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Any Major Soul Women

March 15th, 2024 Leave a comment Go to comments

Coincidence can be a strange thing. A while ago, as I was leaving my house to do some shopping, I had an Amy Winehouse track playing (Love Is A Losing Game). As I got into the car, I switched on the radio, and another Amy Winehouse song was playing (Rehab, predictably). And I was thinking of a mix of soul women which I had posted alongside my reflections on her death in 2011, with the idea that I should repost the collection.

A day later, I received a request from regular reader and coffee-buyer rat-ta-tat for a few re-ups. One of them was the Soul Women mix on the Winehouse post. I happily obliged.

But here is the repost of the mix, separated from the Winehouse article (which today I might frame a little differently), because it really is a fine set of music.

In the 1960s and ’70s, rock music was still holding on to its patriarchal ways, even as strong women emerged from the singer-songwriter scene. Soul didn’t have that members-only Men’s Club mindset of rock music. Of course, female artists in soul music often faced challenges and barriers in a male-dominated industry. They had to navigate issues such as unequal pay, limited creative control, and stereotypes about women’s roles in music.Still, there were many women in soul music. Leading them were the legends, like Aretha Franklin or Diana Ross, who were so big that they crossed over with great success. But by the 1970s especially, there were many other strong women in soul: Millie Jackson, Gladys Knight, Betty Wright, Marlena Shaw, Jean Knight, Lyn Collins and so on.

They were singing of love and sex, and of empowerment and social justice. They embodied the strength and resilience of women, and the aspiration and/or declaration of emancipation.

Women also brought a diversity of styles and voices to the soul, ranging from the gritty, blues-inflected vocals of Etta James to the polished, poppy sound of Diana Ross

This mix covers 11 years of soul women, from Mitty Collier’s Little Miss Loneliness in 1963 to Sandra Wright’s Wounded Woman, which was recorded in 1974 but not released until many years later. It features a few quite well-known singers — Candi Staton, Tammi Terrell, Fontella Bass, Betty Everett, the recently late Marlena Shaw — who tend to be known widely for only a few songs, and some whom time has forgotten such as Lorraine Ellison, Ila Vann, Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons, or Linda Jones, who died of diabetes-related causes in 1972 at the age of 27.

Most have featured in the Any Major Soul series at some point, but the idea is to highlight singers who ought to be better known than they are.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-emancipated covers. PW in comments.

1. Anna King – Sittin’ In The Dark (1964)
2. Baby Washington – You Are What You Are (1966)
3. Betty Everett – Until You Were Gone (1964)
4. Rhetta Hughes – Cry Myself To Sleep (1969)
5. Irma Thomas – She’ll Never Be Your Wife (1973)
6. Laura Lee – Mama’s Got A Good Thing (1972)
7. Ila Vann – Got To Get To Jim Johnson (1967)
8. Erma Franklin – You’ve Been Cancelled (1969)
9. Fontella Bass – I Surrender (1966)
10. Marlena Shaw – Go Away, Little Boy (1969)
11. Mitty Collier – Little Miss Loneliness (1963)
12. Tami Lynn – I’m Gonna Run Away From You (1972)
13. Candi Staton – I’ll Drop Everything And Come Running (1972)
14. Jean Knight – Pick Up The Pieces (1970)
15. Sandra Wright – Wounded Woman (1974)
16. Esther Phillips – I Don’t Want To Do Wrong (1972)
17. Margie Joseph – Sweeter Tomorrow (1971)
18. Lyn Collins – Take Me Just As I Am (1973)
19. Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons – Your Thing Ain’t No Good Without My Thing (1970)
20. Linda Jones – Don’t Go (I Can’t Bear To Be Alone) (1972)
21. Barbara Mason – I Miss You Gordon (1973)
22. Rosetta Hightower – I Don’t Blame You At All (1971)
23. Tammi Terrell – That’s What Boys Are Made For (1968)
24. Brenda Holloway – I’ll Always Love You (1964)
25. Dee Dee Warwick – We’re Doing Fine (1965)
26. Jean Wells – Have A Little Mercy (1968)
27. Lorraine Ellison – Try (1969)
28. Ruby Andrews – Overdose Of Love (1972)

GET IT!

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  1. amdwhah
    March 15th, 2024 at 08:32 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Fredrick Beondo
    March 19th, 2024 at 21:23 | #2

    Speaking for myself, having now read your Winehouse article originally associated with this mix, I see what you meant, but can honestly say, at that moment in time, had I seen it, I would have agreed with you 400%.

    Having said that, I’d have to say in the warmth of my Adele 25 album phase in 2015/6, a good friend, who also had turned me onto Adele, whom I had considered along Amy in the early aughts as another of the single-names you mention in said article, said just listen, without prejudice, MF LOL and a few hours later I was literally apologizing for the years of what was such wonderful music I had kept from myself because of the ‘hype’…If we held all who died of their own excesses away, so much of what music we love would be gone.

    As you say, you would couch it differently now, but as one who appreciates your articles sometimes independent of the mixes you present, I wasn’t expecting to find 2011 me nodding along while 2024 me is like STFU, MF in my mind palace LOL

  3. rat-a-tat-tat
    March 24th, 2024 at 18:32 | #3

    I’m famous! I’m honored.
    Coincidence: I’m named in the AMDWHAH blog on the same day that Donald Fagen cancelled the Steely Dan show for which I’d given my wife tix. Stuck with Vince Gill doing acoustic solo. Not a fair trade. We were in the bad seats, which no longer can be called the “cheap seats.”
    Keep doing all you do. I consistently learn a lot.

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