It’s not impossible to sell records devoid of soul. You can make quite a lucrative career without it.
In fact, soulless music seems to be much in demand – or at least that’s what the gatekeepers lead us to believe.
Have You noticed that No One sweats on the big stages anymore or makes those ugly “I’m in intense pleasurable anguish because the funk is hitting me very, very hard right now” looks? And when was the last time You bobbed your neck so hard to a new groove, you needed a sedative?
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a quarter of a century since Chuck D asked the question everyone was pondering, “Who Stole The Soul?” and with the exception of a few Indie EntreMusicians like Frank McComb, Marlon Saunders or Martha Redbone, no artist of major label status has returned it.
Now I’m not trying to split hairs about this. There’s been slick, cool, hype and some funky tunes that have hit pay dirt, but the overwhelming majority have lacked the greasy essence of in yo’ face emotion that songs, of any genre (except Lawrence Welk) used to require.
I was listening to Jackie Wilson’s “Doggin’ Me Around” this morning. Although the song is a meaningful ballad of a love turned stone cold, clearly intended for a pop audience, his adding that mammoth “Yeeaaaaaaaaaah” made his point last longer! The funk nasty Wurlitzer piano intro that coaxed a tender young Michael into his “I Got This” crooning on “Who’s Lovin’ You” drips with more soul than James Brown allowed and we won’t even get into his mighty story!
Smokey Robinson (who penned “Who’s Lovin’ You”) also beat the smash out of the soul bone with “You Really Got A Hold On Me.” I could go on, but you get the point…I Hope.
Again, there IS Music out there splashing grits and gravy, but you have to hunt for it. It used to be center stage!
I believe we can turn it around. Calling All EntreMusicians!!
Below, I’ve placed 25 albums I’ve been digging on lately. It seems I can’t get these out of the CD player once I put ’em in. They are mostly jazz, but they ALL Got Soul!
In No Particular Order:
Bob James – Grand Piano Canyon
The Crusaders – Chain Reaction
Herbie Hancock – The New Standard
Michael Brecker – Wide Angles
Earth, Wind & Fire – Spirit
Dave Holland Quintet – Prime Directive
Traut/Rodby – The Duo Life
Wilton Felder – We All Have A Star
Pleasure – Future Now
Foley – Directions in Music
Stevie Wonder – Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Phillip K Jones II – Sticology
Pat Metheney Band – The Road to You
Kirk Whalum – Into My Soul
Bernie Worrell – All The Woo In The World
The Eagles – Greatest Hits Volume 2
Ernie Isley – High Wire
Donald Fagan – Kamakiriad
Parliament – Chocolate City
Paul Simon – Graceland
Billy Barber – Lighthouse
John Pattitucci – Sketchbook
Jim Couchenour – Quiet Canvas II
SounDoctrine – Inspire
Feel Free to Send YOUR List – Let’s Trade Notes! I might do 25 More Next Week!