Home > 60s soul > The Locomotion: 60s Soul – Vol. 2

The Locomotion: 60s Soul – Vol. 2

December 6th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Is everybody else feeling Christmas song overload in blogworld this year? If so, then for a bit of respite some more ’60s soul.

Marv Johnson – You Got What It Takes.mp3
A bit of trivia: Marv Johnson was the artist appearing on Motown’s first ever single, “Come To Me”. Soon after, in 1959, he scored a translatlantic hit with this wonderfully upbeat number which recalls the charts-friendly soul-pop of Jackie Wilson (whose hit “Reet Petite” Motown-founder Berry Gordy co-wrote). What might have been had Johnson’s singles bombed (and the way he insults the girl, it might well have). Perhaps Berry Gordy would have chucked in that record label lark and become a druglord. Young Smokey Robinson might have discarded his dream of a career in music, and there’d been no Temptations, Four Tops, Supremes etc. Marvin Gaye would have been doing the Billy Eckstine stuff everybody soon would tire of. And a little blind boy might have remained undiscovered. Thank Marv Johnson for his pivotal role in music history.

Stevie Wonder – Until You Come Back To Me.mp3
A fairly obscure Stevie Wonder song, recorded in 1967, until Aretha Franklin scored a hit with it (her version is vastly inferior to Stevie’s) and it appeared on the triple-LP Stevie Wonder Anthology, released in 1974. Later Luther Vandross sampled a few lines of it in his great cover of the Carpenters’ “Superstar” (get Luther’s version here). Where Aretha’s take is wistfully resigned, Stevie’s is youthfully optimistic, believing that when he will “rap on your door, tap on your window pane”, he’ll receive a positive response. Even though he sounds like a stalker. Oh, but how can you not be touched when he sings: “Living for you my dear, is like living in a world of constant fear. In my plea, I’ve got to make you see that our love is dying.” Woman, return the dude’s calls, please. He’s dying!

The Impressions – It’s All Right.mp3
The story of the great Curtis Mayfield begins, of course, with the Impressions, the great soul act of the 1960s Chicago scene (and the providers to the soundtrack of the civil rights movement). Their combination of doo wop, gospel and soul harmonies finds perfect expression on “It’s All Right”, surely one of the most uplifting songs in modern music. And it’s catchily danceable. Play it in the kitchen when you make your breakfast, and try not to groove with it, or follow the command to “everybody clap you hands”. Curtis Mayfield remained with the Impressions until 1970, but various incarnations of the group are still making their appearances.

Jerry Butler – I Stand Accused.mp3
Jerry Butler was an original member of the Impressions, but left the group before it hit the big time. He and Mayfield remained collaborators, however. This soul ballad from 1966 was later covered by Isaac Hayes, who in typical fashion turned it into an epic, with a long spoken intro and heartbreaking vocal stylings. Butler, in keeping with his moniker “The Ice Man”, gives this hymn to unrequited love the restrained treatment.

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.mp3
This song is a slice of heaven. The chemistry between Marvin and Tammi (who was cute as a button) is apparent. By the time the song came out as a single, Tammi had already been diagnosed with having a brain tumor, according to speculation the result of domestic violence at the hands of Temptations singer David Ruffin and before him James Brown. Nothing has substantiated these speculations She died in 1970, at the age of 24. Would she have become a big star in her own right?

Sam & Dave – Hold On! I’m Coming.mp3
In the 1980s Paula Yates (then Bob Geldof’s wife) was presenting a music programme on British TV. Introducing a clip of this song (written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter) she said she’d better not announce the title lest its statement be held against her. In the context of ’80s TV, it was a delicious remark. The Stax duo, with the sharp suits and even sharper dance moves, was one of the biggest acts in ’60s soul. But as the horn-driven raw sound of Memphis fell into disfavour at the dawn of the ’70s, Sam & Dave’s star waned. They recorded and toured throughout the ’70s. David Prater (the deeper voice) died in a1988 car crash; Sam Moore’s fate was even worse: for the 1996 election campaign he re-recorded the duo’s hit “Soul Man” for Republican candidate Bob Dole as…”I’m a Dole Man”. Eek.

James Carr – Dark End Of The Street.mp3
This series of ’60s soul will comprise three parts (then on to ’70s soul!). I expect all installments will somehow include songs that featured in The Commitments, as did James Carr’s biggest hit . This is a song in the Percy Sledge tradition (Sledge, of course, covered the song). “Dark End Of The Street” belongs to the canon of adultery soul, headlined by Billy Paul’s “Me And Mrs Jones” (my karaoke song), with its expressed fear that “they’ll find us some day”. The song has been widely covered. The Flying Burrito Brothers’ version is worth listening to (it’s Gram Parsons, after all), but there was no good reason for Elvis Costello covering it. Carr had the voice and interpretative skill, but somehow his career never took off. Partly that was because of the effects of his bipolar depression. In keeping with the tragic traditions of soul music , he died in 2001 from lung cancer at the age of 58.

Clarence Carter – Slip Away.mp3
Carter’s bigger hit is1970’s “Patches”, but I think “Slip A Way”, from 1968, is the better song. Treat it as a companion piece to James Carr’s song: here our man is hoping to become an adulterer, begging the object of his desire to “slip away” for a while without her man finding out about it. A blues man at heart, the blind Carter had a nice sense of irony when he covered Etta James “I’d Rather Go Blind”.

Wilson Pickett – Land Of 1000 Dances.mp3
In the mid ’90s, the “na nananana nananana nana na nana na” hook was sampled by Ini Kamoze on “Here Comes The Hotstepper”, reviving interest in “Land Of 1000 Dances”, especially Wilson Pickett’s version. It was not his original though, but early ’60s New Orleans soul singer and Allen Toussaint collaborator Chris Kenner. It was then covered by American-Mexico outfit Cannibal & the Headhunters, whose innovation of the na na nas Pickett incorporated into his version. Here Pickett is at his most explosive as he commands dance moves with a

s much passion as he might beg for a night of sweaty sex (or is he? Do the Mashed Potato now…hmmmm).

Chambers Brothers – Time Has Come Today.mp3 (ZShare)
Chambers Brothers – Time Has Come Today.mp3 (DivShare)
This has more in common with Sly Stone than Otis Redding. Released in 1967, this is a psychedelic reverb-heavy soul-funk-rock work-out, on which the singer out-jaggers Mick. This is the shorter version of the album track that goes on for 11 even more psychedelic minutes. An anthem in the anti-Vietnam movement, the sound is oppressive and intimidating. Just as you think the tick-tocking which runs throughout this song, is going to run out, the song recovers, the singer goes into a groan and it gathers pace again. There is a possibility that drugs may have been consumed during the recording of this song.

More ’60s soul here.

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  1. Davy H
    December 7th, 2007 at 11:58 | #1

    That’s a lovely selection. Had considered posting some Marvin & Tammi myself this week; gorgeous girl, the most beautiful music.

  2. Spangly Princess
    December 22nd, 2007 at 11:14 | #2

    Am not a big music person in many ways but love 60s soul so thanks for this, I shall be checking out your recommendations.

  3. albgardis
    July 15th, 2008 at 15:33 | #3

    Hi, it looks like tracks 6,7 and 8 have been deleted. They cannot be found on that divshare site. (That site, by the way, is extremely annoying with its ads! It takes about 3 minutes before any file can be even started to download!) Zshare has stupid ads too, but at least you can click them away once you figured that out (where to click). This divsgare is more sneaky. Could you maybe re-upload the missing tracks? Since I am getting the complete collection, I will have to work with placeholders for now.Thank you!

  4. albgardis
    July 15th, 2008 at 15:54 | #4

    P.S. Track 10 loads down with excatly 0 bytes, I fear. I have tried it now several times during the last 12 hours, result is always the same. After the preparing 3 minutes (“your page is loading, please wait”), when finally the download window opens (where you would click “save”), after clicking “save” it reports immediately to be done, and the content is zero bytes. That must be a mistake, but it is different to the other 3 tracks, which can no longer be found on that divshare page. This is still there, it seems, just the content is gone. Huh? Weird…I will put it placeholders now, in order to be able to continue with the collection. (You can never fill in gaps later, unless you have a placeholder. Itunes playlists can not put in a song BETWEEN two other songs later.)

  5. Any major dude with half a heart
    July 15th, 2008 at 20:39 | #5

    Albgardis, I checked the links you mention, and they seemed fine. Can you try again and let me know if they still don’t work for you (you can e-mail me. It’s on the left sidebar on top of the blog)? The Chambers Brothers song seems to be screwed. I’ve added a ZSHare link to it on the post.

  6. albgardis
    July 17th, 2008 at 13:54 | #6

    Hej, Major Dude, that was a fast service – they work now! I don’t know what you did (or whether the site had a contemporary mistake in itself), but all files are coming down now without problems. Thank you, I am very happy!And yes, the zshare is so much better to work with! Thanks!!

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