Friday, May 23, 2014

The Soul

It's no secret that I love old school soul and R&B. When I say old school I'm talking pre-80s and usually, the further back the better. Also, the further south, the better. The main thing I respond to is the production. It has to breathe and have atmosphere and be funky. It has to have some dirt on it. Lush only works in soul in small doses. Once it gets to the 80s overproduction was the rule of the day and it's not the same. It's more pop and disco than anything else. Sure, some of the old stuff's dirt is just happenstance because of the limitations of the equipment, but that's part of it. Just this morning I watched a documentary on Southern soul and rock called Muscle Shoals, about that town in Alabama where many of the greatest southern soul records were cut, from Percy Sledge and Aretha Franklin to Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, The Allman Brothers, and even the Rolling Stones. I highly recommend watching this if you have any love of music. I'm not a spiritual person, but the closest I come to it is my belief that music connects our brains to something in our shared genetic memories that goes back to our earliest ancestors beating on bones in caves by a fire. Some of that is evident in the stories of the early days of Fame Studios where white and black musicians made some of the best music ever recorded together at the height of the civil rights era, while the rest of Alabama was a boiling pot of hate and oppression and fear and finally having enough. But of course, I don't just go for Southern soul. The north did give us great shit too.

My love for soul is such that, as a long time comic book fan, my biggest geek out moment in a comic book movie ever was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Falcon mentions Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man. I got immediate chills and nearly screamed out "YES!!" I got that album a couple of years ago, mainly because it looked cool, though I had heard one or two tracks before. I've never seen the movie it's a soundtrack to, but that doesn't matter. The album is a smooth, funky, jazzy, bongo, horns and bass affair that makes me think of something an old friend told me not too long ago. He's also into old school soul and I mentioned it was interesting that we both came to that over the years, separately, considering back when were young kids, we both loved metal. He said it's probably because we grew up watching movies from the 70s that all had soul soundtracks and it just sort of infused itself in our brains. It kind of makes sense and this soundtrack is a good example of that sound. It's just pure fucking cool, really. It's the soundtrack to coolness, and that's all there is to it.

By the way, I was just blasting this last one from my car, as I unloaded some stuff into my garage because coolest motherfucker on the block, that's why.


1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with your assessment of music as something we share genetically through the ages. Its power is indescribable. If there's anything that comes close to the idea of "God," it's music. And Scarlett Johansson, of course.