Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, you all!  Hope you get lots of good candy, and stay safe out there!

Friday, October 26, 2012

When Seasons Change...

Watching the leaves fall from the trees over the past few weeks has reminded me that Fall has arrived, and we are nearing the cold of Winter.  It also reminded me of the Curtis Mayfield's song "When Seasons Change", one of my favorite Mayfield songs off of one of my favorite Mayfield albums, There's No Place Like America Today, a highly underrated album in the canon of Mayfield albums.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Allen Toussaint: Life, Love, and Faith

I have been a big fan of New Orleans soul great Allen Toussaint for years, and I've mentioned him a handful of times in this blog in the past.  Tonight I was pulling out some of his albums, specifically his first few albums, Toussaint, and Life, Love, and Faith, which are my favorite two albums of his.  Do you ever get goosebumps from a particular song?   "Fingers & Toes" does this to me every time.  Off of Life, Love, and Faith, "Fingers & Toes" is one of the most perfectly written pop songs I've ever heard.  Lyrically, such a strong, forward introduction, "What more can I say, I'm sorry"..."So I've made mistakes, girl for goodness sakes, you know I've been more good than bad"...  "So why don't you love, before you start a new love and try to count the good times we've had"...And the chorus, "Bet you run out of fingers and toes, before you run out of the flowers I sent ya.".  Lyrically, such a great portrayal of a ending relationship, but the writer is making a last plea to remember the good times before she decides to move on.  It's a repeater--meaning, I repeat this track continually.

"Soul Sister" is another favorite of mine off of this album.  Great, simple piano chords to start the track, a rattling of the drums, and a "Hey you..." to kick off the vocals.  Also, love the call and response vocals between Toussaint and the backing female vocalist in the middle. 

Life, Love, and Faith is Toussaint's strongest album ever recorded.  Does it completely hit on all cylinders?  It's close.  The only reason I wouldn't say that it completely does it mainly because three tracks "Fingers and Toes", "Soul Sister", and "I've Got to Convince Myself" are definitely the strongest of the lot, and while the rest of the songs are strong, I tend to gravitate towards these three tracks.  I would probably put Life, Love, and Faith in my top top 50 favorite soul albums of all-time, it's a treasured album of mine and my favorite by the New Orleans great. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

45 Focus: Doo-Woppin' with The Flamingos

I'm not necessarily a big fan of doo-wop, though I certainly have a lot of respect for it, as it is a precursor to soul music.  In fact, many of soul's greatest artists originated some the roots of doo-wop, including the likes of Marvin Gaye, who got his start in a doo-wop group as a teenager in Baltimore.  One of my favorite 45's that I own is by The Flamingos,  "I Only Have Eyes For You"/"Goodnight Sweetheart".  "I Only Have Eyes For You" is an obvious classic, and one of doo-wop's most popular songs, generally featured on most doo-wop greatest hits compilations.  However, "Goodnight Sweetheart" is my favorite track by The Flamingos, and probably my favorite doo-wop track of all-time.  I've always loved The Flamingos haunting melodies, drenched with reverb backing vocals and accompanied by a gently strummed guitar.  "Goodnight Sweetheart" is a sentimental favorite, as it is a track that I occasionally play while slow dancing with my 2 year old before he goes to bed.     

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Love The Feeling

I can never get enough of Leroy Hutson's albums, especially Hutson and II.  He is truly an underrated soul singer, as he went from replacing Curtis Mayfield in the later day version of The Impressions, to forging a nice solo career of soulful, almost proto-disco, and quiet storm (slow grooves) type of style.  What I especially like about both of these Hutson albums mentioned above, is the opening track.  In my opinion, both the opening tracks to Hutson ("All Because of You") and II ("Love The Feeling") are the strongest tracks on each of the albums.  I already featured "All Because of You" on a previous post, so this post I wanted to dedicate solely to my all-time favorite Hutson track, "Love The Feeling".