I was just watching another ad for the Time-Life Soul Music Collection with Smokey Robinson as the pitch man. What an incredible time for music it was!
It's fair to call that music ethnic with its clearly-gospel roots and its smooth, skillfully-choreographed and artfully-executed dance performances, but man, how we all won for the efforts. The aforementioned TV ad shows clips of Al Green, Mary Wells, Jerry Butler, Major Vance, Dionne Warwick, and Smokey himself to name just a few--and they all sound great. Percy Sledge is on there singing, "When a Man Loves a Woman" and there's no other song like it. And, I just have to add that The Stylistics were a personal favorite of mine.
What I remember is that the above music didn't have to played on special stations like rap or hip-hop usually is these days. It was in there on the same play lists as all the other best pop music. You'd see it on American Bandstand and The Midnight Special as well as on Soul Train**, and there was no need to somehow-differentiate--it was recognized as the best of the very-best music around. (Plus, you could play it loud-enough for Mom and Dad to hear it and not have to worry about profanity or violent lyrics). We could all identify with love and loss, or family issues, and those things were all in there.
I miss those times. And, I know I sound like the old folks used to sound when I was a kid, talking about what used to be. But, I swear it's a little different. The 60s and 70s were indeed unique for their music. The British Invasion (of which I'm a giant fan) took a lot of American spending money from us kids, but so did the Soul wave. In fact, remembering some of the parties with dancing I used to attend, a lot of the best 'hold me close' songs I ever danced to with Cheri T. and a few other very-special girls were from the Soul genre.
Thanks for all the music and the memories, you wonderful, talented guys and gals. I could easily post 100 songs and barely scratch the surface. May there be some kind of real reward for bringing such beautiful music into the world.
**RIP Don Cornelius. Yes, of course I used to watch! He was an excellent host on a really-terrific show.
Ed, The Airgun Tune-Meister
"We can rebuild the squirrel. Make him stronger, faster...We have the technology"---Skyler M.