Paying tribute to a recently departed soul legend
The Pride of Providence scored a big hit in ’66
A hit for Madeline Bell that was a bigger hit by a Motown supergroup
The Intruders weren’t the biggest but they were the first for Gamble & Huff
One great song, three great versions. Which is your favorite?
“Expressway” started it all for Gamble & Huff
Barbara Mason had an early Philly Soul hit in ’65
Wilson Pickett had a storied career with Atlantic Records in the ’60s.
Even in an era of dance crazes not every one took off
The Intruders were one of the most important groups in soul music history.
Archie Bell & the Drells weren’t shy about telling you where they were from. Their highly influential hit “Tighten Up” was released in 1968.
The O’Jays are best known as a hit-making trio, but they started as a quintet, and had one of their earliest hits as a quartet.
The Three Degrees had been around for more than ten years by the time they hit it big in 1974.
Jerry Butler has had a lot of hits over the course of his illustrious career, but it was a lesser-known 1967 single that found a place in Ken Shane’s heart.
When the conversation turns to great soul singers, Joe Simon’s name is not mentioned nearly enough. Ken Shane makes the case for the legendary hit maker.
Phyllis Hyman’s 1986 hit “Living All Alone” is the subject of this week’s Jheri Curl Fridays column.
In 1982, Teddy Pendergrass was on top of the music world when he performed in London. A few weeks later, a tragic car accident changed everything.
Retro-soul is a musical style in which contemporary artists attempt to recapture the sound and feel of the great soul music of the ’60s and early ’70s. Musical touchstones include the sounds of Motown, Stax, and Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International Records. Among the artists who are purveying this style these days are Ryan Shaw, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, and The Revelations featuring Tre Williams. I would include Joss Stone’s first album, but she’s moved in a more pop-oriented direction since then. Raphael Saadiq and Maxwell are often thought of more often as neo-soul artists (a genre that fuses ’70s soul with hip-hop, jazz, and funk), but there is definitely a retro element in what they do. If pressed, I would have to say that ’60s soul is my favorite kind of music, and by extension I’m also a big fan of retro-soul. So why is it that I can’t get more excited about Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings? I know, I know, everyone else loves them. I found their last album, the …
I love soul music in each and every one of its glorious permutations, so it’s been gratifying for me to listen as a new generation of soul masters has taken the spotlight in the last few years. For me it seemed to start with that first Joss Stone album, but then she seemed to lose the thread as she moved forward. Into her place stepped artists like Sharon Jones, Ryan Shaw, and Eli “Paperboy” Reed, among others. Meanwhile, the great Al Green kept the fire burning, and Raphael Saadiq provided a new soundtrack for the soul revolution. For years I feared that soul music as I knew it was dead, only to have it come roaring back to life. Let’s define terms. Soul music doesn’t employ auto-tuned vocals, electronic beats, or sampled music. It’s played by real singers backed by live bands. It’s not hip-hop, it’s not rap, and it’s not rock. It’s not black, and it’s not white. It’s whatever it is that Marvin Gaye, or the Temptations, or Otis Redding had, and Aretha …
“All the lies, all the truth, all the things that I offer you / All the sights, all the sounds, all the times that you turned me down / Is it my name? / … Why don’t you love me? / Is it my name?” —Todd Rundgren, “Is It My Name?” (from 1973’s A Wizard, a True Star) A few weeks ago, when Jeff Giles asked Popdose’s writers to brainstorm the names of bands and artists who aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet, I said I’d like to write about Daryl Hall & John Oates. Their albums are spotty, and Hall doesn’t seem to have a humble bone in his body, but I’m sick of their hits being called guilty pleasures by people who just aren’t man enough to admit how much they really like them. Hall & Oates should be inducted just to spite hipsters. (Eat it, skinny boys in tight pants.) Then my mind made the leap to Todd Rundgren, the producer of Hall & Oates’s 1974 album War Babies. …
Note: My brother’s visiting from out of town this week, so I’ve got less time than I normally do for blog-type stuff; fortunately, our friend Robert, of the always entertaining Mulberry Panda 96, has returned for his second stab at a Cutouts Gone Wild!, and fans of Philly soul are going to be glad he did. Thanks, Robert! —J Memphis and Detroit have nothing to be ashamed about, but for me, the most exciting soul music came out of Philadelphia in the 1970s, particularly the strings-laden, socially conscious kind produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International Records, home to artists like the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, and Bunny Sigler. (Here’s where you say, “Bunny who?” Here’s where I repeat his name.) Sigler never scored huge crossover hits like those other artists did, but as Epic/Legacy’s retrospective of his years at PIR proves, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. He did have a #22 pop hit in 1967 with “Let the Good Times Roll/Feel So Good” on …