Content tagged 'Soul'
Roots (Album of the Day)
Though it's often overshadowed by his classic soundtrack to the film Superfly, Curtis Mayfield's ROOTS is equally noteworthy. The 1971 studio album, the singer-songwriter's second after leaving pioneering soul group The Impressions, finds Mayfield pairing insightful and compassionate lyrics with music that is both sweet and funky. Produced by Curtis and originally issued on his own Curtom label, the collection reflects the issues of its day without feeling dated; such anthems as "We Got To Have Peace" and "Beautiful Brother Of Mine" still strike a chord. A Top 10 R&B hit, ROOTS is one of the finest soul albums of the '70s, and an ideal way to remember Curtis Mayfield, who passed away on this day in 1999.
Back To Back (Live In Paris) (Album of the Day)
If today one travels to festivals like Coachella or Glastonbury to see multi-act concerts, in decades past those shows came to the fans in the form of package tours. In 1967, preeminent Southern soul label Stax/Volt sent some of its top artists to Europe for a series of concerts, including the one immortalized on BACK TO BACK (LIVE IN PARIS). Cut at that city's Olympic Theatre, the album presents sets by Booker T. & the M.G.'s and the Mar-Keys, both crack instrumental outfits renowned as backing bands for R&B royalty as well as hitmakers in their own right (“Green Onions,” “Hip Hug-Her” - both heard here). The 10 songs on BACK TO BACK brim with fiery performances, starting with the insistent grooves of M.G.'s bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, who was born on this day in 1941.
Sings Bessie Smith (Album of the Day)
Though one of the all-time great female blues singers, Bessie Smith had long vanished from the charts when LaVern Baker championed her music with a tribute album in 1958. Such hits as “Jim Dandy” had ensured Baker a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but SINGS BESSIE SMITH fits her like a glove. The Atlantic collection features a dozen songs popularized by the Empress of the Blues (“Gimme A Pigfoot,” “Empty Bed Blues,” “There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonite” among them), though LaVern gives each her own charismatic vocal stamp, With hot jazz-influenced accompaniment by a band including trumpeter Buck Clayton, SINGS BESSIE SMITH is both a superb introduction to a blues legend and a brilliant calling card for LaVern Baker, who was born on this day in 1929.
Coast Along With The Coasters (Album of the Day)
Though the cover of their final Atlantic album might lead you to think otherwise, The Coasters drew their name from their West Coast (specifically Los Angeles) origins and the East Coast (specifically New York) base they adopted shortly after their formation. The 1962 COAST ALONG WITH THE COASTERS was a collection of singles from the preceding three years, including the classics “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)” and “(Ain't That) Just Like Me.” Aided by the Leiber and Stoller songwriting-production team, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are in fine voice and good humor on these dozen tracks. Ronnie Bright - bass singer for most of the band's 60+ years of existence – was born on this day in 1938, and we'll tip our hat to him with the wonderful COAST ALONG WITH THE COASTERS.
Spanish Harlem (Album of the Day)
Coltrane Jazz (Album of the Day)
For John Coltrane, the next step after the epochal GIANT STEPS was the 1961 Atlantic collection COLTRANE JAZZ. Seven of its eight tracks – including the Sonny Rollins tribute “Like Sonny” and the magnificent “Harmonique” - were recorded in 1959 with the rhythm section from Miles Davis' band (of which Coltrane had recently been a member). Cut a year later, “Village Blues” marked the beginning of the saxophonist's association with pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones, who would go on to be featured players on 'Trane's classic Impulse sessions. Produced by Nesuhi Ertegün, COLTRANE JAZZ offers both a look back and a hint of things to come through an appealing mix of standards and original compositions, and as such is the perfect way to remember the legendary performer, who was born 90 years ago today.
Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (Album of the Day)
Earth, Wind & Fire (Album of the Day)
Risque (Album of the Day)
Unforgettable: With Love (Album of the Day)
With more than a decade of R&B hits for Capitol and Epic to her credit, Natalie Cole must've surprised longtime fans with her Elektra Records debut, UNFORGETTABLE … WITH LOVE. From its evocative George Hurrell B&W cover photo to its final notes, the album is a tribute to the sophisticated pop of an earlier era – specifically that of her father, legendary performer Nat King Cole. The collection recreates 22 of his signature songs including “Mona Lisa,” “Straighten Up And Fly Right” and “Unforgettable,” arranged as a duet between Natalie and her dad. On this day in 1991, the set began a five-week run at No.1 on the U.S. chart; it would go on to win three Grammys, including Album Of The Year. While several artists have mined the Great American Songbook for hits in the years since, Cole's UNFORGETTABLE … WITH LOVE remains among the most heartfelt and beautiful.