HEAVEN - Down By The Ocean Soul Jazz Vocal Sample WORK
Catchy rhythms, stressed by handclaps and extemporaneous body moves, are an important feature of soul music. Other characteristics are a call and response between the lead vocalist and the chorus and an especially tense vocal sound. The style also occasionally uses improvisational additions, twirls, and auxiliary sounds. Soul music reflects the African-American identity, and it stresses the importance of an African-American culture. The new-found African-American consciousness led to new styles of music that boasted pride in being black, and being such a creative genre of music, it emerged from the power struggle to increase black Americans' awareness of their African ancestry. Soul music also combines different elements of music which includes gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz.
HEAVEN - Down by the ocean | Soul jazz vocal sample
Dominated by Berry Gordy's Motown Records empire, Detroit's soul is strongly rhythmic and influenced by gospel music. The Motown sound often includes hand clapping, a powerful bassline, strings, brass and vibraphone. Motown Records' house band was the Funk Brothers. AllMusic cites Motown as the pioneering label of pop-soul, a style of soul music with raw vocals, but polished production and toned-down subject matter intended for pop radio and crossover success. Artists of this style included Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Preston. Popular during the 1960s, the style became glossier during the 1970s and led to disco. In the late 2000s, the style was revisited by contemporary soul singers such as Amy Winehouse, Raphael Saadiq (specifically his 2008 album The Way I See It) and Solange Knowles (her 2008 album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams).
Here begins an experiment that more or less coincides withPantheon's revised and expanded compilation of '80s ConsumerGuides. I'm not tired of writing the column any more than I wastired of editing the music section six years ago, but again I'vecome to recognize what the work takes out of me. So I'm reorganizingmy energies. Another column under the revived title Rock & Roll& will give me a chance to discuss issues and artists at greaterlength. The heading on this one will probably remain Consumer Guide,but what I've been calling it in my mind ever since I conceived itis the A List.Two propositions, then. First, the most wearisome part of this jobI invented for myself it telling the adequate from the mediocre--fromlow B plus down to middle B minus, as I would say. Better records arealways fun to listen to, worse ones at least at least fun to make funof. In between lies an infinity of distinctions that are soul-sappingto pin down even when they're of critical interest. I believe incriticism, and assume my readers do too. But to proceed to propositionnumber two, I also assume people read the Consumer Guide for consumerguidance, and while I know for a fact that acerbic reservations dosteer prospective buyers away from adequate-to-mediocre music, Ifigure it's recommendations they're looking for. So from hereon in, with time out at Thanksgiving for a Turkey Shoot, I'mreviewing only records that have repaid my active interest--A's,and a few high B pluses. Tastes differ. But if a review intriguesyou, I bet you like the record that goes with it.This theory has holes in it, foremost the likelihood that what peoplereally read this column for is yucks--it's harder to be funny aboutmusic you admire. It's also harder to be terse, and though mathwhizzes may have noted that the design djinns have already reduced myimmemorial quota of 20 records a page to 18 or so, this month Ireached my line count at 15. But the fact that I'll have room forfewer records is one of many factors that convince me I'll have notrouble finding five CGs worth of good stuff a year. Between theCD-powered reissue boom, expanding U.S. world-music production, thejazz I've never had enough time for, and my determination to shop moreaggressively for indies and imports, a bimonthly A List (plus oneTurkey Shoot) looks like a piece of cake. In fact, till January or so,I'll be coming in monthly, with a reissue/best-of roundup set forChristmastime. And if the music should dry up, I'll figure out someuseful way to fill the space. Long intros, maybe--I had to hondel anextra quarter-page for this one.Other questions remain to be resolved, and your suggestions are morethan welcome, which doesn't mean I'll follow them. Should I devise anew grading system? Does alphabetical order still make sense? Whatabout pix? And Additional Consumer News? Am I now an unregenerativeslave of capital? Stay tuned to this space.EYUPHURO: Mama Mosambiki(RealWorld)With no recording facilitiesand a culture impoverished by frontline proximity to South Africa,Mozambique supposedly favors undistinguished mbaqanga variants whenit finds time to party at all. So WOMAD puts this six-piece in aToronto studio, where it bequeaths a slick, idiomatic Afropop withwhat would pass in Africa (or the U.S.) for feminist themes. Theguitar lilt is soukous or chimurenga or samba or Larry Carlton,anything but mbaqanga, and the soulful voices are Rio-urbane, notSoweto-muscular. Occasionally it's as corny as the most tourist-friendlyBrazilian pop, leading me to suspect a hotel band beholdento its breathier Lusophone cousins. But at its best, which isusually, it lilts like crazy.A MINUS[Later: ***]WOODY GUTHRIE: Struggle(Smithsonian/Folkways)Protest music witha vengeance--originally conceived as a six-song project by Guthriein 1946, expanded by Moses Asch to mark the Bicentennial, and nowreissued by the federal government for the good-politics people atRounder. The title may be a progressive shibboleth, but there'snothing especially uplifting about these tales of class warfare,most of which detail grisly defeats. Guthrie's heroes are smotheredor incinerated in mine disasters, massacred by company thugs,hunted down by bloodhounds, left to rot from nonslip hangknots. Afew times they get to kill back, but if they're really luckythey're buried in union coffins--"Every new grave brings a thousandmembers." In short, morbid shit, its tradition the Appalachianballad and Emily Dickinson rather than the deracinated spiritualsand pink-cheeked camp songs of good clean American leftism. Canthrash covers be far behind? A MINUSJALI MUSA JAWARA: Yasimika(Hannibal)A 1983 French release pickedup by U.K. Oval in 1986, this is the renowned album that madeMango's 1989 Soubindoor inevitable. Though only vocalist-koramasterJawara plays on both, the bands--each featuring balafon, twoguitars, and two women singers--achieve an identical sound. Yetthough I heard this one second, it grabbed me where Mango's entryrewarded my dutiful attention. Can't pin down why in themusicianship or composition, and note dutifully that Soubindoor istwo songs and 15 minutes longer. Maybe I just needed a break after Soubindoor softened me up--comparison has certainly been painless.Or maybe not--I swear the emotion is higher here, the weave aquantum more intense. And of such quanta are world-music classicsmade.A MINUSKOTCH(Mango)They say this self-contained Jamaican sextet returnsreggae to harmony-group truths, but with Rueben Espuet's falsettoteasing the cover versions till they giggle and Sly & Robbieexploding those beats, their traditionalism sounds pretty pomo tome. Material includes Sarah Vaughan's "Broken Hearted Melody,"three Smokey Robinson songs (one credited to "Unknown"), and atwisted six-minute "Tequila" bent further out of shape by samplesfrom "Pump Up the Volume" and The Marriage of Figaro.B PLUSLADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO: Classic Tracks(Shanachie)Having beatenGraceland to the gate with the first (and till now best) U.S.-availableLadysmith album, Induku Zethu, and then gotten sandbaggedby Warners, Shanachie gives up on the easy way out: instead oflicensing yet another high-generic LP whole, it shuffles a dozen ofthem into a great one. By selecting for "musical quality" from thewealth of product Joseph Shabalala has conceived for his group'spresold Azanian fans, Randall Grass concentrates the lively andtuneful while respecting the intricately harmonized and subtlydramatic. One man's sustained vibrato and a whole language'sclicks, trills, and amens, cunningly repackaged for your listeningenjoyment.A MINUS[Later]LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO: Two Worlds One Heart(Warner Bros.)JosephShabalala is a modest fellow only on the surface--black SouthAfricans neglect that role at their peril. From the stylisticrevolution he imposed on his chosen style to his principled pursuitof international glory, he has the lineaments of a pop visionary,and here he arrives at a crossover formula that does the styleproud, moving gracefully from Zulu to English within and betweensongs and pumping the a cappella rhythms with instruments on threecuts. Twice Ray Phiri masterminds suitably simple mbaqanga tracks,but the big man is George Clinton, whose "Scatter the Fire" neitherobscures nor ignores the singers with their name on the cover. Iurge the Jungle Brothers to volunteer for a remix. A MINUSLIVING COLOUR: Time's Up(Epic)The latest subject of the blacksuperman theory won't write history like Harold Cruse and spoutAfrology like Robert Farris Thompson any more than DarrylStrawberry will act the mensch like Don Baylor and hit .320 likeRod Carew. That's not his job--leading an arena band isdifferent, and plenty difficult. It's amazing enough for a jazzmusician like Vernon Reid to make the transition to popaccessibility, proving that even art-rock can signify with thebest album in that meaning-laden genre since Pink Floyd was inmourning. Though the striking choruses and fancy structures arepretty Euro, the proximate model is Bad Brains sans Jah. Andthough MTV's millions have heard Reid's more panhuman messagesbefore, they've rarely heard them expressed so coherently--or bya black person. Both factors count for something. A MINUS[Later]L.L. COOL J: Mama Said Knock You Out(Def Jam)This isn'tgroundbreaking like Nation of Millions, but it shouldn't bepigeonholed as a terrific rap record. It's an exceptionallyconsistent and entertaining record, period, on a par with Gooor Freedom or Rock 'n' Roll or maybe evenSign "O" the Times.Hilariously unreconstructed, it takes shit from no one and givesshit only in the most high-spirited way--the targets it disseshardest are Mike Tyson, whose mama would say knock the mother outif the poor fucker had a mama, and famed rapper L.L. Cool J,a/k/a Cheesey Rat. It's avowedly street, but star street, voicingsympathy and solidarity rather than bullshitting about where hecomes from after five years somewhere else. Marley Marl andassorted live human beings jam into the mix. Great music, greatvocals, great lyrics, from beginning to end, by a proud pro withsomething to prove. ATHE PERFECT DISASTER: Up(Fire)Speaking as an anthropologist, Inote the existence of a younger generation that sees no essentialdifference between the Stones, the Byrds, the Velvets, and BoDiddley--all rocked, all used guitars, all preceded the SexPistols or Fleetwood Mac or whoever. Speaking as a critic, I notethe fine taste and good sense of these know-nothings. Andspeaking as a fan, I thank the Lord the Velvets dominate theequation. Think Feelies (pomo momentum), Only Ones (PerrettisticKinkology), Chills/Clean (parallel invention), Woodentops (plusmusclebottom), maybe even Galaxie 500 (minus wimpophilia). Think"We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together" meets "Pale BlueEyes." A MINUSLOU REED/JOHN CALE: Songs for Drella(Sire/Warner Bros.)Lousybackground music--absorb it over three or four plays, then readalong once and file it away like a good novel. But like the novelit will repay your attention in six months, or 10 years. Themusic's dry because it serves words that make an argument worthhearing: Andy Warhol was a hard-working genius--a great artist,if you will--betrayed by hangers-on who no matter what carpingphilistines say gave a lot less to him than he did to them.Villain: Valerie Solanas, whose attempted assassination broke hisgenerous spirit and turned him into "Society Andy." InspirationalVerse: "You might think I'm frivolous, uncaring and cold/Youmight think I'm frivolous--depends on your point of view."A MINUSGARY STEWART: Battleground(Hightone)As with so many countryalbums, one's faith fluctuates from listen to listen: thesongwriting isn't always absolutely choice, at times the voicelurches back toward the gulps and hollers that swamped hisattempted comeback, and his guilt sounds more emotionally wholethan his rowdy ways, which is why he's always been a countrysinger with r&r affinities rather than vice versa. But this ishis best in 13 years (just lucky, I guess). His r&r groove issharp-witted where Steve Earle's is muscle-headed and the averageNashville cat's just mechanical. And whether he's pledgingdesperate devotion or spitting out the perfect pun-trope"Seeing's believing/So I'll be leaving today," you know damn wellit's his fault. Whatever it is. B PLUSMERLE TRAVIS: The Best of Merle Travis(Rhino)The Kentuckyemigre fronted a California band like no other--Western swinggone honky tonk, with trumpet and accordion--and showed ChetAtkins and Scotty Moore how to play guitar. Which is fine foraesthetes--me, I listen to country music for singers and songs,in this case songs. Writing for money, Travis was a man of hisclass in the homeless "No Vacancy," the now-traditional "Dark asa Dungeon," From Here to Eternity's "Re-Enlistment Blues," and,oh yeah, "Sixteen Tons." He was a man of his gender in theendlessly clever "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed," "I Like MyChicken Fryin' Size," and on and on. And he was a font ofInspirational Verse. Try "Cincinnati Lou" ("She's got a way ofrollin' them eyes/Makes me think of paradise/And I don't meanheaven just a plain old pair o' dice") or "Fat Gal" ("Warm in thewinter, shady in the summertime," and also "If things get roughand times get hard/I'll render my gal and sell the lard") or"Lawdy, What a Gal" ("You keep your eyes wide open/Every time I'mkissin' you/The reason that I know you do/Is I keep them opentoo"). Try just about anything.ATWO NICE GIRLS: Like a Version(Rough Trade EP)I'm pleased toreport that Karen Carpenter, Kim Gordon, Donna Summer, and--who'sthis?--Paul Rodgers provide fit company for the rowdy dyke anthemthat threatens to swallow every other song they ever write. I'mimpressed that I have have no idea where the other two coverscome from. I'm disappointed that I don't much care. B PLUSWAS (NOT WAS):Are You Okay?(Chrysalis)With soulful Sweet PeaAtkinson fulfilling their authenticity quota and sarcastic DavidWas rapping like he thinks Stanard Ridgway is Kool Moe Dee, theydiddybop nasty as they wanna diddybop along the edge of racialpresumption, certain of their right to give "Papa Was a RollingStone" to papa's number-one son and to feel "better than JamesBrown" (whatever that means in 1990) even though they knowthey're gonna sideswipe his sexism two tracks later. Sure they'reshallower than they wanna be half the time, especially on thegeopolitical tip, but even then they're sort of funny. And theysell out with love songs so demented and unself-pitying,respectively, that your average major-label artiste wouldpostpone them until the fickle public was ready to get suckeredor headed for greener pastures. A MINUS[Later]SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Keep It to Ourselves(Alligator)With hisunerring slur and direct wit, Sonny Boy II, born Rice Millercirca 1897 and dead some 68 years later, is Chicago's third W:his great Chess albums--The Real Folk Blues, More Real FolkBlues, and Down and Out Blues--stand with Wolf or Muddy. These1963 recordings, culled from two much sparer purist LPs on aDanish label, are late-night visits to the Delta where he saw thelight and kicked the bucket, and what they show off above all ishis sexy, long-suffering harmonica cry. Where fools like his starpupil James Cotton strain against the dynamic limitations of thatlittle piece of steel, Sonny Boy plays it like he sings it likehe talks it--slyly, lethally, whispering complaints, secrets,existential questions, and promises made to be broken to anyonewho ventures within earshot. Guitarist Matt Murphy on most cutsand pianist-vocalist Memphis Slim on a few are all the friends heneeds. A MINUSAdditional Consumer NewsHonorable Mention:(in descending order; alternate headings include Choice Cuts, NoCigar, and On the Cusp):Boogie Down Productions, Edutainment (Jive):insufficiently scientific ("Love's Gonna Getcha (Material Love)," "100Guns")The Perfect Disaster, Asylum Road(Genius): unperfected ("The Crack Up," "In Conference Again")Shinehead, The Real Rock (Elektra): striver'srap ("Cigarette Breath")[Later: **]Mimi Schneider, The Extended Outlook(Indelible cassette EP): folkie and Donne fan ("The Party Line,""Urban Friends")Village Voice, Sept. 25, 1990 041b061a72