According to this document made available by the University of Michigan called, “What Is Soul?” and “What Is Soul Music;” “The word soul found its way into the discourse of American popular culture initially through music and spread out from there. African American essayist and playwright Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) notes that in the 1950s the word was used by jazz musicians and critics alike to characterize a movement within jazz to reclaim and revitalize a musical tradition that had been repeatedly co-opted by mainstream and corporate culture.”
Song: Touch Me In The Morning
Artist: Marlena Shaw
Album: Go Away Little Boy (1977)
Now, I don’t mean to offend any Marlena Shaw fans out there, but her music really didn’t lit my fire back in the day. It wasn’t because I thought she couldn’t sing, she had an amazing voice. I guess it was one of those things I believed she was singing the wrong music for her type of voice (again, just my opinion). However, I do acknowledge she did some really, really good cover songs throughout her career.
She Did A Lot Of Talkin’ In Her Music
Marlena is one of those performers that did a lot of talking in her music. She kind of reminded me of artists similar to Linda Clifford (in that respect). As far as my memory goes, I think some of her best covers came from the disco genre. Her cover of Diana Ross’s “Touch Me In The Morning,” was awesome in my opinion. I don’t have access to the numbers, but I know that it was pretty big on the dance charts. I think this cover matched with her voice perfectly. It’s not easy turning a song (that was originally slow paced) into a disco hit.
Now, she did another cover of a song I thought was originally by Angela Bofill (1978), ’cause that’s who I heard my grandpa play a lot growing up. But it turns out that it was originally sung by legendary Martha Reeves (1975). The cover song Marlena sung was called “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter (1976),” from her “Just A Matter Of Time,” album. I love all three versions of the song. But, honestly guys…. This is such a beautiful song, unless you have a voice of a freakin’ frog, I think it’s pretty hard to mess up this song. For real 🤣. You know what? While I’m on the same album, check out her song “Brass Band,” it has a really nice smooth jazzy, disco beat to hit.
Artist: Toussaint McCall
Genre: True Soul
Sooo many forgotten artists. Toussaint McCall is in that pile of many who’s been forgotten; even more so because he was a one hit wonder. It’s bad enough his music is obscure, almost nothing is written about this man. Honestly I’m not even sure if the McCall is still alive. It seams I can’t even figure out who written today’s song choice. It’s a shame because I do believe the man could sing, although there were a couple of songs I’ve heard from him that sounded like his voice wasn’t strong enough or something. He kind of had that “first starting out church voice,” where it almost sounds unstable in the beginning. However, with “Nothing Takes The Place Of You,” his voice seemed to be on point. Not sure if that means he written the song, or he developed an emotional connection to this song. Either way, it became one of the most romantic heart felt songs I’ve heard in a really long time back then.
He Kept Recording Despite Only Having One Hit!
McCall’s song “Nothing Takes The Place Of You,” hit #5 on the R&B chart, and #52 on the Top 100. In terms of TV and radio, it seemed as though he literally vanished after the success of his first album. It wasn’t until he made a cameo appearance in the Johnathan Waters crazy comedy “Hairspray (1988),” starring the late Divine and Rickki Lake, did people remembered once again who he was. Despite only having one major hit song, he kept recording several records after that. He must have had very good connections in the music industry, because even back then, if you did not produce any sales after the third album or so, the label would have usually dropped you (contract or no contract).
Song: Cry Baby
Artist: Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters
Damn!! I can’t stay away from blogging for too long it seems. But that’s ok, because my reader base gets the benefit of rediscovering what I perceive as good music. 😃 You know, that reminds me… Now that the holidays are quickly approaching, I’m sure that many of you are going to eventually invite family over for good food and drink, etc. Depending on our moods, sometimes picking songs, or a good playlist can be a challenge for some. If you’re unsure of what great classics to pick, just skim through my blog! I literally have over 280 posts now, you’re sure to find something to share with your family.
One Of My Many Favorite Songs My Late Grandpa Introduced Me To!
I remembered my grandpa playing this song through his cassette player a lot. Garnet Mimms could sing his *ss off!! OMG! Have you ever listened to a song as a kid, but you didn’t realize how talented someone was until you heard it again as an adult? Well, that was my experience with his music. This is also one of the beautiful things about re-listening to nostalgic music, we not only reminisce on the days when we were younger, we also get a greater appreciation for particular artists and their music. In fact, I dare to say the music often brings stronger emotions then they did when we were younger. Don’t you think?
Garnet (now 86), was one of those male performers that didn’t hold back any part of his vocal abilities. It is a shame that he only had 1 top ten hit, which was called “Cry Baby (1963).” The song peaked at #4 on the Top 100, and probably his most memorable. With the exception of one other very favorite song called “For Your Precious Love (1964).” This song kind of makes you cry, simply because you can sense the notes came from the depths of his soul. It only peaked at #26, and I think it should have been much higher than that!! You know, so many artist covered this song, however, in my opinion, the best versions of this song were done by Garnet Mimms, and Jerry Butler. By the way, if I’m not mistaken, Jerry Butler originally recorded the song first, close to the end of the 50s.Shop Skincare at Fragrance.com and Save Up to 80% Off Retail Prices
Artist: Alice Clark
Album: Alice Clark (1972)
Holy shit! Talk about a lost talent! Brooklyn born Alice Clark was so underrated it wasn’t funny. It’s really upsetting to learn just how much power these record companies had back in the day. Alice had rhythm, she had soul, and she sang her ass off. There was absolutely no reason why these record companies could not had promoted her a little more. In my opinion, her style and caliber was similar to Gladys Knight. There was no excuse for this labels. Such a damn shame. Listen to the song “Never Did I stop Loving You.” She tore this song up! Alice only produced one album as far as I can tell. There is a second album floating around, but that was a special edition/ vinyl reissue. Which means it probably costs a pretty penny.
Song: MacArthur’s Park
Artist: The Four Tops
Album: Four Tops Now (1969)
You know what? I totally forgot about this song. The song “MacArthur’s Park” was written by Jimmy Web, and first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968. Man, talk about dozens and dozens of redoes! This song was covered so many times by so many people, It’s not even funny. But, I have to say, Sammy Davis Jr., version of the song is boring as fuck!! And you know I’m open to all kinds of music. This song is not for everybody. You’ll probably more likely to like the original if you like classical music. Honestly, I think my ultimate version of this song, was when the late disco queen Donna Summer turned this in to a disco cult classic! Loved the 12 inch, on her “Live And More album.”
However, did you know that the legendary Four Tops recorded this song in 1969? The song peaked at #38 on the Top 100 Chart. I was only 2 years old then. I can’t say that I love it as much as I do Donna Summer’s version, but I really enjoyed it a lot. When you listen to how it was originally sung by Richard Harris, and the way song was was structured, almost immediately I said in my mind, this kind of music was out of their league! But, The Four Tops actually did a wonderful job. Not only was the song soulful, they managed to preserve the original essence of the song. Check it out when you get a chance. You may like it. By the way, it wasn’t until I was about 18 or 19 did I learn that the song was actually about snorting cocaine! 🤣 But, I bet you’re going to listen to it closer now, aren’t you?!?!?
I really do wish I discovered this guy earlier. Have my readers ever heard of Charles Bradley? Honestly I don’t ever recall listening to his music until about a couple of years ago. I really loved his soulfully funk sound. I was devastated to find out that he had died of stomach cancer shortly after I discovered who he was and his music 😢. He was 68.
This man (who I feel in many ways has a striking resemblance to the late Nipsey Russell btw), sung his ass off!! Oh my goodness, when Bradley sung a song, all his emotion emanated from each and every performance. His type of performances are just not seen anymore (relatively speaking). To hear his music, or to see him perform on video, was not only breathtaking at times, it was also refreshing to see real blues music performed like that, then in 2016.
The first album I heard by Bradley, was “Changes (2016).” I think this entire album is awesome to be quite honest. This album is so authentically 70s, that there is absolutely no hint of modern flair I could detect. I think most blues fans would like at least half of the songs on this album. If I were forced to pick a favorite song, I would have to go with “Things We Do For Love.” My goodness. If I didn’t know any better, I would have said this was recorded in the old Motown Studio or something.
There’s another album I think you should check out. It’s called “Black Velvet (2018).” I really liked the song called “Can’t Fight The Feeling.” I haven’t found a whole lot of juicy information on Bradley, which leads me to believe that either Bradley started his musical career late, or he was discovered late. Having said that, I’m kind of insecure as to the actual copyright dates to his songs. Often times when someone dies, the music label often re-releases music of a popular artist, and you wind up with a new copyright/release date. In any event, I think that Bradley’s music is worth exploring if you’re a blues/funk fan. I recommend that you watch his very short, but powerful interview on YouTube. Very humbling.Save an Extra 10% on Guitar Cases and Guitar Gig Bags: Use Code TOURGUITAR
Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces is an extremely rare band. In fact, at this point I’m sure most classic music enthusiast would consider this group obscure. If you’re lucky enough to find any of their physical songs/vinyl, it would most likely be on a compilation (and I do mean IF). However, a UK label called Jazzman Records, released a compilation of their most popular hits for digital streaming, and luckily Spotify has it.
Most, if not all the original band members, including their bandleader Bobby Moore are now deceased. Despite the band’s music not being played at all on mainstream radio or internet streaming, I was please to find that the band still exists and performing. Now that’s what I call longevity! To be honest, I am unclear as to just how many albums they’ve produced, because so little is written about them. But what I can say is that they’ve had one major hit on the R&B Category.
One Major Billboard Hit!
The band’s song “Searching For My Baby,” released in 1966, peaked at #7 on the R&B Charts! Now, I know for a fact this was a popular hit, because I remember hearing this a lot on the radio when I was still just a baby. This very short, 2+ minute song has a groovy rhythm and kicking bass.
The band formed in 1952, and performed a variety of music. I believe they started playing mostly New Orleans style music. Listen to their version of “Cheek To Cheek,” with then bandleader Max Collie. I’ve heard the do some crazy sweet reggae music too. Check out “Return Of The Bullet,” with Rico Rodriquez. Eventually they progressed to performing funk, rock, until finally mostly soul music. I’d like you to check out one last song I think you’ll enjoy. It’s called “What Is That You Got?” This is an amazing song! Lots of rhythm to groove with!10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes clearance.
Today’s topic is, “An Artist’s Magic In The Background.” I guess, unless you’re an actual musician, the average person doesn’t know who Michael Anderson is. Michael has had a couple of R&B hits, one song is called “Take Me I’m Yours (1978),” which unfortunately although it hit #6 on R&B charts, it only got as high as #88 on the Top 100 Billboard. That was a shame because the man can sing. By the way, I think this song would be a perfect for this coming Valentine’s Day.
Henderson Reminds Me So Much Of Ray Parker Jr.
Back in the day, I just couldn’t get over the uncanny resemblance between Henderson and fine ass Ray Parker Jr. I’ve been going crazy trying to find any evidence that Henderson is Parker’s brother. However, I could not find anything, so I guess it’s just a coincidence. But, interestingly enough, Henderson has worked with many artists in the background, and that included Ray Parker Jr.
In addition to Henderson being a talented vocalist (although I think he doesn’t project his voice enough), he’s also an accomplished bass player. As a result, he’s been able to work with lots of very famous people, such as the late Miles Davis, Bob Seger, Phyllis Hyman, and even Adele. The list goes on and on. He is very much sought after.
Probably one of the biggest projects (that I can remember) Henderson has been a part of, is his collaboration with Norman Connors. Henderson was featured on the #4 R&B hit “You Are My Starship (1976).” Another great collaboration was with the legendary Phyllis Hyman, on the song called “Can’t We Fall In Love Again.” The song hit #9 on the R&B charts; but only #57 on the Top 100 Charts in 1981. Great song! Check it out.