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 ...

Soul Serenade: The Staple Singers, “Let’s Do It Again”

It’s that time of year again. Beginning on Friday, some of the world’s greatest musicians will descend on Newport for two of the longest running and most prestigious festivals in the world. This weekend the Newport Folk Festival is in town, and ...

Soul Serenade: Major Harris, “Love Won’t Let Me Wait”

Although Major Harris is widely associated with the sweet sound of Philly Soul, he was born into a musical family in Richmond, Virginia in 1947. His grandparents were in vaudeville, his father played guitar, and his mother was the leader of the ...

Soul Serenade: Al Green, “Love And Happiness”

Mabon “Teenie” Hodges died a couple of weeks ago. That name might not be familiar to you, but if you’ve ever listened to one of the great records by Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, or Syl Johson that came out of ...

Soul Serenade: Gerry Goffin, 1939-2014

The world lost a great songwriter last week when Gerry Goffin died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75 years-old at the time of his death. I’m inclined to just shut up and fill this entire page (I could fill ...

Soul Serenade: Eddie Kendricks, “Keep On Truckin'”

For the last few years I have been crossing the bridge to write the column at the Newport Public Library every Wednesday. Today I arrived at the library to find a sign on the door saying that it was “closed for staff ...

A Fan’s Notes: Shelby Lynne, Narrows Center For The Arts

Shelby Lynne is a restless artist. That’s why despite the fact that I’ve seen her perform on a number of occasions, and she’s on my permanent “don’t miss” list, I never have to worry that I’m going to be seeing the same ...

Soul Serenade: Luther Vandross, “Here And Now”

I come here today to praise Luther Ronzoni Vandross, who, despite the somewhat incongruous middle name, was one of the greatest singers of any kind of music that this world has ever known. When he died nine years ago the world suddenly ...

The Vinyl Diaries: Air Supply, “The One that You Love”

Last week, an odd confluence occurred that got me to thinkin’ and, as a result, got me inspired. Within a couple days of one another, several of my friends published work (most of it on this here site) that hit me where ...

Soul Serenade: The Essex, “Easier Said Than Done”

I like to give advice. I feel perfectly comfortable telling people what they should do in any given situation, even though I would never take my own advice. Most of my friends just ignore me at this point, which is exactly what ...

Soul Serenade: The Revelations, Video Debut and Vinyl Giveaway

For the most part this column focuses on the classic soul music of the ’60s and ’70s. While this week’s band draws inspiration from the artists responsible for that music, the Revelations are very much a contemporary band, and one with a ...

Soul Serenade: Hall & Oates, “She’s Gone”

There are several soul music capitals in the United States. Each scene, whether it’s New Orleans, Memphis, or Detroit, has its own sound. There’s one particular city that I focus on quite often in this column and that’s Philadelphia, renowned for the ...

Soul Serenade: Candi Staton, “Young Hearts Run Free”

When I began to research the life and career of Candi Staton for this column I learned that she was best known for her 1970 cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” and her 1976 disco hit, “Young Hearts Run Free.” ...

Soul Serenade: Kool And The Gang, “Jungle Boogie”

At the beginning they were the Jazziacs. That was 50 years ago. Bass player Robert Bell was only 13 years-old when he and his brother Ronald, a sax player, put the band together with some high school friends in Jersey City including ...

Soul Serenade: Ashford & Simpson, “Solid”

Nickolas Ashford met Valerie Simpson at the Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church in 1964. He had come to New York from South Carolina, stopping briefly in Michigan to go to college. He wanted to be a dancer, but it wasn’t happening for ...