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 ...

Soul Serenade: The Jive Five, “My True Story”

This is the 200th installment of my Soul Serenade column for Popdose. I tried and tried to think of some clever way to celebrate the occasion, but in the end I decided that a gimmick is not what I need. Besides, my ...

Soul Serenade: The Parliaments, “(I Wanna) Testify”

They’re from New Jersey. Me too, at least originally. In fact, the town the Parliaments called home is just a few minutes away from where I lived right before I moved to Rhode Island three years ago. It’s always fun to go ...

Soul Serenade: Barbara Mason, “Yes, I’m Ready”

Have you seen that recent Geico Gecko commercial where the Gecko is in South Philly? He’s standing at the corner of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue, which just happens to be the holy land for cheesesteak lovers. On on side of the ...

Soul Serenade: Edwin Starr, “Twenty-Five Miles”

There is no doubt that Edwin Starr is most well known for his powerful 1970 smash “War.” If he had never had another hit, his legacy as an artist would have been assured. “War” was not Starr’s only hit however, or even ...

Soul Serenade: Wilson Pickett, “Hey Jude”

Unless you’ve been off terraforming a planet in a distant galaxy, and thus out of the communications reach of earth, you’ve probably heard a little something about the Beatles recently. The celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s arrival in ...

Soul Serenade: Jean Knight, “Mr. Big Stuff”

Another day, another snow storm here in Rhode Island. I usually like to leave my little island community on Wednesdays and head across the big bridge to write my column at the Newport Library. Today the snow is piled up outside the ...

Soul Serenade: Marvin Gaye, “Got To Give It Up”

In my ongoing effort to stay warm during this cold winter I’m featuring one of the hottest tracks of the 1970’s this week.

If you were around in those days, you know that in the late ’70s disco was all. Everyone, from ...