Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Soul Songs

The mechanics of daily life don't interfere much with my life. I've started another jungle so there's no grass to cut and I surely don't have any dry cleaning to pick up. Around here Jamaica and the Angel and I sit around and ponder the universe. We nap some, too. There's a bit of overlap.

A hard working friend called the other day with what was to him a technical question. He's finishing up a major book on soul music and the chitlin' circuit. He wanted to know, specifically, what constitutes soul music.

Well, sir, to my thinking there is no measure, no qualifier for soul music. It is or it isn't. That doesn't mean that there are no characteristics usually associated with soul music. Louis Armstrong once famously quipped, "All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song." Seems fairly obvious to me that all music is soul music, too. 

I knew what my pal was asking, though. What separates Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and Jackie Wilson and Clyde McPhatter and Irma Thomas from the rest of us?

It seems to me that a real soul singer seems to exert no effort and delivers 100% heart. I said seems to exert no effort. Sam knew just exactly what he was doing with every I know, I know, I know...

Now the reason that nobody will ever have me write the book is that any list of soul singers that I compile will certainly include Jimmy Durante, Hank Williams, Walter Brennan. Now you know why I don't write books.


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