Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blue-Eyed Soul Closet

Soul and R&B are black musical genres, of course. But the field has always been open to white--and non black--artists who know how to bring it. And up until recently, pretenders, fakes and hijackers need not apply. Teena Marie and Bobby "What You Won't Do For Love" Caldwell? In. But Michael Bolton? Hell naw.

Those who brought something to the game were welcomed and made part of the family. Like Toto, a white AOR group from the 1970s and early 1980s who created the classic "Georgy Porgy". It helps that an uncredited Cheryl Lynn--who is black--sings the hook, but that's just icing. The bass is velvety as the inside of a Crown Royal bag. And lead singer Bobby Kimball doesn't try to mimic the wild runs and phrasing of "black" singer. Indeed, he finds his coolness in restraint--like a Peabo Bryson does to even better effect--and pulls off a heck of song.

I cringe with the next song, though. Not because it isn't a brilliant piece of 1970s blue-eyed soul--because it is--but because of that commercial for a glorified mop uses it as a jingle and has ruined it for me. But here goes:

The Native American band Redbone had a R&B jam in the early 1970s with "Come and Get Your Love."

Even Elton John--for a moment there--in the early 1970s, long before all that "Candle in the Wind" bullcrap:

And you gotta get Michael McDonald in on this:

We close the door with this super-oldie from the O'Kaysons, "I'm a Girl Watcher."


Maureen O'Donnell said...

Lee, Enjoyed your comments. I never thought about Toto being blue-eyed soul, but once I listened to Georgie Porgy, I agreed. I would also suggest Dusty Springfield for a '60s contender, and Nikka Costa as a current blue-eyed soul singer. Check out her song "Everybody Got Their Somethng.'" It always makes me want to get up and dance.

Jaye said...

hi there - got to agree with Maureen - never heard that by ToTo before, but the arrangement definitely reminds me of many a soul sound! I'm youtubing Nikka Costa on your recommendation Maureen :)