Category Archives: Soul

Raphael Saadiq – Good Man (2011)

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“I’m a good man, food’s on the table, working two jobs/Ready willing and able check your name.” The vocals of Taura Stinson kick off this soulful track before the lonesome Raphael Saadiq questions his woman’s betrayal. His sound is reminiscent of Isaac Hayes. Have a great weekend.

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Alicia Keys – If I Ain’t Got You (2003)

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Alicia Keys gets one mention on my blog and the next thing you see is her feature on a sacred Friday. But the single ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ is worth it, in all its Stevie Wonder-like glory. The track featured on her modestly titled album The Diary Of Alicia Keys. This was R&B with some Alicia neo-soul.

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Michael Kiwanuka – Cold Little Heart (2016)

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‘Cold Little Heart’ is the opening track off Michael Kiwanuka’s second album Love & Hate. Difficult to pigeonhole, unless you have my evident skills….  orchestral, psychedelic, funk rock. Very cool, whatever.

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Dornik – God Knows (2017)

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Dornik is back, two years after the release of his well-received, self-titled debut. The evolution from Jessie Ware’s touring drummer to standalone R&B star has been so startling that his arty sound has been compared to that of Frank Ocean, Miguel and Raury. With ‘God Knows’, I am thinking more Croydon’s answer to Anderson .Paak. Long may it continue.

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Daryl Hall & John Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (1981)

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Well, I will do Hall & Oates the justice of posting their 1981 single ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’ and not giving into my tendency to reach for De La Soul’s sample ‘Say No Go’. Give these blue-eyed soul boys credit, where credit is due. Michael Jackson once confessed that the song heavily influenced his delivery of ‘Billie Jean’.

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Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer (1968)

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In 1968, Aretha Franklin was at one of her early peaks. The Bacharach & David-penned song ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ was the second track on Aretha Now, the album pressed by Atlantic Records. Aretha came up with the arrangement,for a song that had been a hit for Dionne Warwick the year before. Bacharach later said that he liked Aretha’s version the best. As for the album, the first three songs were ‘Think’, ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and ‘See Saw’. Not too shoddy, then.

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9 of the best – soul sounds

This is going to need some further curatorship over the next few days, but as a starter for 9:

Martha & The Vandellas – Heatwave (1963)

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

Otis Redding – Try A Little Tenderness (1966)

The Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There (1966)

Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher (1967)

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967)

Gladys Knight & The Pips – No One Could Love You More (1971)

Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine (1971)

Shuggie Otis – Aht Uh Mi Hed (1974)

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Honourable mentions also go to: Bobby Hebb for ‘Sunny’ (1966); Stevie Wonder for ‘I Don’t Know Why’ (1968); Aretha Franklin for ‘I Say A Little Prayer‘ (1968); Isaac Hayes for ‘Walk On By’ (1969); Freda Payne ‘Band Of Gold’ (1970); The Five Stairsteps for  ‘O-o-h Child’ (1970); Timmy Thomas for ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ (1972); The Isley Brothers for ‘Work To Do’ (1972); Al Green for  ‘I’m Still In Love With You’ (1972); Alice Clark for ‘Never Did I Stop Loving You’ (1972); The O’Jays for ‘Back Stabbers’ (1972); Sly for  ‘If You Want Me To Stay’ (1973); and Love Unlimited for ‘Move Me No Mountain’ (1974); Minnie Riperton for ‘Inside My Love’ (1975); Marvin Gaye for ‘I Want You’ (1976) and many others.

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Al Green – I’m Still In Love With You (1972)

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‘I’m Still in Love with You’ is the title track off Al Green’s fifth studio album, released in October 1972. Both the song and the album were produced by Willie Mitchell. The combination was deep, complex and soulful. Next week, I will feature a single sound before a summer hiatus over August. It better be a good one. Have a great weekend.

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Delegation ‎- Oh Honey (1976)

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As I start to think about the soundtrack to summer, I bring you the lounging groove of Delegation. Ricky Bailey, Ray Patterson, Len Coley were doing their thing at the tail end of the 1970s. They never surpassed the magic of ‘Oh Honey’, which deftly cutting a path between the dominant sounds of Earth Wind & Fire and Fleetwood Mac. On YouTube, I feature Majestic Casuals’s suitably named Poolside Edit. Have a great weekend.

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Clarence Carter – Patches (1970)

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He’s had a long career, but I am not too familiar with Clarence Carter’s canon. However, the title track off his 1970 album Patches is a classic. Have a great weekend.

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William DeVaughn ‎- Be Thankful For What You Got (1974)

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Massive Attack gave a second life to this song in 1991 when they covered it for their seminal album Blue Lines. ‘Be Thankful For What You Got’ was a originally released by D.C.-born soul singer William Edward DeVaughn Jr. It cuts a beautifully fine line between jazz funk and soul. Have a great weekend.

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Paolo Nutini – Candy (2009)

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Singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini’s sophomore effort, Sunny Side Up, is a relatively easy listening affair. However, within it are some standout moments.  The single ‘Candy’ is full of the type of blue-eyed soul rock that fans of Van Morrison and John Martyn will appreciate. “I’m a heartless man at worst, babe/And a helpless one at best.”

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Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill (2009)

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The haunting sound of Melody Gardot. For her second studio album, Gardot mined a dark piano jazz style, and no more so than on the title track. Critics’ references to a blue-eyed Nina Simone are very complimentary, but not that unfathomable. My One and Only Thrill was released on the Verve label in 2009.

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Childhood – Californian Light (2017)

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The last time I heard Childhood, I am sure they were part of the psych-rock renaissance. No more, if ‘Californian Light’ is a signal of what is to come. Ben Romans-Hopcraft leads the way with a new soul-infused sound from new album Universal High. I am reminded of the blue-eyed soul of The Style Council.

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The Five Stairsteps – O-o-h Child (1970)

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At about the same time that The Jackson 5 were making waves, the first family of soul, The Five Stairsteps, released the song ‘O-o-h Child’.  The family were Betty and Clarence Burke Sr.’s five children: Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis and Keni. Maybe it’s just me, but that earworm chorus, the drum rhythm and the singing siren (at roughly a minute in) make me wonder why this disc only sold a million copies. Have a great weekend.

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