60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

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Davey the Fat Boy
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 22 Sep 2010, 21:02

I do not get where loving soul music equates with "wanting to be black". I find that whole line of accusation just a bit distasteful to be quite honest.

That said, I will push back against the notion that black artists are held up as any more sacrosanct than other artists. I simply think many music tend to venerate the folks at the root of the music we love. So it happens that black music forms a lot of the roots for what we talk about here - so of course we are going to hold a lot of black artists up. Same as we do Hank Williams.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby mantochanga » 22 Sep 2010, 21:03

Hepcat wrote:[

Well I'm one fellow who has several James Brown LPs so now you know at least one. Buy this one:


It has lots of good songs.

8-)


My friends. I shall follow up this line of inquiry.

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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 22 Sep 2010, 21:27

TG wrote:i own as many soul records as probably anyone around these parts but have no real love for The Mad Lads, Mel and Tim, Lou Rawls, Minnie Riperton, Billy Paul or a whole lot of others who actually charted.

Also, folks like the Stylistics, Peaches and Herb, Teddy Pendergrass or the Friends of Distinction released a lot of records and that I find one or two of them enjoyable doesn't make me a die hard fan or them unassailable.

I can't help but saying - you've got a lot of good
stuff in your discard pile. Different strokes and all, but I would urge you to
try again with most of those.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 22 Sep 2010, 21:39

G-Z wrote:I'm glad this has been brought up, because in my mind there seemed to be a sudden shift in gears where soul seemed virtually unimpeachable on BCB - and I'm still scratching my head over the Mojo Soul thread, where a list which would usually be met with a collective cry of "yawn" was instead characterised by universal praise of this music...whereas if it had been a Rock / Indie list you can just imagine the reaction. It seems that there is a presumption here that 70s soul is underappreciated or underdiscussed, and therefore some kind of holy grail, but I generally don't see that at all, at least not compared with many other genres. That's not to say there is nothing short of a deluge of fantastic 70s soul, but god damn there's a lot of trite shite as well, and some of the big hitters were responsible for some of the worst excesses of it. There's no excuse, by way of example, for Take a Look at Those Cakes.


My excitement over the Mojo list had everything to do with seeing about a dozen albums I love on It that seldom or never get discussed here. The day I log into BCB and see a thriving conversation about Leon Ware, Willie Hutch or see a thread asking if War is among our top 5 bands will be the day that I agree with you on the so-called shift you describe.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Jeff K » 22 Sep 2010, 21:41

Returning to the original question, I've mentioned Aretha before and my reasons for not liking her so here are a few other names I'm less than enthralled with.

Aaron Neville - I don't like how he sings. Simple as that. That quavering falsetto gets on my tits. I like the Meters, just not Neville.

Betty Davis - Yeah, I know all about her being Miles's muse and all that and welcome the rock meets funk hybrid of her albums. It's just too bad she doesn't have the songs to match her personality. Her voice annoys me too.

Candi Staton - I was led to believe by BCB that she was holy grail material and I took the plunge to see if I was missing anything and it turned out I wasn't. Nothing I heard by her could be called truly extraordinary. Doris Duke is much better, IMHO.

Stevie Wonder has more misses than hits with me but when he was on he was indeed great. Still, he's released so much shit over the years that it completely dwarfs his quality stuff.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby sloopjohnc » 22 Sep 2010, 21:43

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:My excitement over the Mojo list had everything to do with seeing about a dozen albums I love on It that seldom or never get discussed here. The day I log into BCB and see a thriving conversation about Leon Ware, Willie Hutch or see a thread asking if War is among our top 5 bands will be the day that I agree with you on the so-called shift you describe.


This will only happen after we discuss our favorite Bowie haircut style and dye color.

Then maybe, just maybe, you'll see it.

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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Nolamike » 22 Sep 2010, 21:44

Jeff K wrote:Returning to the original question, I've mentioned Aretha before and my reasons for not liking her so here are a few other names I'm less than enthralled with.

Aaron Neville - I don't like how he sings. Simple as that. That quavering falsetto gets on my tits. I like the Meters, just not Neville.

Betty Davis - Yeah, I know all about her being Miles's muse and all that and welcome the rock meets funk hybrid of her albums. It's just too bad she doesn't have the songs to match her personality. Her voice annoys me too.

Candi Staton - I was led to believe by BCB that she was holy grail material and I took the plunge to see if I was missing anything and it turned out I wasn't. Nothing I heard by her could be called truly extraordinary. Doris Duke is much better, IMHO.

Stevie Wonder has more misses than hits with me but when he was on he was indeed great. Still, he's released so much shit over the years that it completely dwarfs his quality stuff.


I agree with ya on Betty Davis, and I understand why some folks don't like Neville, and I concede that Stevie Wonder has put out a lot of shit... but Candi Staton is incredible. You are right that Doris Duke is better, though. :)
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Nolamike » 22 Sep 2010, 21:44

sloopjohnc wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:My excitement over the Mojo list had everything to do with seeing about a dozen albums I love on It that seldom or never get discussed here. The day I log into BCB and see a thriving conversation about Leon Ware, Willie Hutch or see a thread asking if War is among our top 5 bands will be the day that I agree with you on the so-called shift you describe.


This will only happen after we discuss our favorite Bowie haircut style and dye color.

Then maybe, just maybe, you'll see it.


Don't forget the inevitable thread on his makeup.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby sloopjohnc » 22 Sep 2010, 21:46

Nolamike wrote:
sloopjohnc wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:My excitement over the Mojo list had everything to do with seeing about a dozen albums I love on It that seldom or never get discussed here. The day I log into BCB and see a thriving conversation about Leon Ware, Willie Hutch or see a thread asking if War is among our top 5 bands will be the day that I agree with you on the so-called shift you describe.


This will only happen after we discuss our favorite Bowie haircut style and dye color.

Then maybe, just maybe, you'll see it.


Don't forget the inevitable thread on his makeup.


That's a given.

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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby PENK » 22 Sep 2010, 21:55

On the whole, I think that Nolamike makes a good point here:

Nolamike wrote:As far as why we find so much of it has held up so well... I'm gonna give the wild-ass guess that a good chunk of it was the way these records were made. Unlike most rock bands, which were self-contained, insular units, I'd guess that at least 80 or even 90% of all the soul music that ended up on record featured backing by a house band of pros who knew this style of music inside and out, but still had the pressure to keep it lean and mean so that the primary focus would be on the singer whose album they were making, rather than on the studio musicians. This was the case with Motown, Stax, Hi, Malaco, Muscle Shoals, Fame, all the New Orleans stuff (whether it be Toussaint with the Meters, or Eddie Bo or Wardell Quezerque with a grouping of the other dozen or so guys who played on everything), etc., etc., etc. They all had an identifiable "sound," but they weren't really the focus. These guys didn't have to write "songs," just play on them, often aided by an arranger; any cool little licks they developed, they could just plug into one of the session tunes where appropriate, rather than having to construct something around it.

Add to that the fact that there were a lot of people in the soul music biz who were just songwriters, and only had to focus on writing material that would be in the sweet spot for particular singers - and that this didn't require anything but a basic melody and lyrics, the arrangement would often be left up to someone else.

The whole process was like a well-oiled machine, that seemed to give room for each person to focus on their particular strengths.


I agree with all of this: you had a large group of talented professionals doing this stuff, and I will add that even when they weren't on form the music wasn't really bad, it was just generic. We all have dozens or even hundreds of compilations where a lot of the tracks are forgettable. Not unlistenable, but not things you're going to reach for: professional product, usually made to a certain standard. Easy to listen to, easy to forget. Not everything is an out-and-out classic, but if you are looking for things people will think of and say they dislike, it does become harder.
I think that in the '70s, things got a bit dodgier because the music had an uneasy relationship with newer production techniques, writing fashions and, notably, synthesisers (see Stevie Wonder). There was still a lot of great stuff but now you did start to get stuff that was decidedly under-par.

As for answering the original question...

mantochanga wrote:I'm the guilty party who mentioned James Brown.

I've nothing against him. In some ways I love him. But like I love Mohammed Ali, and I don't like boxing. JB seems a real sacred cow, but I don't have a single one of his records, don't know anyone who does, and wouldn't expect to hear any good songs if I waded in. He's about something else, and I'm not crazy about that something else musically, even if live footage of him (ie. TAMI Show) is undeniably boss.


This is where I come from too. I've nothing against him as an artist, but it's not my thing. I like my funk a bit more melodic, and when it comes to his soul sides, I don't like his voice - it's powerful, true, but he's too shouty (and, later, grunty).

Stevie Wonder has come up too, and for me it's different with him: I think some of his classic stuff is great, but other things are not. Much of Innervisions, for example, is horrible: queasy synths, saccharine writing and the kind of corny production that did begin to blight this music in the '70s.

There are a couple of other greats I've never got into - the name of Ray Charles has been mentioned - but with them I haven't tried enough to have a proper opinion.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 22 Sep 2010, 22:12

You know, it isn't so much that I think Ray Charles ans Stevie Wonder ought to be above critique - but Folks here go on and on about shit like Can, The Pretty Things, Syd Barrett and Krafwerk that iare so much weaker.

My problem, I realize. No need to lecture me on it.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby toomanyhatz » 22 Sep 2010, 23:05

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:You know, it isn't so much that I think Ray Charles ans Stevie Wonder ought to be above critique - but Folks here go on and on about shit like Can, The Pretty Things, Syd Barrett and Krafwerk that iare so much weaker.

My problem, I realize. No need to lecture me on it.


Leave it to you to name three artists (out of the four- Kraftwerk's OK, but they don't float my boat, mainly because they do something that I don't have that much appreciation for or knowledge of) that I truly love when using an example of something "weaker." Couldn't you have said the Smiths or Joy Division? :P

In general we're on the same page here, as I hope/presume I've made clear, but before someone else says it, I will. The artists you name (well, less so the Pretty Things) are ones that are much easier to dismiss with a (for example, in Can's case) "they're prog, and I don't like prog." Even if it's not true- and some day I'll write a thread where I explain how Can has plenty to offer 70s funk fans- you're not treated like a pariah for saying it. Whereas Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder are by-and-large treated as if they're beyond criticism.

There's a reason for that, mind you. You mentioned before that found this thread depressing, I'm thinking just the opposite. I'd find it depressing if anyone had given a solid reason why 70s R&B might not be all it's cracked up to be. So far the best any of them can do is to pick out singular artists that they don't personally like- fine, whatever, no accounting for taste- or the usual "aren't I going against the grain?" cynicism. Nobody has come within miles of convincing me that there wasn't something in the air and a pretty staggering success rate- quite possibly the best ever for any genre in a ten-or-so year period. Honestly I find that very validating, and life-affirming.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby PENK » 22 Sep 2010, 23:08

toomanyhatz wrote:So far the best any of them can do is to pick out singular artists that they don't personally like


To be fair, isn't that just what the thread is asking for?

I agree with you on the whole, though: there was a tremendous amount of great music made in the genre during that period.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Jeff K » 22 Sep 2010, 23:14

toomanyhatz wrote: So far the best any of them can do is to pick out singular artists that they don't personally like- fine, whatever, no accounting for taste- or the usual "aren't I going against the grain?" cynicism. Nobody has come within miles of convincing me that there wasn't something in the air and a pretty staggering success rate- quite possibly the best ever for any genre in a ten-or-so year period. Honestly I find that very validating, and life-affirming.


The point of the thread was to pick out singular artists who you don't care for. I don't think there's anyone here who wouldn't agree that there was 'something in the air'. It's just that we seldom gripe about a particular soul artist the way we do with other genres.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby toomanyhatz » 22 Sep 2010, 23:19

penk wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:So far the best any of them can do is to pick out singular artists that they don't personally like


To be fair, isn't that just what the thread is asking for?

I agree with you on the whole, though: there was a tremendous amount of great music made in the genre during that period.


Of course- and I'm not criticizing it at all, anyone should be free to do so, I don't think any artist should be untouchable. And I don't think soul artists are by any means unique in that. The Pretty Things are a great example- who here has criticized any of their early singles? And if someone did, what would the response be? At best, a heavy sigh and the sound of footsteps backing slowly away from the crazy person.

That there was a tremendous amount of great music made during that period, and that an overwhelming amount of us agree, was really my point. This thread has thrilled me so far- very validating, as I say.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Piggly Wiggly » 22 Sep 2010, 23:48

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:I do not get where loving soul music equates with "wanting to be black". I find that whole line of accusation just a bit distasteful to be quite honest.



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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby TG » 23 Sep 2010, 00:17

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
TG wrote:i own as many soul records as probably anyone around these parts but have no real love for The Mad Lads, Mel and Tim, Lou Rawls, Minnie Riperton, Billy Paul or a whole lot of others who actually charted.

Also, folks like the Stylistics, Peaches and Herb, Teddy Pendergrass or the Friends of Distinction released a lot of records and that I find one or two of them enjoyable doesn't make me a die hard fan or them unassailable.

I can't help but saying - you've got a lot of good
stuff in your discard pile. Different strokes and all, but I would urge you to
try again with most of those.


Most of the list I posted would be considered more slick, uptown, "produced" records and that's just not my thing. I'd rather hear grittier, funkier soul records. I own 45s by most of the artists mentioned but don't find the bulk of their output to my taste.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby TG » 23 Sep 2010, 00:19

Jeff K wrote:Stevie Wonder has more misses than hits with me but when he was on he was indeed great. Still, he's released so much shit over the years that it completely dwarfs his quality stuff.


He's the soul music equivalent of Paul McCartney.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby Snarfyguy » 23 Sep 2010, 00:30

TG wrote:
Jeff K wrote:Stevie Wonder has more misses than hits with me but when he was on he was indeed great. Still, he's released so much shit over the years that it completely dwarfs his quality stuff.


He's the soul music equivalent of Paul McCartney.

But with guys like this, I tend to do them the courtesy of drawing a curtain around their more egregious offenses. I never listen to McCartney's or Wonder's worst stuff, so what do I care?

Why should we judge musical artists by statistics? They're not baseball players.

Plenty of great artists did shit work. I don't assume it to be important except to scholars.
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Re: 60s/70s Soul Artists We Don't Like

Postby TG » 23 Sep 2010, 00:44

Snarfyguy wrote:But with guys like this, I tend to do them the courtesy of drawing a curtain around their more egregious offenses. I never listen to McCartney's or Wonder's worst stuff, so what do I care?

Why should we judge musical artists by statistics? They're not baseball players.

Plenty of great artists did shit work. I don't assume it to be important except to scholars.


Well, I don't claim to be any kind of scholar and I'm with you on this. I own plenty of records by people who made other crap records. I really don't care. When Stevie was good he was untouchable and if I never hear Isn't She Lovely again then I'll be happy. The two don't have too much to do with each other.
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