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 ...

Soul Serenade: Shirley Brown, “Woman To Woman”

By the time that Shirley Brown came along Stax Records was pretty much finished. The legendary label was collapsing like a house of cards under the weight of a sea of financial problems and government investigations. Brown’s success allowed the label to ...

Soul Serenade: King Floyd, “Groove Me”

Are you still hurting a little bit from your New Year’s Eve celebration? Was it a struggle to get back to work this morning? I have just the tonic for what ails you, and we’re going to travel down to the Crescent ...

Soul Serenade: Claudine Clark – “Party Lights”

Christmas has passed, and I hope it was a wonderful one for you and your family, but there is still one party to go this year. That party will be taking place on New Year’s Eve, which is just a few days ...

Soul Serenade: Darlene Love, “Marshmallow World”

I love the annual showing of It’s A Wonderful Life at this time of the year. It’s become a holiday tradition for me, along with other films like A Christmas Carol (the 1951 version please), and more recently, Polar Express.

What really ...

A Fan’s Notes: Holiday Gift Guide 2013

I know I’m a little late with the guide this year, but there are nine days left until Christmas, which will hopefully give you enough time to pick up some of these things at a (hopefully local) store, or if need be, ...

Soul Serenade: The Flirtations, “Nothing But A Heartache”

The Flirtations got together in 1962 in New York, but they were all from South Carolina. There were the three Pearce sisters, Ernestine, Shirley, and Betty, along with Lestine Johnson. They called themselves the Gypsies at the beginning, and by 1964 they ...

Soul Serenade: Brenda Holloway, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”

It’s time for another installment of “Didja Know”? Last week we covered the almost original version of “Good Lovin'” which was recorded by the Olympics. The Rascals heard their record, recorded their own version, and turned it into a massive hit. This ...

Soul Serenade: The Olympics, “Good Lovin'”

If you are a regular reader of the column you know by know (if you didn’t know already) that Bessie Banks recorded the original version of the Moody Blues hit “Go Now,” and that the Stones’ “Time Is On My Side” was ...

Soul Serenade: Jan Bradley, “Mama Didn’t Lie”

We took a little side trip last week, but today we’re going right back to Chicago, and right back to Chess Records. When last we visited the Windy City it was to learn about the Knight Brothers and their 1965 hit “Temptation ...

Soul Serenade: Mel Carter, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”

Alright, so Mel Carter wasn’t exactly the embodiment of the gritty soul sound we came to expect from singers like Otis Redding or James Carr. Although Carter’s was a more pop-oriented sound, it’s all part of the of the big stew that ...