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  • 0 What is Southern Soul? Part Two

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/18/2006

    Here are highlights from a much longer article written by Michael F. Patterson: "The Problem with Southern Soul," from Frost Illustrated, Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is part two of Michael's comments... ---------- "Now we get to southern soul. Despite arguments to the contrary, that's a term I've been hearing since the 1960s. I even picked up an album from about 30 years ago recently that had the term in the liner notes. That music sold. The "southern" label didn't keep jocks or hungry customers away. In fact, it probably guided a lot of folks to other music from the region. After all, there was a belief that if it was from Memphis or Muscle Shoals and, later, Jackson, Mississippi., it had to be good stuff, because the people there were producing only the best. Southern soul was something sought by discerning listeners. In recent months, however, I've gotten calls from friends in the business who say the southern soul label is now the kiss of death. Many DJs won't play it, they say, if it's called southern soul. Some radio syndicates say flat out "no" to programming so-called (new) southern soul. Is it the label that's holding the music back? Be honest with yourself. How many of these records would even garner a second hearing when placed next to greats like Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas, Joe Simon and others who made "southern soul" a sound of which the community could be proud? There's nothing wrong with the southern soul label. There is something wrong with a lot of the music some folks are trying to pass off today as southern soul. That's the problem." ---------- Michael makes some interesting points. This is not a new debate. I'll offer this - the phenomena of marketing music by region in the USA is pretty much long over, with one exception - hip hop. It's really hard to find regional hits any more in any genre. I don't think the discrimination against "southern soul" exists as much as the tendency of certain people not to embrace certain artists with an R&B style that is closer to the blues than to rhythm-soul. Who are these artists we are talking about? Michael mentioned a few. Others are folks like Bobby Bland, Dorothy Moore, Shirley Brown, Little Milton, and the Z. Z. Hill's of the world. "Southern soul" doesn't have a problem, it's a timeless style, part of the broader spectrum of classic R&B music. Yes, it's different from today's dominant popular style, but when did we ever have an easy time celebrating cross-cultural musical differences? What is Southern Soul Part One Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Number One R&B Songs Rescue May Days

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/18/2006

    With Summer just weeks away, May flowers are the backdrop for some wacky graduations, wonderful weddings, and outdoor activities filled with fun, sunshine, and music. Your May memories surely bring to mind a song or two that drop you into some unforgettable circumstances. Hopefully, none of the following songs remind you of uncomfortable situations. People we?re involved with sometimes have what I call ?baggage relationship songs? that upset them. The ?baggage relationship song? I relate to the most is ?Always and Forever,? as I once had a female friend who demanded that the radio be shut off ?immediately? if the Heatwave song started playing, and she?d turn it off every time! I never asked for the gory details, and she never "spilled the beans." If any of the hits below are your ?baggage relationship songs,? you?d better run for cover. The good news is that all of these 15 hits were #1 songs in the month of May. Can you guess the years? Jot down your guesses. "Boogie Fever" The Sylvers "Candy Girl" New Edition "I Got The Feelin'" James Brown "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More" Barry White "Jimmy Mack" Martha & The Vandellas "Never Can Say Goodbye" Jackson 5 "On My Own" Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald "Reunited" Peaches & Herb "Shining Star" Earth, Wind, & Fire "Sir Duke" Stevie Wonder "Soldier Boy" The Shirelles "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" Roberta Flack "There's Nothing Better Than Love" Luther Vandross "Turn Back The Hands of Time" Tyrone Davis "When A Man Loves A Woman" Percy Sledge The answers are below, but before you peak, six of these songs were #1 pop hits, all of the rest were #1 R&B hits. Which six songs were #1 pop hits? Four hints: One of the groups appeared on American Bandstand to sing "Dedicated to the One I Love," and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." With the feel of the blues, one song is an all time soul classic, #1 pop and #1 R&B One mellow song stayed at #1 for six weeks The music of one artist is currently featured in a Broadway play. Here are the six #1 pop hits: "Soldier Boy" The Shirelles "When A Man Loves A Woman" Percy Sledge "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" Roberta Flack "Shining Star" Earth, Wind, & Fire "Boogie Fever" The Sylvers "Sir Duke" Stevie Wonder If you got three out of six right, you get an "A." Here are the years associated with our #1 songs, in the merry month of May...   1962 "Soldier Boy" The Shirelles 1966 "When A Man Loves A Woman" Percy Sledge 1967 "Jimmy Mack" Martha & The Vandellas 1968 "I Got The Feelin'" James Brown 1970 "Turn Back The Hands of Time" Tyrone Davis 1971 "Never Can Say Goodbye" Jackson 5 1972 "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" Roberta Flack 1973 "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More" Barry White 1975 "Shining Star" Earth, Wind, & Fire 1976 "Boogie Fever" The Sylvers 1977 "Sir Duke" Stevie Wonder 1979 "Reunited" Peaches & Herb 1983 "Candy Girl" New Edition 1986 "On My Own" Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald 1987 "There's Nothing Better Than Love" Luther Vandross   Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 What is Southern Soul? Part One

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/12/2006

    Here are highlights from a much longer article, written by Michael F. Patterson: "The Problem with Southern Soul," from Frost Illustrated, Fort Wayne, Indiana... ---------- "For some time, I've heard the debate over the use of the term "southern soul" to classify a particular genre of music. Much of the controversy around the term seems based on the belief that calling this style of music "southern" soul has hurt it with regard to airplay. This occurs particularly in the North where disk jockeys argue about the term and seem to imply that it's not their music - just the music of southern folks. Furthermore, some seem to think the regional classification of music is a relatively recent phenomenon. Truth be told, the regional classification of music is nothing new. There have long been distinctions, even if blurred, for example, between Delta blues and Chicago blues. What became known as the Chicago sound actually grew out of the work of masters from down in the Delta such as Muddy Waters, meaning it can be tricky determining what makes a certain regional style. Still, the music changed in the urban environment and evolved into something undeniably related, yet different. Jazz aficionados can speak for hours about the differences between traditional East coast jazz and West coast jazz, while country fans can tell you the difference between the classic Nashville sound and the Bakersfield sound. No one can deny the very distinct stylistic differences between southern rock, the San Francisco sound, and the blue collar rock of the Midwest. Today, any kid who knows anything about rap can tell you the difference between an East coast rapper, a West coast rapper, and the southern crunk sound. In the '60s, it definitely was easy to tell the difference between soul music from the South, the Motown sound, and the sounds of Philadelphia. Berry Gordy let it be known that what was happening in Detroit was something different from what was happening at Stax and Atlantic. The music of the famed Funk Brothers didn't sound like the classic Muscle Shoals studio wizards. And, Gamble and Huff built an empire based on setting their lushly orchestrated soul apart from everyone else. Records from all three regions burned up the charts all over the country and around the world. No company's records were limited by their widely acknowledged regional origins. Those records sold because they were good records - the best of their genre. As Duke Ellington said, there are two kinds of music, good music, and bad music. Most times, good music sells, bad music doesn't. (Now, that's another subject that gets complicated, but that's a discussion for different day.) Now we get to southern soul..." ---------- To be continued in What is Southern Soul? part two, coming next time. What is Southern Soul Part Two Previous Post | Next Post

  • 2 Great Song Lyrics that Touch Your Soul

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/02/2006

    Great song lyrics and great poetry have one thing in common. They both touch your soul. Listening to the radio recently, I heard a couple of masterpieces, and was struck by the power of the lyrics. Linda Creed and Michael Masser, writers of the "Greatest Love of All," communicate a message just as relevant today as when they wrote the song. As I heard the George Benson and Whitney Houston versions play back-to-back, I focused on the deep meaning of the words... I believe the children are our future Teach them well And let them lead the way Show them all the beauty They possess inside Give them a sense of pride To make it easier Let the children's laughter Remind us how we used to be   Everybody's searching for a hero People need someone to look up to I never found anyone Who fulfilled my needs A lonely place to be So I learned to depend on me.   I decided long ago Never to walk in anyone's shadow If I fail, if I succeed At least I lived as I believe No matter what they take from me They can't take away my dignity   Because the greatest love of all Was happening to me I found the greatest love of all Inside of me The greatest love of all Is easy to achieve Learning to love yourself Is the greatest love of all   I believe the children are our future Teach them well And let them lead the way Show them all the beauty They possess inside Give them a sense of pride To make it easier Let the children's laughter Remind us how we used to be   I decided long ago Never to walk in anyone's shadow If I fail, if I succeed At least I lived as I believe. No matter what they take from me They can't take away my dignity   Because the greatest love of all Was happening to me I found the greatest love of all Inside of me The greatest love of all Is easy to achieve Learning to love yourself Is the greatest love of all   And If by chance that special place That you've been dreaming of Leads you to a lonely place Find your strength in love   The "Greatest Love of All" was originally featured in the 1977 autobiographical movie about Muhammad Ali. Now, the 2nd song... Bob Dylan once called William "Smokey" Robinson the greatest living poet of our time. We know why, as the images of "I'll Try Something New," written by Smokey, offer some creative "woman pleasing fantasies," guys dream up that the ladies love to hear... I'll Try Something New wrtten by William "Smokey" Robinson   I will build you a castle with a tower so high It reaches the moon I'll gather melodies from birdies that fly And compose you a tune Give you lovin' warm as Mama's oven And if that don't do Then I'll try something new   I will take you away with me as far as I can To Venus or Mars There we will love with your hand in my hand You'll be queen of the stars And every day we can play on the Milky Way And if that don't do Then I'll try something new   I will bring you a flower from the floor of the sea To wear in your hair I'll do anything and everything to keep you happy Girl to show you that I care I'll pretend I'm jealous of all the fellas And if that don't do Then I'll try something new   I'll take the stars and count 'em and move a mountain And if that don't do I'll try something new On the moon above it's you that I love If it don't do I'm gonna try something new   Oh well, if at first I don't succeed try again is what I'll do Always trying something else Always trying something that is new These lyrics should inspire writers young and old, that the "quality of the craft" of song writing still matters. Previous Post | Next Post

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