nothing more to say – Honey Cone, 1970

I considered debuting my return after a hiatus with a gospel song that drives at the heart of the soul genre, but I will save that for a later chapter, and instead, fast forward to the modern era. It’s wonderful to see modern takes of old school songs, especially when they’re done well, and especially if…

to be better than the rest – Raphael Saadiq, contemporary

CONTEMPORARY ( – present) One of my favorite contemporary artists is Raphael Saadiq (born Charles Ray Wiggins; went by Raphael Wiggins for a short time).  Unlike some of the other contemporary artists we have profiled, Raphael differs in his age and experience.  He has been in the industry for some time with a musicality that…

ain’t gonna do you wrong – Aretha Franklin, 1967

Singers have been “covering” other singers’ songs for generations now. A cover song, or often colloquially just simply, “cover,” is a song that has already been released by a different artist, but has been renewed and reinvented by a different artist — or, “covered.” Historically and practically, cover songs offer practice and inspiration to developing artists, while, at best, they…

the way you love me is frightening – STAX RECORDS: Memphis, TN

We are of course dedicated to capturing the people and spirits who give birth to the sounds we hear: the singers and instrumentalists. They, after all, embody the very musicality we admire and ultimately cling to, even though people in other positions — engineers, producers, and writers — play critical roles too. Yet these artists and their…

just a little bit louder – Stevie Wonder, 1962

This child prodigy is no stranger to the big lights. He looked up to the great Ray Charles and in fact — in working with the Motown producers — released his first ever album as one dedicated to “Uncle Ray.” Born Stevland Hardaway Morris, he gained his stage name from one of the producers who…

fun fact!

The genius of Gordy and Hitsville USA can be found in something so unimaginative: recycling songs. Gaye and Terrell released their hit Ain’t No Mountain High Enough in 1967 and won a Grammy with it. Three years later, Diana Ross and the Supremes — of the same record label — would release their own version…

fun fact!

At one point due to the divisiveness of group performance, two distinct and separate Temptations bands were touring through the U.S.A. at the same time.

Keep You By My Side (The Temptations, 1966)

Unlike previous posts, this post will feature not a single person, but a single artist: The Temptations. Though far from being the first group artist featuring several people, The Temptations proved one of the most successful of all time, and a treasure for Berry Gordy’s Motown Records (also known as “Hitsville USA” in contrast to Stax…