This is Old Soul Music, a blog dedicated to deep soul gem digging. Old Soul Music is a counterpart to She Thinks I Still Care, a traditional Country & Western music blog.
HOW TO USE THIS BLOG: Click the "Play" button at the bottom right, open new tab, go on about your business. Everything will be okay.
Download a Truth & Soul podcast for free. Listening now, so far so good! From the description:
An old t&s podcast from the man the myth Jeff “Chairman” Mao. Still as good today as the first day he sent it in. We will be putting up the old episodes that got taken down along with a ton of new episodes.
Here is my review of the 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals, which i saw last night.
Bono shut your stupid face up, you seriously ruin everything.
The film should have been called Fame Studios And That Other One Later On, not Muscle Shoals. It was OK. I looked around the audience before liftoff and it was a small crowd of baby boomers, naturally. I think it’s the type of film that isn’t designed to get deep or be thorough in its historical perspective. It’s designed so that the audience walks away with a superficial but well-intentioned enhancement of their prior knowledge, combined with the stirred spirit of reliving some great moments of popular music. I learned some things I didn’t know, which I appreciated. And watching interviews with great soul singers is always great. It won’t blow your mind, but it was entertaining enough.
Millie Jackson - (If loving you is wrong) I don’t want to be right (Spring, 1974)
I have a theory about this song. Or, rather, I have a theory about Lee Fields’ “It’s all over (but the crying)”. I’d be willing to wager that Fields definitely had Jackson’s 1974 release “Caught Up" in mind while writing that song as well as the rest of the material on his 2012 release "Faithful Man”. Lee was active in 1974, known for his raw, screeching tenor. Caught Up had several charting hits and is well-liked by soul fans, so it’s very possible that Lee knew this record. Definitely the song, it had been done by so many great singers.
The reason why I’m so compelled to suggest ties between the two records is for two primary reasons. First, Fields’ “It’s all over…” has several melodic, harmonic and rhythmic components that are similar to Millie’s “If loving you..”. Follow the form and development of each song. Listen to the delivery of her gritty alto. They’re in the same key. Those string parts. In true 4/4 soul ballad form they play a lot on the plagal (i-iv) chord progression, as well as the passing bassline (1-b7-b6-4).
Still not convinced?
How about this: Track 06 on the record is entitled “It’s all over but the shouting”. Granted, the roots of that song likely go back to the 40s with Patty Andrews singing the torch song “It’s all over but the memories,” and many nonrelated versions have been written across many genres with similar sentiment but different lyrics. Still though, it’s convincing to me and I like to think about the relationships between artists, listeners, and artists as listeners.
NOTE: This track ends abruptly because it’s a part of a 3-track epic medley. I highly recommend listening to both albums, they’re heartbreaking, intense, and exceptionally well-written. You can find them on spotify.
Mary McCreary - Soothe Me (Shelter, 1974)
What an unrelenting onslaught of a piece. Will someone please soothe her? Tender introduction, short development section then this endlessly building passing chord progression cascading onto itself; featuring violin solos, flamenco guitar, a support vocal track en espanol, a small choir. Pretty nuts.
Sam Dees - What’s It Gonna Be (Atlantic, 1975)
A very lovely Mayfield’esque arrangement accompanies this deep and moody mid-tempo shuffle. Fell in love with it this morning and have been playing it on repeat all day.
Thinking about making a “Best Of Old Soul Music” mixtape. You all interested?
This is probably a or the future of the Numero Group. Digging up old demos and singles from 80s electro funk artists. Cool as hell, man.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what the nature of “good” work is. The Numero Group does good work. There’s a word artists use for what happens to your body when you listen to music and it gives you chills, makes your arm hair stand on end, or you well up with sudden sadness or joy. Frisson. This is that emotion.
Eddie Ray - You Are Mine
This was oldsoulmusic's first post. This performance still destroys me. It's a recording during a rehearsal of a song never published. I heard it on the Numero Group's “Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label”.
Repost. This song consistently kills me.
Johnny Adams - Reconsider Me
A repentant lover comes back to the one he hurt. The melisma on “Oh” right before the first “Reconsider Me” punches me right in the gut. This is Country Soul.
"Here at your door
like a sparrow with a broken wing
who’s come back to beg you…
ooh reconsider me.”
Hear your faithful blog owner’s soul band Skinny Ricky & The Casual Encounters perform an in-studio performance plus interview at the National Music Sanctuary in Monterey, CA. We even talk about oldsoulmusic a little bit. Cheers, Ricky
Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr - A World without You (Capsoul, 1972)
The most unremarkable band name ever. A brilliant song nonetheless. I’ll tell you musically what’s happening. The bass line is essentially the bass line to the Four Tops song "Burnadette". The bass line can be described as a ground bass, or ostinato. That same 1-b7-b6-5 bass line has been used literally since the beginning of Western music in the Medieval age. But this song has so much spirit and is so short-lived. I don’t know who is who but it’s super fun and heartbreaking. Cheers.
Bobby “Blue” Bland - Cry, Cry, Cry
RIP Bobby “Blue” Bland.
Mr. Bland was one of the reasons why I got into soul music. His record “Two Steps From The Blues” had a really big impact on me. I view it, in a historical sense, as a true pivot album; perfectly bridging Blues, R&B, and soul. In 1960, no less. A time when soul music was in its very early stages. He had all of the elements of a true soul singer: melismata that would utterly defeat you. Melismata that singers, for generations, tried to emulate. A scream that would send chills up your spine and make your hair stand on end. Ballads that would leave you in a pool on the ground. I stood over his gold star embedded in the sidewalk on Beale Street in Memphis and silently had a moment to myself, giving respect and thanks. You will be missed, sir.
square-wax asked: Not a question, but a response to the Dee Dee Warwick mystery. I happen to have a copy of Foolish Fool, but there is no mention of a specific guitarist (unless I'm not recognizing anyone) in the liner notes. Here's the details from the back cover... Arranged by Rene Hall/Technical Advisor: Buddy Smith/Produced by: Ed Townsend. Doubt that helped at all. Cheers!
Thanks, square-wax. As I suspected, and is often the case, the musicians are noncredited session players. Such is the way the industry goes. Thanks!
Anonymous asked: Hi I asked the question about the guitarist on the Foolish Fool record. I have been looking too and read something about Keith Richards. I don't think that could be him, do you?
I think you may be referencing this article, which describes the guitarist’s style as “Keith Richards-esque”. I think it’s unlikely that in 1969 Keith was doing anything but being a rock & roll superstar. It’s funny to me that the writer would say that the Foolish Fool guitarist was doing something like Keith Richards, when all Keith Richards ever did was emulate Blues, R&B and Soul guitarists.
Anonymous asked: who played the guitar on dee dee warwick's foolish fool single
Did some digging around, and unfortunately I could not determine who played guitar on that excellent Dee Dee Warwick track. What I do know is that it was written and produced by the venerable Ed Townsend at Mercury records in 1969, and if it’s the house band vetted by Townsend, that could point you in the right direction. Tried to find a high res photo of the LP hoping they’d list the performers, but I didn’t find one. Anyone have the LP and wanna help out on this?
Also if you like the writing and production style of that song, check out this Thelma Jones track called “Gotta Find A Way”. Kills me!
The Ambassadors - Ain’t Got The Love (Arctic, 1969)
Can’t get enough of this groove and those backup parts. Also, this song’s kind of about being a dick. But while sounding so good.
On second thought, perhaps he’s simply being brutally honest with himself - that he’s a jerk and a player and he’s telling the listener exactly his romantic habits, however harsh they may seem. Though the lines are delivered confidently, almost with pride, I can’t help but indulge a certain self-hatred with himself. Maybe this is the confession that makes him turn around and be a better man. I dunno. Maybe he’s just an asshole.
Been a while since a post. I’m tryin!