Favorite Albums Of 2014

I know, I know. List season is over. We’ve moved on to a new year. Ok, so I didn’t get it done in time for some hypothetical deadline. At least I got it done, right? One thing I have to say ...

A Fan’s Notes: The Night Before Christmas

I’ve been posting this on Christmas Eve for the last few years. People seem to enjoy it, so I thought I would share it with you again this year. Consider it my little gift to everyone who has been so supportive ...

Soul Serenade: The Temptations, “My Girl” at 50

I saw the classic Temptations lineup at a local college in 1967. My date was a pretty girl named Mary who took the train all the way from Long Island to New Jersey in order to go to the show with me. ...

Soul Serenade: The Shirelles, “Tonight’s The Night”

There’s a lot of talk about girl groups, and rightfully so. Girl groups made some great music in the ’60s. But if you ever try to journey back to where it all started it’s inevitable that you will run into the Shirelles ...

Soul Serenade: The Contours, “First I Look At The Purse”

Statistics tell us that the economy is improving. The stock market is reaching new highs, lots of jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate is down. Here in Rhode Island however, it’s hard to see things getting better. The state has ...

Soul Serenade: The Chiffons, “One Fine Day”

There are a variety of ways that songs and artists move to the top of the list (yes, there is a list) of potential features for Soul Serenade. Sometimes it can be a simple as hearing the great opening riff of a ...

Soul Serenade: Freddie Scott, “Are You Lonely For Me”

For my last column from New Jersey last week I chose to recognize my time there by featuring Madeline Bell, who is a native of Newark, the state’s largest city. Now that I’m back in Rhode Island it only seems fair to ...

Soul Serenade: Jerry Butler, “A Brand New Me”

I’m going to Philadelphia tomorrow. It’s exciting for me, so exciting that I’m writing the column a day early so that I can go. I haven’t been there since I moved to Rhode Island, which is closing in on four years ago ...

Soul Serenade: Johnnie Taylor, “Steal Away”

A little over a year ago I wrote about Jimmy Hughes who recorded a single called “Steal Away” in 1964. It turned out to be a very important record. Not only was it a Top 20 hit on the Pop chart, it ...

Soul Serenade: Ohio Players, “Love Rollercoaster”

I’ve never been much of a roller coaster fan. To be honest, even though I know that a lot of people love the ride, I don’t get the appeal. The same goes for any of those rides that are fast and high. ...

Soul Serenade: George McCrae, “Rock Your Baby”

Henry Stone died recently. If you don’t know who Henry Stone was, suffice to say that he was one of the last of the great record men. In some quarters he was known as the King of Independent Records. In the ’70s ...

Soul Serenade: Shorty Long, “Function At The Junction”

He was born Frederick Earl Long in 1940, but given the fact that he rose to just a little bit over five feet tall, the “Shorty” moniker seemed to fit perfectly. Although he got his musical education from legends like Alvin “Shine” ...

Soul Serenade: Bettye Swann, “Make Me Yours”

As the noted orator Snoop Doog once said “with my mind on my money and my money on my mind.” Money must have been on Betty Jean Champion’s mind when she was a kid in Arcadia, Louisiana and it took on a ...

Soul Serenade: Patti Drew, “Tell Him”

I’ve been writing the Soul Serenade column for over four years now. There have been well over 200 installments during that time. The column doesn’t have a vast readership, it’s not likely to ever go viral, but there is a solid core ...

Soul Serenade: L.C. Cooke, “Put Me Down Easy”

Everybody loves Sam Cooke, right? So why doesn’t everybody love, or even know about Sam’s younger brother L.C. Cooke? After all, L.C. had a great voice of his own, and recorded some great songs for Sam’s SAR label. The explanation seems simple, ...

A Fan’s Notes: Newport Jazz Festival 2014

Over the course of three days last week my response to the jazz is dead proclamation changed from “oh really, that’s a shame,” to “you’ve got to be kidding, music this vital will never die.” I want to say at the outset ...

Soul Serenade: The Dramatics, “In The Rain”

Two back-to-back weekends of incredible music have left me feeling exhilarated, emotional, and exhausted. It began with the Newport Folk Festival, followed by last weekend’s 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. You may have already seen my Folk Festival coverage, and ...

A Fan’s Notes: The Bob Gaudio Interview

 

 

 

 

In conjunction with this interview, one very fortunate reader is going to win a treasure trove of Four Seasons and Four Seasons-related music. The prize package includes:

A Fan’s Notes: Newport Folk Festival 2014

I’ve had my doubts about the Newport Folk Festival over the last few years. It was mostly about me, and the strong feeling that the festival had passed me by as it seemed to be programmed for a younger crowd. That and ...

Soul Serenade: Dr. John, “Right Place Wrong Time”

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m exhausted. Last weekend’s Newport Folk Festival was a whirlwind of great music, but the festival also requires a lot of moving around from stage to stage if you’re going to try to experience the ...