Tag: Rhythm and Blues

1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, Music

Chuck Berry is On Top

This is one of those weird records from the 1950s where they hadn’t quite figured out how to sell music yet – it’s a compilation of previously released singles (released over the previous four years) now looked upon as a regular LP because these singles hadn’t been released on his earlier LPs. So, if you’re …

1973, Music

The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle (1973) by Bruce Springsteen

I have never heard a Springsteen record like this one. Maybe that’s because I just haven’t heard that many Springsteen records but I suspect or at least wonder that it’s because, at some point later on, he figured out who he was, and this version wasn’t part of that (or wasn’t normally part of that).

1963, Music

Night Beat (1963) by Sam Cooke

The Sam Cooke I’m familiar with is a slick, polished soul singer, backed by lush, professional arrangements, singing catchy songs that blur the line between soul and pop. Not on this record. The story with this record seems to be that Cooke and his band recorded these songs over a few nights. I doubt they …

1963, Music

Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul (1963) by Ray Charles

This record was a big success but, despite some positive reviews, doesn’t have the greatest reputation. (Example: the Allmusic review is 4 stars but really feels like a 3 star review.) The idea is that its source material is [i]too[/i] diverse. I call bullshit.

1973, Music

In the Right Place (1973) by Dr. John

Really listening to the (sort of) title track for the first time (instead of just being aware of it playing on the radio), it’s clear to me why it’s Dr. John’s biggest hit – the song has much more immediacy to it than anything else of his I’ve ever heard.

1968, Music

Lady Soul (1968) by Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s fourteenth studio album could have almost tricked me into believing it was a Greatest Hits/Best Of album focused on a particular era of her career, except for the fact it is missing “Respect” and a few other songs.

1967, Music

Nina Simone Sings the Blues (1967)

Simone’s second of three albums in 1967 was her first for a new label and one wonders if that had a lot to do with the rather drastic left-turn on this record. As you can tell from the title, this is a blues record, where influence on her sound was rather muted on the previous …

1967, 2017

High Priestess of Soul (1967) by Nina Simone

Aside from her voice and her piano playing, the thing that stands out most about Nina Simone among her fellow soul singers of this era is her variety and versatility: listen to most other 1967 soul albums and you will hear one thing, soul. Yes, there will be slow soul songs and their will be …

1967, Music

Wild Honey (1967) by The Beach Boys

I am not sure anything could have prepared me for this record, a bizarre left turn from Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile (and Smile presumably) in terms of ambition and overall sound, but also in some ways a logical follow up to Smiley Smile‘s bizarre lo-fi aesthetic. The first record the rest of the band …

1962, Music

Modern Sounds in Country and Wester Music, Volume Two (1962) by Ray Charles

Ray Charles’ radical reinterpretations of country standards sound so dated now it’s really hard to appreciate them both for their radical boundary-breaking (black performers didn’t perform white music much at all at the time) and for the way in which Charles reinvigorated soul music with a new source of inspiration and a new avenue down …

2017, Music, RIP

RIP Chuck Berry

With guitar-based rock music decidedly out of fashion it is possible – probable? – that many people don’t understand how important Chuck Berry was to the music of the second half of the 20th century. But just because the electric guitar isn’t currently popular doesn’t mean it wasn’t the central vehicle for musical expression of …

1988, Music

The Chess Box (1988, Chess) by Willie Dixon

So Dixon is unlike pretty much all the other major figures in post-war blues in that he rarely led groups. He was more of a songwriter and producer (and, of course, bassist). He’s only the frontman on something like 5 or 6 of these songs.