Friday, November 25, 2011

Anyone Can Have Soul!

In the last couple of years, I've really come to appreciate soul music. The sound of 70's soul just does it for me. It feels really good to relax with music that isn't overbearing and sounds just as good loud, as it does at a soft volume. Recently, I've discovered a few albums that have wiggled their way into my consciousness and have found their way on to my IPod and garner regular listens. 

Never in my life, before a few months ago had I heard of Gil Scott-Heron. I was watching a documentary (Still Bill) about the legendary Bill Withers and Withers wife commented that she had her first date with him at a Scott-Heron show. That got me interested and I found "Pieces Of A Man", one of the 16 studio albums released by this unheralded gem. I chose "Pieces Of A Man" because it had the legendary power to the people anthem,

That pre-rap song doesn't do the rest of the album justice. Scott-Heron tapped into the minds of the poor and hopeless, as well as to his own need to find positives in a world so full of trouble for people who are living at or below the poverty level.  I have to be honest....I've listened to this and I've listened to "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye and with all due respect to the great Marvin Gay, Scott-Heron's album is better. Just listen to "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" and you will realize that this man had a talent that simply didn't get the exposure that it should have. 

Everyone knows that Al Green is a superstar soul, and r&b singer who was on fire in the 70's. But, he can still  tug at your heart and soul today though. A few years ago, Green released "Lay It Down", a new collection of soul music that harkens back to his highly successful "Let's Stay Together" album, but maintains a modern element. The song "Lay It Down" is as good as anything.....yes, anything that Green has ever released. Don't believe me....give it a click!

Some other r&b or soul artists I really enjoy is the aforementioned Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers as well as The Isley Brothers, Sam Cooke, Kool & The Gang, and Otis Redding. Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not mention Beck. Yeah.....Beck. Who knew?

This is a GREAT home made video of Beck's solid soul tune "Debra"....

"I met you, at JC Penny"
"Step inside my Hyundai"
"I wanna get with you, and your sista, I think her name is Debra"

Only Beck can make those words work the way they do!!


  1. Gil Scott Heron posed an incredibly charged dilemma for Americans. Admiring him when he was hot was like admiring the Black Panthers' free lunch programs, or admiring anyone opposed to capital punishment, lol. Even admitting that identification of our problems seems unpatriotic to a crowd who somehow need to see 100% positive feedback or be considered an unpatriotic asshole. It is the reason why persons who take issue with our social criticisms are conveniently and near-universally panned. It is our most childish trait.

  2. Great comments Steve. It is one of our flaws and one of the hardest things to do, to question the status quo and authority. Scott-Heron was just too "militant" I guess. It's a shame he never got his due. His songs mean just as much now, as they should have meant back then.