Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A little bit of soul

I've never really gotten into the blues (too much focus on grief), but soul music is just what my spirit needs from time to time.

I love the "Philly sound" that peaked in the early 70's. When songs like The O'Jays "Back Stabbers" or The Spinners "I’ll Be Around" came on the radio, I enjoyed them just as much as the rock songs like "Ballroom Blitz" or “Suffragette City”(back when they were fresh). Matter of fact, the juxtaposition of soul and rock complemented each other quite nicely.

While rock music has continued in one form or another ever since, radio kind of "lost its soul," replaced along the way by disco, rap and hip hop, and soul went underground (i.e. out of the mainstream) for several decades. I got used to missing the comforting grooves of the Sound of Philadelphia, and really thought that golden era had come to a close.

So, when I got a "Pick of the Week" sampler from iTunes recently, I was surprised to hear a great soul track from Lee Fields' new album, My World, "Love Comes And Goes." It sounded like it was cut in 1971! Here's a live version of that track. Fantastic!

I've now listened to the whole album and every track is a winner.

Fields has been on the scene since the 70's but has never achieved mass recognition. I'm glad to see he's keeping the soul torch lit, and I think that his status might rise a bit with the release of this new album and a little push from iTunes. Hopefully it'll also bring exposure to more soul acts I might have missed in the last decade.


If you're looking for a good one-package roundup of great late 60's and early 70's soul, with classic tracks from The O'Jays, Spinners, Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Billy Paul, etc., check out the four-disc compilation issued in 2008 called Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia. (Of course, if you're looking for Motown - Temptations, Supremes, Marvin Gaye - head west and north a bit...)

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