View Full Version : Featured Genre #6 - Soul

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 08:20 PM
Featured Genre #6: Soul

Author’s note: Hey, I know it’s long, so I broke it up a little bit. Hope that helps readability a little. I might add some downloads, pictures and maybe lists of additional important artists and albums once the feeling comes back to my fingers. Hope you enjoy!

A Completely Incomplete History of Soul Music

Soul music, like a surprising great deal many other things, can be viewed as a microcosm of that ol’ battle between the secular and the spiritual. There’s the flesh and there’s the heavenly, you know. The concrete and the abstract. These two concepts play at the very root of soul. You see, soul music is ultimately a synthesis of the two ideas, or at least a combination of musical equivalents.

Not surprisingly, our two little themes have been having a go at each other since the early history of soul music. Sure, soul pulled Sam Cooke from the church pew to the dance floor but when Al Green got a pot full of searing grits thrown on him (while he was in the shower) by a lover (who later killed herself,) which spurred him to briefly quit the music industry to become a preacher some twenty years later, well, it was kinda like the whole thing went full circle.

And judging from the sheer amount of tragedy, heartbreak and loneliness that soul music has portrayed over the years, both on record and in the personal lives of artists, it’s almost like the genre was damned from the get-go, as if such a thing were possible. However, this ain’t “the life and times.” Right now, I could care less about the transcendental personal events in a musician's life, which, though relevant to the music, are far too speculative. So then how ‘bout we get into this thing, eh?

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 08:24 PM
I. In The Beginning...

Somewhere down in the American South around the middle of last century, it became clear that an odd union had occurred. Well, it wasn’t so odd, really. The birth of Soul can be traced to this union, a moment in time when a multitude of R&B and pop sub-genres (among them, doo wop, jazz blues, Brill Building pop, jump blues, and the work of early girl groups) coalesced with the divine vocal styling of gospel music.

Of course, it wasn’t such an magically abrupt thing. Chances are you don’t get the opportunity to jump straight under the sheets on the first date; same usually goes for music. Like human beings, genres tend to romance one another. A series of subtle flirtations and sensuous nothings whispered in the ear and then, BAM! When you least expect it, there’s a sweet bundle of joy, an infant musical creature of infinite discernable difference compared to the creatures that begot it. That’s progress for you, right there.

And that’s why we look at a figure like Ray Charles, and say, “Yes! That there is the birth of Soul!” Because romance is fucking boring and we are impatient creatures. We want to get at the action. The build up is just that, a build up, a slow and steady climb to a climax, which in this context, is someone like Ray Charles.

We look at Ray Charles as the birth of soul for several reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that of all the early soul artists, of all the musicians who performed the odd little motions of musical courtship, Ray Charles was simply among the best and the most versatile. Submitted for your approval, “Come Back Baby,” a sort of soul standard.

See, Ray Charles had the otherworldly crooning of gospel down pat, as his vocal presence displays so obviously here. Very few artists could do what Charles did throughout his career, lay his soul down so effectively on a recording device. But at the time, plenty others could do that very act proficiently enough to make Charles’ vocal feats somewhat unimportant. What makes a song like “Come Back Baby” (and Charles’ immediate impact on soul) important is that you have the exaggerations of the gospel vocal and topical matter that is clearly quite carnal. It’s blues and it’s gospel but the traditional religious pontificating of gospel fare is gone, replaced with the worldly themes of the blues. “Oh mama, please don’t go,” instead, of, “Sweet Lordy, here I come.”

Still, some things just seem inevitable. Regardless of Charles’ historical timing and profound skill, there were still plenty other artists in the late 50's who sought to translate their experience with the gospel choir into pop music success.

Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson appropriately became figures in the evolution of Soul, since both made a noticeable and relevant impact. “You Send Me” was Sam Cooke’s breakout song, a fairly typical 50's pop ballad. However, the richness of Cooke’s croon is like sucrose, it’ll stick to yer fuckin’ ears. Cooke’s best work would come, however, in a short period just before his mysterious death with songs like “Shake” and a “A Change Is Gonna to Come.” His work, which was much poppier and less rugged than Charles’ overall, would have a specifically strong impact on uptown soul artists.

Wilson’s biggest achievement was probably the fact that he helped springboard the career of a young musician named Berry Gordy Jr., who penned the pop big band swing of “Reet Petite” and many of Wilson’s other late 50's hits. Afterwards, Gordy used the money from his small cut of success with Wilson to start up a record company in Detroit called Motown. In any case, Wilson’s energetic presence and elastic vocal chords certainly helped etch in his place in soul history. Plus, he did the awesome hit song “Higher and Higher” in the late 60's.

By the time the decade drew to a close, soul became a game of earth-shattering vocals. At least, that’s how a blues guy like Bobby “Blue” Bland rose to prominence within soul. Bland was the rare kind of bluesman who didn’t play an instrument. However, his crushing vocals, a twist of gospel and spatter of rock and roll holler, and his raw charisma ensured an audience, just as it did for Wilson. “I Pity the Fool,”might be more blues than soul but Bland’s phrasing made him an early ancestor of the southern soul dynamo.

But the man who defined dynamo, the man who perfected performance, charisma and stapled on determination and innovation for good measure was James Brown. Very few soul artists enjoyed the longevity Brown experienced, which was simply because he was the hardest working man in the business, no fucking joke. You can hear the effort on “Think;” the man belches out his lyrics with so much intensity, the beat, more subdued here than it would be later, but still driven with vigor. It was impossible for his music not to have a lasting effect on the genre.

So it was in the year nineteen-sixty. Soul caught fire with audiences, mostly black audiences, but anyone who could get their hands on the stuff could find something to dig. After all, the early wave of soul proved to be a massive influence of rock and rollers from both sides of the pond. But the concept of soul as a popular music hadn’t quite arrived.

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 08:28 PM
II. These Happy Golden Years...

Now, the nature of nearly every living thing on this planet is pretty simple to follow; you’re born, you expand, and then you fall into some state of disrepair. I’d argue that music is as much alive as any other thing (at least in some respects, come on, work with me here,) so it makes sense that it too would follow this rule. So if the birth occurred in the 50's, then the expansion began in the 60's.

Soul splintered into three really distinct styles during the first half of that decade, or at least so it would seem to me. First, you’ve got Southern Soul.

Southern soul maintained elements of a lot of early soul. It was rough, like a bare-fist slugfest, which made it the most primal, rocking version of soul. That’s not to say that one couldn’t get their slow groove on to a Solomon Burke song. Rather, southern soul was less concerned with much of the musical finesse that other styles took to. Ballads were a’plenty but the scratchy throated vocals of guys like Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding gave them a worn, distinctly southern feel.

Southern soul was fairly synonymous with Stax Records, an independent record label during the sixties based out of Memphis, Tennessee. Musically, southern soul had a strong continuum from artist to artist, thanks to the use of label in-house bands. Session/backing bands like the Bar-Kays, The Mar-Kays, Booker T. and the MGs, The Meters and later, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, gave the sub-genre a tight, self-referential feel which surprisingly, rarely sounded like typical factory packaged pop music.

On the other hand, you’ve got Motown, which was completely factory packaged pop music. That’s not a knock on the output, really. That’s just how it was. No matter, because Motown was easily the most popular style of soul in the sixties.

A lot of people know the Motown story, so I’m not going to bore you with that. If you wanna know it, you can research it yerself. Early Motown stuff was pretty distinct because it was, as I said, very formulaic. Generally, the stuff was written by one of a handful of guys, Smokey Robinson (who Bob Dylan called the greatest American poet of his time,) Holland-Dozier-Holland or by Berry Gordy Jr. himself.

Motown’s style was less aggressive than southern soul. A strong focus placed melodic hooks, sophisticated musical arrangement and pop craftsmanship above all else. They also banked on their boy-girl groups like Martha and the Vandellas, The Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Miracles and The Four Tops. Early hits like “Baby, I Need Your Loving” and “Come See About Me,” were catchy at the least, filled with intricate nuance at best.

When we think “formulaic music,” we tend to think “bad music,” and while Motown wasn’t always perfect, the hit factory was arguably the finest incident of “formulaic music.” If nothing else, Motown deserves credit for being the first occasion music made by black people reached a massive audience of white folks. Motown hits from the early sixties easily rivaled the success of Beatles hits and scored on R&B and Pop charts consistently.

Most uptown soul didn’t chart quiet as effectively as Motown, however. The true emphasis of the style wouldn’t really be on display until the seventies. Basically, uptown soul was created in the other major northern epicenters of soul, namely, Chicago and Philadelphia. One might consider Motown as a sub-genre of uptown soul, the sect of Uptown that developed in Detroit.

I’m still kinda new to a lot of artists from Philly and Chi-Town but my one of my personal favorites from either city is The Impressions. Early on, soul from Chicago embraced and employed the civil rights movement in music and unsurprisingly, the Impressions made some of the finest early political soul songs. The churchy righteousness of “People Get Ready” alluded to other, more socio-political matters and though the ideas being put forth weren’t particularly radical, the simple act was huge for soul. By the early seventies, everyone and their mother made a politically charged soul album.

The cross-over success of Motown artists opened the way for other soul artists, who, conversely, opened the way for even more soul artists. Otis Redding is an important figure in this respect. He’s a guy who played to hardcore southern soul fans yet reached out to other music fans with songs like “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” written at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, where he performed alongside former R&B session man Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Ravi Shankar, and Simon and Garfunkel.

One of the most important developments in soul at the end of the decade was the appearance of truly singular talents like Redding. Other vocal talents like Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye blew away most of the competition, inimitable in every respect, which was somewhat problematic to the idea of pop-packaged soul.

Another important development was the embrace of the psychedelic, rowdy, and throbbing elemental force that became funk.

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 08:31 PM
III. To Funk or Not to Funk...

Now, as tempted as I am to get into Funk, I’m not going to. Ain’t that fucked up?

Funk is something that I think could take up its own feature. Funk and soul are fruit part of the same tree, yeah. But in the end, soul proved to be much more than that. So I’m going to skip over artists like George Clinton and Sly for the most part, even though their influence is undoubtedly important to soul. Would add another page anyway. I’ve probably lost you by now, so just imagine that.

I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

But don’t be sad! We’ve still got Isaac Hayes on the set! That’s right, the original big black bald Don Juan, Isaac Hayes. You might know Hayes from “Salty Chocolate Balls” and the Shaft soundtrack but man, Hot Buttered Soul is where it’s at. With the release of the album in ‘69, Hayes arguably dropped the first album statement by a soul artist, that is, an album unconcerned with hit singles, accessibility, driven by a tight artistic vision. There are four fucking songs and only one of them clocks in under 9 minutes.

So I direct you to Exhibit A, his version of the Bacharach-David classic, “Walk on By.” Just listen, that’s all. His murky vision was elaborate like the work of uptown soulsters, yet held on to the immediacy of his label mates on Stax. But it was twice more experimental than either. It profoundly affected a great many Soul musicians, most apparently, Willie Mitchell, founder of Hi-Records, producer to Al Green.

The presence of guys like Hayes, Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, as well as collaborative give-and-take writing duos like Al Green/Willie Mitchell, and Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson, lead to a sort of archetypical character, soul auteurs if you will. Guys who not only performed, but jumped all the way into the creative process head first and left a unique artistic fingerprint behind. They wrote their own songs, picked their own material, experimented, simply had creative control. Wasn’t really so much a brand new thing, but the development of a great many artists during this period pushed soul in a series of new directions.

At the same time, these artists embraced a social-awareness that, until then, was less prevalent. They promoted the civil rights movement, which had taken a turn into dire straights after the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

So there’s this big Laundromat, and all these different elemental ideas are being stuffed into the washer: politics, psychedelia, experimentalism. And then you’ve got all these different styles coming together in a soapy mixture: funk, reggae, exquisite pop, jazz, early electronic music. The result was... the result was...

The result was still sensuous, as Al Green declared. As the “last great southern soul singer,” Green’s output during the seventies is immaculately superb, both in terms of popular and artistic success. Guy could rock the fucking microphone. There was a tenderness about him, a sensitivity that found a midway point between God and Sex that perhaps no other artist ever found. At least, not quite so well.

The result was filled with impassioned fervor, as Gil Scott-Heron displayed. No one will ever confuse him with the great vocalists, but his poetic vision is nearly unmatched. “Home is Where the Hatred Is” is certainly a more poignant look at drug-use than Gaye’s “Flying High (In the Friendly Skies),” even if it’s not as beautiful. His fiery diatribes, along with the beat monologues of Hayes and the early raps of guys like Joe Tex became the foundation of the hip hop MC.

The result was, most of all, versatile, as Stevie Wonder envisioned. Wonder was the greatest cross-over artist that Motown ever produced, but the fact is, Motown had very little do with his success. With a voice that was one part primal growl, one part gentle falsetto, he created some of the best soul albums as he expanded the artistic breadth of the genre. They were funky, synthy, mellow, agitprop, jazzy, danceable, and obviously, incredibly soulful.

The misconception at this point, I suppose, would be that Soul was purely black music since its inception. And while its true, black folk spurred the creation on throughout, it’s a sort of an exaggeration. Music knows no race, creed, religion, yadda, yadda. After all, bands like Booker T. and the MGs and Sly’s Family Stone testified to this fact, multiracial groups with the funkiest white dudes you’d ever meet. Steve Cropper, anyone?

So a sub-genre like Blue-eyed Soul is kind of inaccurate, as though this was the only chance people with less melanin had to get into the game. However, blue-eyed soul is still a noteworthy divergence in the soul continuum. Blue-eyed soul is just soul sung by a white singer. Dusty Springfield might have cut some of the best tracks of the style but there were plenty of artists who dabbled. Cult-fave Big Star’s frontman Alex Chilton got his start as a blue-eyed soul singer with the group The Box Tops. Some David Bowie and Van Morrison material is considered blue-eyed soul. You knew that, right?

The best cuts of blue-eyed soul capture the same intensity of... I don’t know, brown-eyed soul. Many familiar southern session musicians worked blue-eyed soul, which made songs like “Natchez Trace” sound so strong and authentic, as hard-edged as anything the Meters could do. But a lot of songs ended up the kind of MOR stuff that evolved into Hall & Oates.

Sad thing is, middle-of-the-road crap became a permanent fixture in soul music.

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 08:34 PM
IV. Where Do We Go Now... or; The Section of the Story Where Our Author Condenses Some Thirty Years of Music into a Couple Compact Pages...

Perhaps the greatest trick soul music ever pulled off was transforming the cliche into something tangibly new. I guess if you’ve got to this point, you might have realized that a lot of soul music, in someways, is very one dimensional. Bob Dylan called Smokey Robinson the greatest American poet of his time not because he was a grand deacon of ideas. No, it was because he could turn classic topical banality (example: a trite love song) into success because he was a master of technical poetic skill. Meter, rhythm and the sort. He didn’t write anything new, per se, yet he wrote nothing new so damn well that it’s simply enjoyable.

That might strike one as an underhanded compliment, but it’s not. The ability to turn shit into gold is an underappreciated talent, one of utmost importance to a pop musician. One that’s probably a bit lacking now-a-days.

Anyways, my point is that you can only go on for so long, milking the same cow. The tit goes dry, you know? During the seventies, soul fostered a wildly unique creative atmosphere which continued, even as the popularity of funk spawned disco and the two eclipsed soul to some degree. The soul album was perfected by a multitude of artists and the writing duo of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff made Philly soul a force to be reckoned with.

But then something kinda interesting happened; Smokey Robinson released Quiet Storm, an album of introspective love songs, “grown folks music,” if you will. Now, Quiet Storm is an good album. But the last thing the world needed was a hundred Quiet Storms, which is what it got when the album spawned it’s namesake genre.

Quiet storm became yet another sub-genre of soul, which hung around throughout the 70's and 80's. It did fill a void, perhaps the only niche left for soul to fill in the wake of funk, disco, and very soon, hip hop. After all, someone had to make love songs, right? Funk and disco got you on the dance floor, disco held the pop charts, quiet storm picked up the scraps.

Don’t get me wrong; it would be incredibly unfair to completely write off the 80's. Smooth soul proponents like Barry White and Luther Vandross might not be the most exciting or unique characters in the history of soul but they did what they did damn effectively. But very few could match their aplomb as they tackled romance and bed sheets.

Folks gave disco soul a shot, but that generally didn’t work out too well (see: Fire on Ice by Terry Callier.) Then again, some could take the slick bounciness of disco and infuse it with enough grace to make it work (see: the remake of “Ordinary Joe” by Terry Callier, also released in 1979.) The pop-soul of Michael Jackson was very much informed by disco but the funk remained light, suited to Jackson’s progression from child-star to adult.

In reality, the only truly unique vision came from Prince, who bent the line between the major forces of 80's pop music: new wave, hair metal, early hip hop and soul.

Armed with a wicked falsetto and an aroused imagination, Prince wove tales of sexual triumph with metaphors so thin, if you pulled them back, you’d probably get a peep show. But more than just a horny freak, Prince was also a gifted songwriter. He was easily the most original of any soul artist to come of age in the 80's, that’s for sure. By the time he was in his late twenties, he proved himself a master of folk, funk, pop, soul, psychedelia, electro-beats, and epic ballads. And he was ape-shit nuts. Beat that.

But mostly, 80's soul stuck close to tried and true formulas. Even as the music embraced change, like Terry Riley’s new jack swing, the ideas were roughly the same. New jack swing finally reignited the old musical courtship, this time a flame between soul and hip hop. The output had the hard-hitting break beats of hip hop production spliced with the genome of 80's smooth soul vocal.

Just about ever modern soul hit-maker from Bobby Brown to Janet Jackson (and Michael) embraced new jack swing. Riley’s first band, Guy, ended up a precursor to more popular artists like Boyz II Men, TLC, and Mary J. Blige, who, along with a whole generation of other artists, created an amalgam of raps and urban soul.

If you think like me, the thought process would probably go something like, “Gee, I like rap. I also like soul. Therefore, if rap and soul got together, I’d like the end result. Right?”

Problem is, new jack swing blows. Although the combination was a natural progression (that got better with time) the very few artists who did anything with it were the exception, not the rule. Boyz II Men might be the biggest R&B group of all time but that doesn’t mean that more than half of their songs aren’t the same smooth soul wank that the 80's produced in droves. Just my opinion.

But like I said, it got better with time. In the middle of the decade, things really started to pick up with albums like TLC’s CrazySexyCool, The Fugees’ Score and Brown Sugar by D’Angelo. Individual artists struggled out identities, personas that tried to properly integrate a hip hop street-wise sensibility with the sound of laid-back soul. Neo-soul had arrived, a sub-genre that looked backwards as much as it looked at present-day trends. Ex-Fugee Lauryn Hill might be a poster child for the style, even though she’s only released one proper solo album to date (although another is soon to come, albeit some seven years after the first.) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was not only a pop success, but it made inroads for soul to return to the depth of thought it had achieved in the 70's.

So that kinda takes us up today. Soul continues to push forward, showing no signs of the aforementioned state of disrepair, although it has come quite close in years past. Even scowling rappers bow down to the unbridled sexual spirituality of soul; singers like Erykah Badu and Cee-Lo Green are almost as ubiquitous on hip hop albums as James Brown samples are. The MC/singer, while not a new phrase to the lexicon of soul, is definitely an interesting aspect. Phonte of Little Brother knows how to belt out a tune, and though somewhat shaky as a vocalist, Andre 3000 made a huge splash as a songwriter.

Permutation after permutation, soul remains a vital source of talent and music. So if you don’t know, now you know.

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 08:36 PM
Epilogue: Oh Shi... He’s Got More to Say?

While I’ve gone fairly in-depth, here, don’t think for a second that I’ve said all there is to say about soul music. I trimmed out some fat along the way, and tried to keep it moving but hell, people write books about soul. I’ve given you a small, hopefully informative brochure.

There are dozens of artists I haven’t mentioned deserve mention, sub-genres I failed to note and so on and so forth. Didn’t really do that because they were unimportant, just because in my eyes (and within the scope of my knowledge,) they were somewhat secondary. I’m no complete expert on the subject, after all (although I might feel like one after finishing this eight page here.)

I’d like to go out with snippets from a poem that I think accurately summarizes the very nature of soul music, if you don’t mind. Here it goes...

What is soul?
I don't know, huh!
Soul is a hamhock in your cornflakes, yeah

What is soul?
I don't know
Soul is the ring around your bathtub

What is soul?
I don't know
Soul is a joint rolled in toilet paper

What is soul
Man, I don't know,
Soul is rusty ankles and ashy kneecaps

What is soul
Man, I don't know
Soul is chitlins foo yung

Soul is you, baby
Soul is you, big mama


Sample Songs: (Limited Time Offer! Ends Sept. 8th or something.)


(1957) Ray Charles - Come Back Baby
(1957) Sam Cooke - You Send Me
(1958) Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite
(1960) Bobby “Blue” Bland - I Pity the Fool
(1960) James Brown - Think


(1962) Solomon Burke - Cry to Me
(1964) The Four Tops - Baby, I Need Your Loving
(1964) Wilson Pickett - In the Midnight Hour
(1964) Diana Ross and the Supremes - Come See About Me
(1965) The Impressions - People Get Ready
(1967) Otis Redding - (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay
(1968) Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through the Grapevine
(1968) Aretha Franklin - Ain’t No Way


(1969) Isaac Hayes - Walk on By
(1969) Dusty Springfield - Natchez Trace
(1971) Gil Scott-Heron - Home is Where The Hatred Is
(1973) Ann Peebles - I Can’t Stand the Rain
(1972) O’Jays - Back Stabbers
(1970) Curtis Mayfield - The Other Side of Town
(1972) Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
(1973) Stevie Wonder - I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)


(1974) Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
(1975) Smokey Robinson - The Agony and the Ecstacy
(1979) Terry Callier - Ordinary Joe
(1979) Michael Jackson - Rock With You
(1981) Luther Vandross - Never Too Much
(1987) Prince - It


(1988) Guy - Groove Me
(1989) Janet Jackson - Black Cat
(1994) Mary J. Blige - Reminisce
(1995) D’Angelo - Brown Sugar
(1998) Lauryn Hill - Ex-Factor
(2004) Cee Lo Green & Pharrell - Let’s Stay Together
(2001) Erykah Badu - Penitentiary Philosophy

08-29-2005, 08:40 PM
Awesome thread. Curtis Mayfield is probably my favourite artist who could be considered soul.

08-29-2005, 08:45 PM
Wowza. I'm not at all familiar with a lot of Soul artists so I'm looking into some very soon. Awesome.

08-29-2005, 09:03 PM
Oh great read, I'm very pleased you mentioned Sam Cooke I just recently picked up his Portrait of a Legend and he is fantastic.

Robert Crumb
08-29-2005, 11:32 PM
Glad you guys enjoyed it.

Oh great read, I'm very pleased you mentioned Sam Cooke I just recently picked up his Portrait of a Legend and he is fantastic.

He has one of the best voices in soul, if not the best, I think. It's just so crisp.

Little Man being Erased
08-30-2005, 12:13 AM
Bravo, Mr Crumb, bravo. Interesting read, and I managed to learn quite a bit.

08-30-2005, 12:23 AM
I love Soul (as well as Gil-Scott Heron), but I find it down right wrong to skip over Sly & The Family Stone while talking about Mr. Heron. They were a soul group before they did funk, and they are one of the most important to the psychadelic-soul style. Heron had way more to do with rap than any other style of music.

"The revolution will not make you look 5lbs thinner, because the revolution will not be televised"

I'm glad you meantioned Hot Buttered Soul. I personally can't get enough of that album, and it was the one that set the blue prints for the soul that would out after it. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" annoys me though, with 9+ minutes of just random talk.

Overall, I am impressed. Got a lot of good information in this thing, and has a lot about the big names.

08-30-2005, 11:10 AM
Brilliant thread and write-up. I like soul, but like a lot of people, I've only heard the likes of James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding etc. They're all really good though.

08-30-2005, 12:14 PM
That's a pretty impressive write-up. I like some soul, like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, etc.

BlackDeathMetalJazz or really ANYTHING else please-
08-30-2005, 07:18 PM
Holy ****! Great great job! Have some rep+ you deserve it. :)

This thread reminds me that I need to get some more Soul into my life. Thank you fantastic read. :)

Robert Crumb
08-30-2005, 11:54 PM
I'm glad you meantioned Hot Buttered Soul. I personally can't get enough of that album, and it was the one that set the blue prints for the soul that would out after it. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" annoys me though, with 9+ minutes of just random talk.

Yep. I only recently got into it, actually, and it completely blew me away. My initial thought was, "wow, I've heard chunks of this album a million times, and didn't even know it." And although I do agree about "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the other half of the song is still pretty sweet.

And I concede both points, Sly deserved more and Gil Scott-Heron was more important to rap than soul. But I really like the latter's r&B stuff and Sly, well, I have no good excuse for that. :p

I'll probably have those downloads up on thursday unless something goes sour.

Gypsy Campervan
08-31-2005, 10:46 AM
Funk Brothers?

09-01-2005, 09:18 AM
Excellent article there. I'm probably most glad to see a mention of Solomon Burke, although, since you have mentioned him, I'm somewhat surprised not to see any mention of his 2002 album, Don't Give Up On Me. It won him a Grammy and a lot of critical acclaim, and is amongst the best soul I know (best albums I know, even). All of which surprises me, considering when it has been recorded and released.

He's released another album this year (Make Do With What You Got), but I haven't got it yet. With luck I will soon though, as he's a great singer and a very interesting character.

Also, since I'm here, I picked up an album recently (within the last month, anyway) by a guy called Baby Huey. Do you know him?

Robert Crumb
09-01-2005, 12:53 PM
Downloads are up now, thanks to the high speed internet at my uni. Put each little period in a zip file.

Bartender, I forgot about the new Solomon Burke stuff, I was gonna add a little thing at the end about older artists who are still going or have revitalized their careers (Burke, Terry Callier, Al Green, etc.) but I forgot. I think I've heard the name Baby Huey (you might have mentioned it somewhere on MX) but I haven't heard anything from him.

09-01-2005, 01:12 PM
Not sure if I've mentioned him before, but he's worth checking out, I think. He (and his band, the Babysitters) seems to have been a live staple in and around Chicago during the 60s. Apparently they were really successful because they could pull off playing in both really tiny little dingy clubs, and big, up-scale parties and cruises (and were once flown out to Paris to play the debutante ball of some rich family's daughter).

Anyway, they only made the one album, and Huey didn't live to see it released; he died aged 26 in 1970, a few weeks after (his friend) Jimi Hendrix. The album (rather confusingly titled Living Legend) is really quite good, though. Amongst some great original stuff, there's a cover of A Change is Gonna Come, and an instrumental version of California Dreamin', with a flute doing the vocal line. The thing I always notice about the record (although Huey has a good voice), is how tight the band are, which I suppose is why they managed to survive as such a successful live-only band for seven or eight years.

I'll see if I can upload some stuff later on.

09-01-2005, 01:29 PM
I like new jack swing. :(

Broken Arrow
09-01-2005, 02:09 PM
Great write up!

Steve Cropper is one of my favourite guitarists.

09-01-2005, 02:20 PM
Wow, that was a fantastic write-up.

Also, I think Bowie once called Young Americans "plastic soul", if that counts for anything.

Also, Young Americans is considered the launching point for Luther Vandross's career.

09-01-2005, 05:05 PM
good write up. you left out bill withers though. bill withers!

Robert Crumb
09-01-2005, 10:21 PM
Sounds pretty cool Bartender, I'd like to hear it if you do.

And sorry Iai, I thought you might. :p

09-10-2005, 08:59 AM
Well, I was going to wait a while, until your uploads were dead, before uploading something, so that it wouldn't seem like I was trying to steal your thunder. Now it looks like I can't really upload something anyway.

09-10-2005, 10:05 AM
That Baby Huey album is really good. Their rendition of Hard Times is a classic.

Robert Crumb
09-11-2005, 02:29 PM
I can probably get it to you somehow on Tuesday.

09-15-2005, 08:27 AM
Marvin Gaye Rules!

09-15-2005, 09:24 AM
I love soul and motown music. I grew up listening to all my dads tapes of Luther Vandross, The Commodores, Rose Royce etc. I still listen to soul alot now.

09-15-2005, 07:31 PM
I skimmed over that, awesome article.

I play bass in my school's R&B band (We play Motown, 50's rock n' roll, disco, etc). It's gonna be great. I'll be sure to read the article in full soon.

Robert Crumb
09-15-2005, 08:23 PM
Could anyone re-upload the "1988-Today" file, it wouldn't download for me now it's expired. :( I'll upload any of the others if people missed them.

Send me an email at wurlitzer_jukebox@hotmail.com and I'll give you a link if you still want it. Sorry forgot all about it.

11-03-2005, 04:48 AM
Are The Drifters soul?

I love them! Just not enitirely sure what genre they fit into properly. I know theres like motown, soul, rnb etc, just not 100% clear on it.

11-08-2005, 05:28 PM
awesome write-up.

I was brought up with soul music constantly around me, I have recently started listening to it myself. I love Sam Cooke and Issak Hayes most out of the people you mentioned.

No mention of the Isley Brothers or Teddy Pendergrass though :eek:....Isley Brothers might not even be soul, I always get genres wrong.

02-14-2006, 10:37 PM
Funk Brothers?

This has probalby already been answered, but they played the instruments for basically every Motown band.

02-22-2006, 07:17 AM
I've been listening to a lot of Dusty Springfield and Sam Cooke lately. Their voices are just amazing.

05-22-2006, 12:53 AM
I listen to Santana, Its music on mine is simple surprising
Under its music it is possible to dance freely :))
You agree with me
But basically tastes differ :))

Robert Crumb
05-23-2006, 01:33 AM

06-09-2006, 12:26 PM
An Completely Incomplete History of Soul Music

Typo. Just thought it should be fixed since it's a headline and all :)

06-20-2006, 11:00 PM
Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye are my favorite soul artists. Though I have little material, soul is one of my favorite genres of music. Good job.

09-21-2006, 10:39 PM
Don't Give Up On Me doesn't have a review yet. I'm so doing it. YEEEEEEEEAH.

10-01-2006, 11:13 PM

I tried :(

03-06-2008, 10:13 AM
hey guys, if your looking for a cool new soul artist to listen to try Mamas Gun, word of mouth is they're meant to be making it big later this year, what do you lot think?