Thursday, 8 November 2012

Playlist: Soul Trip 1970-'74

I've been noticing more and more recently how much good soul music came out between 1970 and 1974 , so i put together a playlist. Below i've gone through my track choices, enjoy!

Opening with a new discovery for me, the Impressions 1973 album Preacher Man, recorded after both Curtis Mayfield and Leroy Hutson exited the band, this is a very good album considering. And the song Find The Way just really stood out.

Minnie Riperton – Reasons
Minnie Riperton has a stunning voice, and provided the vocals to the Chess Records group Rotary Connection. 'Reasons' was taken from another album also from '73  , 'Angels'. This is just a great soul rock tune and a marked departure from her better known downtempo records (Loving You, Inside My Love, Les Fleurs). 

Sly Stone – Family Affair I can't say i'm into everything Sly & Family Stone released but Family Affair is by far and away one of their finest records. The sound on this record is very warm too.

The Staple Singers – If You're Ready (Come Go With Me) - Single Version
Staple Singers were counted as a reference point on Phantom Limbs newest record 'The Pines' (check it out if you get a chance). If You're Ready was a bit of a hit for the country soul singers back in '73. What i like about this is it actually links in quite well to some of the music James Brown was backing around that time, the likes of Marva Whitney and Lyn Collins 1972 song 'Think About It'. Lots of sunshine soul.

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass Jr. – Wake Up Everybody - Single Version
I cheated a bit on this song. It was released in 1975, but recorded the year earlier. A good song of unity, and who doesn't like Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes?

O'JAYS – Back Stabbers
Seminal, funky hit this for the O'Jays via the thriving Philadelphia International label and sampled and re-recorded numerous times, notably by Ronnie Foster, Angie Stone and more recently B.O.B. 

Curtis Mayfield – Give Me Your Love (Love Song)
Curtis Mayfields Superfly album was thanfully released (of course) within this period so it's only right I list my favourite track from the album, Give Me Your Love. All instrumental at the start it's bumpy groove with good percussion, harp play and wah guitar give way to a string orchestra. Very very accomplished and that's before Curtis' fine vocals comes in.

Bobby Bland – Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
A good song for my cities playlist, Bland laments the lack of love in the city and raises a challenge for us urban dwellers. Soul certainly meets rock again in this song though he never quite rocks out, relying instead on his well weathered voice to lift the song.

Gwen McCrae – 90% of Me Is You
As with a few other artists i discovered Gwen McRae via a sample, which in this case was Cassius' 'Feeling For You' from the album '1999'. Other than the hit that spawned that 'All of This Love That I'm Giving', 90% of You is a fine languid journey into soul and a perfect example of what makes this period of time so fruitful. Excellent instrumentation and no corners cut. Some of her other records were a bit more Rnb and discofied such as Funky Sensation so this felt like a good fit.

Stevie Wonder – Look Around
I nearly didn't add Stevie but then I took myself to one side and had a good stern chat with myself. This one's from his 1971 album Where I'm Coming From.

Esther Phillips – Alone Again (Naturally)
Esther Phillips, a troubled genius of a singer, her album Alone Again, Naturally should be more popular so no surprise she forms a big part of this playlist.

Marvin Gaye – God Is Love
Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Marvin marvin marvin.. These two tracks are highlights amongst many from his seminal and political 'What's Going On' (as i write this Obama has just been re-elected!). An artist who gave us a great deal.

Bill Withers – Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?
Even though I own a Greatest Hits collection, I didn't feel it was an authentic appreciation of the legend that is Bill Withers so i bought his debut Still Bill, when i was last in Bristol. Who Is He &What Is He To You is standout.

Roy Ayers – Hummin' In The Sun
8 albums by Roy Ayers sit in my music racks here in London so I couldn't really omit him from this playlist. Hummin' In The Sun was a bit of precursor to Everybody Loves The Sunshine, Ayers laying a big ol kick back groove in '71

Black Sugar – Too Late
Black Sugar aren't that well known but i discovered them recently so i thought it'd only be fair to include some upbeat peruvian funk here.

Kool & The Gang – Summer Madness
What's to be said about this tune that hasn't already been said. If i could discard songs like Ladies Night and Hollywood Swinging i probably would in favour of this slice of instrumental mastery.

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