: a cook can be soulful, a sporting contest, a sentence, the slope of a particularly gorgeous roof. Rock can be soulful, jazz can and blues can. Everything can if it is done with spirit and truth and meaning.
These are old soul songs from off the track slightly. 
Gloria Jones was the B-list soul babe on Motown who did Tainted Love, a massive northern soul hit, in 1964. It's been famously re-done a couple of times since. Then she went off and sung with Marc Bolan and became his girlfriend and then was the driver of the car in which he died. This song was between times, an album cut and vinyl rip from 1973's Share My Love.
Bonnie and Sheila I don't know much about but they were from New Orleans and this was originally released in '71 on a seven-inch on King, for whom James Brown recorded. It's a sister-piece to Mr Big Stuff by Jean Knight.
You Keep Me Hanging On (mp3) by Bonnie and Sheila 

Finally, Ben E King, the 60's crooner in the way of Percy Sledge who reinvented himself after the heights of Stand By Me and Spanish Harlem with a 1975 comeback-special southern- soul album from which this is the opener. Vinyl rip. 

No comments: