Thursday, October 1, 2009

In Praise of Chicago Soul

Chicago's 1960's soul scene isn't talked about nearly enough. Motown and Stax get all the glory while Chicago gets left behind. But the city turned out some great soul music in the 1960s and early 1970s, every bit as good Detroit's and Memphis's. Consider the The Chi-Lites. Gene Chandler. The Impressions. Not to mention the above track, the great singer/songwriter Barbara Acklin's groovy-as-hell "Loves Makes a Woman." Try not snapping your fingers to this one.

Chicago Soul was a little sweeter than its counterparts; a kind of soul that was chilled by the icy Lake Michigan breeze. Tight background singing. A lot more horns and a touch of pathos in the lyrics. For instance, listen to the absolutely beautifully-done "Find Another Girl" by The Impressions, with Jerry Butler at the mic. Let the lyrics soak in...Curtis' guitar winding through the song--and his falsetto sitting just behind Jerry's baritone during the chorus. This is the businesses, y'all:

Fontella Bass (what a great name) gets down with "Rescue Me."

Tony Clarke sings "The Entertainer":

Speaking of Gene Chandler, here he is, singing "Nothing Can Stop Me."

Tyrone Davis:

The Impressions, holding it down in 3-piece suits:

"I'm Gonna Miss You" by The Artistics...sweet!

Or "Right Track" a 1964 jam by Jerry Butler's brother Billy.

And we close out with this priceless 1972 Soul Train clip with the soulfully resplendent Major Lance singing "Since I Lost My Baby's Love." The good Major was better known for the 1960s hit, "Monkey Time".

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