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Kathleen Loves Music

Archive for the ‘Soul music’


The Impressions.

May 17th, 2008


The Impressions > We’re a Winner

It doesn’t take much to get me in an impressionistic mood, so our friend Steve Woolf’s photo and title moved me there today.

Was Curtis Mayfield the most impressive singer/songwriter of his day? Of his genre? Probably. And it’s probably why it took me so long to pick a single to feature here. I ended up with We’re a Winner because aside from being a favorite I seem to remember it being a core sample for something from the Space Jam soundtrack, so I thought some of the older young folk reading might recognize it.

Fred

Joan Osborne > How Sweet It Is

January 28th, 2008

Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne > How Sweet It Is

Joan Osborne never quite registered on my radar. She was a wonderful singer who sang a hit I liked (the bluesy video for “One of Us” was great) and she was one of the modern day highlights of The Funk Brothers’ Standing in the Shadows of Motown, but nothing really made her break through for me. In fact, I’ve been meaning to post this CD since I started this blog, but somehow nothing compelled me to complete the thought.

One day a few years ago I was out having a business breakfast and in the background there was a song playing that had a familiar feeling, but I knew I didn’t know it at all. I never pay attention to the words but I wanted to know about the track and the lyric “how sweet it is” kept repeating. I knew it wasn’t the Marvin Gaye song, but [Read more…]

K.C. & the Sunshine Band

June 25th, 2007

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KC & The Sunshine Band > Keep It Comin’ Love
KC & The Sunshine Band > I’m Your Boogie Man

OK, go ahead and laugh. I love K.C. & The Sunshine Band. Why? Because they were one of the great Southern funk bands. Really.

I never saw the band in the flesh until the 90s (by which time they were a pale nostalgia act playing a Nick-at-Nite party) but on television they were a revelation. Like everyone else, I’d dismissed them as a pop disco band. But watching them focused me on the band who grooved as hard as anyone I’d ever seen including James Brown and Kool & the Gang. A white rhythm section & African-American horns it turned out they were among the studio musicians who’d backed Betty Wright, George & Gwen McCrae, and lots of others in TK Records‘ Florida heyday. Richard Finch and Henry Casey (K.C.) wrote material for all of them, including [Read more…]

Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes featuring Teddy Pendergrass.

May 21st, 2007

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Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes > The Love I Lost

If you think you know this song because it was a ubiquitously enormous hit, listen again. The hit was “The Love I Lost Part 1” and this one is the whole six minute version.

So what difference does it make?

Well, I’d pretty much forgotten myself until I heard it again on satellite radio the other day. This record was at the height of HM&TBN’s tenure at Philadelphia Intl. with Gamble & Huff and when Teddy Pendergrass was at the height of his powers. And what heights they were.

Teddy was one of the great improvisers of all time. You can hear it about halfway through this record. Teddy starts working over the rhythm section and the repeated vocal choruses like it’s the last time he’s going to sing again. And while he’s doing it he takes us to church (as Dan Meth mentioned to me today) and teaches us [Read more…]

Fred Wesley & the J.B.s

April 24th, 2007

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Fred Wesley & the J.B.’s > Doin’ It To Death (full version)

Never was a song so aptly named. (Put it on a loop, play it all day, and I guarantee the result.)

Though the official assignation was “Fred Wesley & the J.B.s”, they could have just as easily been “Maceo & the Macks”, “The Last Word”, or just plain (not vanilla) “The J.B.s“, all essentially the later instrumental recordings of James Brown. James was in such demand twenty years into his career that the market just couldn’t absorb yet more singles, so he just kept releasing them under whatever name made sense that day.

This single just seems like a JB party from start to finish. From the opening “Hit it!” to “We’re gonna have a funky good time” through “We’re going to take you highhhhhhherrrr” everyone sounds like they just showed up, hit the deep groove and kept going all night. The fade [Read more…]

Lester Bowie channels JB.

January 3rd, 2007

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Lester Bowie > Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

What I completely missed when I stopped listening to the avant-garde in jazz in the late 70s was Lester Bowie’s sense of humor. And the fact that as members of the same generation we probably liked the same breadth of music (after all, he was married at one time to Fontella Bass).

So when Lester died several years ago and I heard this track on the radio I was bowled over and went out and bought every one of Lester’s solo CDs. I already had a lot of his Art Ensemble of Chicago recordings, but I chased these like they were the Holy Grail. Sure he’s progressive, but he’s also funky, he’s funny, he’s serious.
[Read more…]

Aaron Neville.

October 15th, 2006

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Aaron Neville > This Is My Story/We Belong Together

It was bound to happen. Baby boomers have heard their favorite songs on the radio so darn much they’re searching for newer, fresher versions. Being ahead of the curve as usual, I started my quest about 20 years ago with this fabulous EP of doo-wop covers by the original he-could-sing-the-phonebook guy Aaron Neville.

It was hard to pick the best of the five original tracks (and there are four bonus tracks on the CD reissue) –I really feel like posting all of them– so I gave you a two-fer medley (originally by Gene & Eunice and Robert & Johnny). If you don’t already know Aaron maybe you’ll get the impulse to buy lots more of his stuff. Even the dross is worth it.

Fred
[Read more…]