Wednesday, August 7, 2013

He's A Soul Man!

Yesterday we featured six great pop / soul tracks from the '60's and '70's.

Today Forgotten Hits Correspondent Chet Coppock selects his All-Time Top Ten R & B Favorites!

Kent ... 

Here are my top 10 r and b and soul classics.

Just how do you categorize soul?  How do you determine what is truly R and B? Actually, I have a rather simple method.   

In my world, if The Osmond Brothers, The Happenings or Bobby Sherman can't nail it, it just ain't sweet soul music. Side note:  Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" actually had about as much funk as Peter, Paul and Mary spitting out Puff the Magic Dragon.   

Really, I hate African American and "Delta" stereotypes. I saw Hall and Oates close a show seven or eight years ago with "Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul. Daryl Hall absolutely knocked the ball out of the park. Hall will tell you while kids his age in Philly were digging the Beatles and the Stones he was all over Motown, Stax and the Philly sound itself.   

Check out Eddie Money's tormented vocal on his '86 hit "I Wanna Go Back" and then dare to suggest to that the former New York cop doesn't feel the r and b vibes.   

I got hooked on soul about 50 years ago when I began turning up regularly at the Regal Theater, Pervin Spann's Club Boogaloo and, from time to time, the Chicago Coliseum and the Hammond Civic Center.   

I was nuts about WVON. I still maintain that 'Von's talent roster, Bill "Butterball" Crane, E. Rodney Jones, Joe Cobb, Ed Cook and Spann "The All Night Blues Man" was the greatest "jock" lineup in Chicago radio history.    

So, here we go, fast and loose ...   

The All Coppock - "All the Time" - Soul Songs - of All Time:  

10. "Black Man" - A magnificent offering by Stevie Wonder off his majestic album, "Songs in the Key of Life." 

9. "Love T.K.O." - Feel the sweat, feel the ballsy voice of Teddy Pendergrass. It doesn't take a Phi Beta Kappa to see why chicks from coast to coast were tossing panties and room keys at T.P.    

8. "My True Story" - Eugene Pitt, lead singer for the Jive Five has made a living off this song since its release back in 1961.  

7. "You Are Everything" - The Stylistics. The falsetto of Russell Thompson, Jr. is nothing short of magnificent. Song is best heard in either between the sheets or in a gin mill over Jack on the rocks after 2 a.m.  

6. "Since I Lost My Baby" - David Ruffin's vocal combined with a magnificent string section and the harmony of the Temptations makes this song a Blue Ribbon entry. I love the bridge: "Determination is fading fast … Inspiration is a thing of the past."   

5. "There Was a Time" - James Brown truly made his cross over complete with this raging 1967 blast that was as much a rocker as it was a classic r and b number. I love the chicken scratch guitar. Maceo Parker's horns provide a tremendous back drop. "But dig me now baby, don’t worry 'bout later … dig the dance I used to do they called the mashed potatoes." Man, Sinatra couldn't top that.  

4. "The Who Who Song" - This is one of these musical gems that was either fumbled by the record company or just wasn't deemed worthy of Jackie Wilson after he'd charted big time with ("Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher. You think I'm not hip to Jackie? Try this one on for size. The cat had the greatest voice in R and B history. 

3. "Dead End Street" - "They call it the Windy City because of the Hawk, the almighty Hawk." Lou Rawls, at once a soul, jazz and pop singer, turned "Dead End" into a lament of ghetto life in Chicago.  

2. "I Been Loving You Too Long" - The gritty yet loving, the edgy yet poetic sound of Otis Redding. "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" is a distant second to this gourmet slice of music.  

1. (Tie) "Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Sexual Healing" - Marvin's vocal on "Grapevine" quite frankly leaves Gladys Knight chewing dust while "Healing" absolutely drips of sex and passion.   

So, let the arguments begin. Kent, go ahead, hit me with your best shot.