AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YAY-YUH! THE SOUL HOLE HAS RETURNED!!!!
As promised, here is the fourth installment of my celebration of my favorite musical genre. Since it’s been a while and we’re continuing things on a new site I’ll catch you up on a few things. I’m known as a movie guy but my true love is music. So what I’m doing here is having more of a music appreciation class. I present some soul music that I love with a brief note and we listen together and fall in love. I hope you all will comment on the songs you love and hate, as well as share your favorites.
As I stated in Part 3 of the Soul Hole, this time around we’re going to cover a few of my favorite socially conscious songs and some funky instrumentals. Let’s get this bitch rollin’.
SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS SOUL
One of the many things that interests me about classic soul from the 60’s & 70’s is that so much of it is a reflection of what life was like for a black man or woman at that time. The civil rights movement was kicking everyone’s ass and these proud, talented people had something to say about it! Also, many of the artists came from poor families, awful neighborhoods and ghettos, and faced many hardships that make up the foundation of their music. This was truly music from the soul.
SYL JOHNSON – “IS IT BECAUSE I’M BLACK”
This is easily one of the most honest and heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard. Johnson’s voice carries a deep sadness here as he explores the effects his skin color has on his life and why it seems to prevent him from finding peace and success.
CURTIS MAYFIELD – “WE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DARKER THAN BLUE”
Ahhhhh, Curtis! This is just a fantastic song. Mayfield is one of the most hopeful and optimistic songwriters I’ve ever heard. Here’s a song about a man who faces racial prejudice, yet his focus is on universal love rather than anger or a returned hatred. This kind of song will always be relevant. Plus, it’s got a gorgeous string section and some sick bongos halfway through.
BABY HUEY & THE BABYSITTERS – “HARD TIMES”
Baby Huey sings about facing difficulties in life and dealing with a revolving door of awful people. We’ve all been down, sometimes at the fucking bottom. There is pain and sincerity in his voice and the band gets the fuck down. Baby Huey died from a heart attack at 26-years-old in 1970 before he saw the release of his one and only album.
PARLIAMENT – “CHOCOLATE CITY”
Parliament were huge in Washington D.C. during the 70’s, and the album, “Chocolate City,” was dedicated to them. D.C. gained the nickname “Chocolate City” for it’s large black population. This song pays tribute to other “Chocolate Cities” out there as well, and focuses on the positive of such a thing, rather than the negativity of the whites moving out.
SAM COOKE – “A CHANGE IS GONNA COME”
This is a bona fide classic. It’s another song about living in a world of hatred and intolerance. Just listen to Sam’s voice. Dammit!
SONNY CHARLES AND THE CHECKMATES – “BLACK PEARL”
I don’t want to leave out the women, here. Sonny Charles sings to black women here, who probably had it harder than most all those years ago. This is an uplifting tribute to the beautiful, hard-working women who dealt with everyone’s shit and deserved much better. Just listen to Phil Spector’s production!
In my opinion, instrumentals don’t get enough love. Everyone just wants to hear the chorus to satisfy their simple brains and sing along. Well, I like to hear a band jam the fuck out sometimes, without a singer drowning out all that goodness. Alright, let’s get the fuck down.
THE FABULOUS COUNTS – “DIRTY RED”
The Fabulous Counts hailed from Detroit, MI and never quite made it. Their fate was sealed when their label dropped them in favor of Funkadelic and The Ohio Players. Of the three singles that TFC released, this was the least successful. Too bad, really, because this is an exceptional song.
THE WATTS 103rd STREET RHYTHM BAND – “65 BARS AND A TASTE OF SOUL”
This is the kind of song I want playing while I fuck my lady from behind and sell weed off her back. You know, if I was a scoundrel like that.
THE MAJESTICS – “FUNKY CHICK”
Tell me this isn’t the perfect song for picking up ladies! Put this shit on in a bar and watch the cock-swagger take over your body. I must admit this has some vocals, but nothing more than a few “HEY’s!” “right on’s,” and “Uh’s!”
THE SOUL SEVEN – “MR. CHICKEN SHIT”
I’ve never been able to find much info on these guys for some reason. Anyway, I don’t just love the title, but the rhythmic chaos of this song.
KING CAIN SILVERTONE BAND – “DON’T GIVE A DAMN”
This is one of those great “chill out” songs. Put this on, smoke a little weed, love your woman and enjoy being alive. You’re going to be dead sooner than you’d like so just put this song on and smile more.
THE BROTHERS SEVEN – “EVIL WAYS”
Here’s a fucking awesome cover of Santana’s 1969 hit song. I love the horns and organ in this one. It makes my shoulders roll around in ways that would make people uncomfortable.
Well, this concludes Part 4 of The Soul Hole! I hope you enjoyed. Please share your favorite soul songs (or any song, fuck it; there are no rules here!) and keep an eye out for Part 5 where we’ll check out some Latin Soul and modern artists who are keeping the classic sound alive.