Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The 50 Music Project: Stones and Soul

IX. Would You Let Your Daughter Marry A Rolling Stone?

I'm sure that I heard "Satisfaction" and some of the other great early Stones hits when I was a kid, but the first one I really remember hearing - and remember dad letting me turn up the radio when it came on - was "Honky Tonk Women." At that time, I had no idea about the Stones' image as the bad boys of rock, and I kinda doubt that my dad did either. By the mid-seventies, I was convinced they were the greatest rock band of all time. I'm not sure I'd go to the mat on that today, but they're certainly up there near the top. And you have to give them credit; after years of releasing what frankly were pretty terrible albums, just a couple of years ago they came out with one that was right up there with their best. Not quite at that level, but certainly close enough to justify their ongoing existence as a performing entity.

Mick Jagger was never a rocker. He wasn’t a mod, either. He was a bohemian, an antiutopian version of what Americans called a folkie. That is, he was attracted to music of a certain innocence as only a fairly classy – and sophisticated – person can be. Unlike John Lennon and Paul McCartney (and Bob Dylan), his ambitions weren’t kindled by Elvis Presley; his angry, low-rent mien was no more a reflection of his economic fate than his stardom was a means for him to escape it.” • Robert Christgau, The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll

I don’t know how Mick Jagger became the symbol of rock and roll but he did and I’ve had to think about him and his band and his music more than I’ve had to think about anything else in rock. • Simon Frith, Stranded: Rock and Roll For a Desert Island

As Tears Go By
19th Nervous Breakdown
Get Off Of My Cloud
Paint It Black
Let’s Spend the Night Together
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Honky Tonk Women

X. Sweet Soul Music

What can you say? Music that sounds as fresh today as on the day it was released. They really don't make them like this anymore.

Night Train, James Brown

I’ve Been Lovin’ You Too Long, Otis Redding

“Majestic” is the only word that adequately describes this song, Redding’s best if not best known. The tension builds from the first note, and the release comes in the final verse, when the horns and the piano complement the pained vocal – a man pleading, on his knees, literally begging for the relationship to continue. J.V.

Soul Man, Sam & Dave

Ice-cold truth, told as much by trumpet and guitar as by the fabulous interplay of voices. In the history of braggadocio, few have been so convincing. • Dave Marsh, The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made

Respect, Aretha Franklin

Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, James Brown

With the possible exception of Little Richard, no one has ever made a rock or rhythm and blues record this extreme. At a time when Motown had made comparatively ornate records seem the wave of the future, Brown posited the most radical alternative: a record so totally immersed in rhythm that you barely noticed ornamentation at all. No record before sounded anything like it. No record since – certainly no dance record – has been unmarked by it. James Brown is entitled to every bit of his vanity, because in 1965, he invented the rhythmic future in which we live today. • Dave Marsh, The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made

In the Midnight Hour, Wilson Pickett

Stag-o-lee in a mohair suit, he promoted a sly carnal urgency, but it was “In the Midnight Hour,” more plea than brag, that made him immortal. Pickett climbed mountains, crossed rivers, braved storms, all within his room, until the door opened and love came tumbling down. • Greil Marcus, Stranded: Rock and Roll For a Desert Island

Try A Little Tenderness, Otis Redding

I only saw him perform once, at a revue in Boston. The audience was overwhelmingly black and sat through two and a half hours of mediocre soul music before Redding made his appearance. The crowd was growing restless, having heard too many singers say, “Let me see you clap your hands.” Then Redding came on. The first thing he did was say, “Let me see you clap your hands.” I immediately forgot the preceding two and a half hours and clapped my hands. The audience knew instantly it was in the presence of an absolute master. The band still had not played a single note yet every person in the hall was standing. • Jon Landau, The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll

When A Man Loves A Woman, Percy Sledge

Beginning with “When A Man Loves A Woman” – Sledge never matched it, no one could have – this was soul so deep it seemed to rise slowly from the bottom of the sea, and, as each song ended, to return from whence it came. • Greil Marcus, Stranded: Rock and Roll For a Desert Island

Hold On I’m Comin, Sam & Dave
I Got You (I Feel Good), James Brown
It’s All Right, The Impressions
Land of 1000 Dances, Wilson Pickett
Knock On Wood, Eddie Floyd
I’ve Never Loved A Man (the Way I Love You), Aretha Franklin
Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding

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