The Essential Soul thread

Backslapping time. Well done us. We are fantastic.
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Guy E
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Postby Guy E » 27 Mar 2006, 18:47

la giraffe wrote:
Guy E wrote:The charts have always been separate


[at the risk of opening old wounds] in the US, perhaps [/at the risk of opening old wounds]

I don’t think of them as wounds per se, but it’s certainly a deep topic of discussion. If you’ve ever read Peter Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music you’ll know that there was a time in the US, the late 60’s, when Soul and Rock were all one big stew on the AM dial. The racial divisions of sales charts, radio, etc. became formalized again in the early 70’s and a big part of this was black entrepreneurs wanting to control the business action; they saw the black performer/white business setup as a big rip-off. Of course it was, but nothing is simple.

A minor observation about the pitfalls of altruism; for a long time the Virgin store on Union Square kept the Pop, Rock and Soul CD’s combined alphabetically, but it annoyed the black customers. They’d have to wade through tons of whitebread crap to find something they’re looking for. Eventually the store caved-in and they now have a separate Soul section (Urban Contemporary, whatever you call it) and it makes more sense. When I’m in a Soul frame of mind browsing through the racks I find other things I’m interested in. Tower keeps it all integrated and I never seek out or buy Soul CD’s there.

It’s been said that white music fans embrace black popular music only in retrospect. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of truth to that. I didn’t buy Soul music as a young teenager, although I heard some of it and had some Motown 45’s and a couple of albums (which convinced me that Motown albums were 80% filler). I think the first Soul artist that I bought and loved in his time was Al Green; I can remember hearing Let’s Stay Together on the car radio while cruising away teenaged nights and really being taken with it… and being aware that I was turning a musical page buying his album. Then I bought a few classics by Otis Redding and Aretha and started to dip my toe in the water, but it was a slow process and mostly a retroactive one.

Currently I don’t buy any contemporary black music (no popular white music to speak of either) and I haven’t done so since the 80’s when I followed Rap and a few adult-oriented singers like Luther Vandross. If history repeats itself I’ll be getting into the 90’s work of black artists sometime during the next decade.
Last edited by Guy E on 27 Mar 2006, 18:55, edited 1 time in total.

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sloopjohnc
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Postby sloopjohnc » 27 Mar 2006, 18:52

I think US radio is now a lot more seqmented. Say what you will about Top 40, but it's where I listened to Al Green, Otis Redding, Timmy Thomas, etc., growing up.

The closest thing to Top 40 these days is, believe it or not, Radio Disney, where rock, soul, R&B are all played. Yes, it goes through the Disney homogenization grinder, but there is variety. You can hear Weezer next to Destiny's Child.
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Guy E
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Postby Guy E » 27 Mar 2006, 18:58

sloopjohnc wrote:I think US radio is now a lot more seqmented. Say what you will about Top 40, but it's where I listened to Al Green, Otis Redding, Timmy Thomas, etc., growing up.

The closest thing to Top 40 these days is, believe it or not, Radio Disney, where rock, soul, R&B are all played. Yes, it goes through the Disney homogenization grinder, but there is variety. You can hear Weezer next to Destiny's Child.

It's true. You'd hear Bill Withers next to CCR, Alice Cooper after Al Green and it was great. But I have to say, I didn't buy a lot of music based on what I heard on the car radio (and AM was all anybody had). I think Rolling Stone magazine had already brainwashed me.