Triple Played: ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ has soul
Having lived my entire life in western Colorado, with the exception of three months in Pueblo in 1969, I often wonder how I became such a big fan of soul music.
I’ve loved soul music for as long as I can remember. From Aretha Franklin to the Penguins to the Flamingos and Prince, Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters to Sly and the Family Stone, The Supremes, Sade and the Chi-Lites, I like almost all of it.
Whether it is from New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Memphis or Motown, I like it. From its blues origins through to R&B and doo-wop, it all sounds really good to me.
I also like the blue-eyed soul of the Young Rascals, the Righteous Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald and the youngster Mayer Hawthorne among others.
However, I have to stop at disco, even though it is an extension of soul. In fact, some think that the first disco song was the Temptations’ classic “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”
Allmusic.com says this about soul music: “Soul music was the result of the urbanization and commercialization of rhythm and blues in the ‘60s.”
Van Morrison on the song “Soul” from his “Keep It Simple” album says: “Soul is a feeling, feeling deep within. Soul is not the color of your skin. Soul is the essence, essence from within. It is where everything begins.”
Dickey Betts from the Allman Brothers Band said that any fool can play the notes, but if it doesn’t come from your soul the listener knows.
I agree with all three of those statements.
When Tom Russell was here last I asked him what new music really moved him and he replied that there wasn’t a lot. He said most of the new bands lack soul because think they know it all when it is obvious they don’t.
Russell went on to say that those band should learn some of The Beatles’ music along with that of Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash or some of the other great songwriters with soul so they can learn from them like he did with Dylan, Marty Robbins and Ian Tyson. If you listen to Russell’s music you can hear those influences.
I agree with Russell and can hear and see that know-it-all attitude and lack of soul in some of the local bands here in the valley.
Back to soul music, I have at least a half dozen soul box sets: the “R&B” set, “Hittsville” from Motown, the “Doo-Wop” box set and the eight-CD “Atlantic Rhythm and Blues,” the “King Records,” “Stax” and “Brown Eyed Soul the Music of East LA” box sets.
However, as a huge music fan I am always looking for more and this week I discovered “Love Train the Sound of Philadelphia.” It’s a four-CD box set with 71 songs and five hours and 20 minutes of music.
It features the music of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, the Spinners, Joe Simon, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, the Three Degrees MFSB, Peoples Choice and more. This set is a great representation of the Philly soul sound of the 1960s and ‘70s. Many of the songs were written by the great songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
Did I say I love soul music?