Post-Al Green What’s Going On, which means it’s about fucking rather than the human condition, thank the wholly holey. Gaye is still basically a singles artist, and the title track, as much a masterpiece as “Inner City Blues,” dominates in a way “I’m Still in Love with You,” say, doesn’t. Then again, it’s an even better song, and this album prolongs its seductive groove to an appropriate thirty minutes plus
~Robert Christgau (Consumer Guide Reviews)
On this album, Gaye meditated on the gap between sex and love and how to reconcile them – an adult version of the Motown tunes he had built his career on. It’s some of the most gorgeous music he ever made, resplendent with sweet strings and his clear-throated crooning.
Something told me it was over When I saw you and her talking. Something deep down in my soul said cry girl, When I saw you and that girl walking.
I would rather, I would rather go blind, boy, Than to see you walk away from me, child.
Tell Mama is the eighth studio album by Etta James. The album was released August 21, 1968 on Cadet Records and was produced by Rick Hall. Tell Mama was James’ first album since 1963 to enter the Billboard 200 albums chart and contained her first Top 10 and 20 hits since 1964. It was her second release for the Cadet record label.
Tell Mama (on US TV, Happening ’68, 1968):
Leonard Chess sent Etta James to Muscle Shoals in 1967 (2 August – 6 December), and it really paid off with what might be her best Cadet album. The record has a fantastic title cut, it has the moving soul ballad I’d Rather Go Blind, it has the incredible The Love of My Man and a many more very fine soul numbers. The tight studio band at Fame Studios really shone next to Etta James. The music they made is timeless soul/blues, it’s a masterclass in record making.
An incredibly good version of I’d Rather Be Blind (Live at Montreux 1975):
“The question of why a rural Alabama town became a conduit for some of the most memorable and instantly identifiable grooves may still be up for debate. The evidence exists in droves and Tell Mama could certainly be considered exhibit A. “
– Lindsay Planer (Allmusic)
One of the best soul albums ever made, and certainly among Etta James’ best records!
Listen to Miss James testify in a country church style on It Hurts Me So Much, oh my God how good it is!
Etta James – Tell Mama (Album, The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions, Spotify):
July 6: Jackie Wilson recorded (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher in 1967
“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” was recorded on July 6, 1967 at Columbia’s studios inChicago. Produced by Carl Davis, the session – arranged by Sonny Sanders – featured bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard “Pistol” Allen, guitarist Robert White, and keyboardist Johnny Griffith; these four musicians were all members of the Motown Recordshouse band The Funk Brothers who often moonlighted on sessions for Davis to augment the meager wages paid by Motown. According to Carl Davis, the Funk Brothers “used to come over on the weekends from Detroit. They’d load up in the van and come over to Chicago, and I would pay ‘em double scale, and I’d pay ‘em in cash.” Similarly two of Motown’s house session singers The Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow, along with Pat Lewis (who was filling in for Andante Louvain Demps), performed on the session for “Higher and Higher”.
I first became aware of this gem of a song when it was re-released in 1987, accompanied with a new video.
Jackie Wilson – Higher and Higher (official 1987 video):
Curtis Mayfield is one of those artists that sounded cool no matter what he sang, he was a master songwriter and a tremendous guitar player.
Freddie’s Dead (live, early 70s?):
Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums.
Curtis Mayfield’s songwriting and his distinct guitar playing have influenced a lot of artists.
Bob Dylan played Mayfield’s People Get Ready , and it is obvious he liked Curtis Mayfield’s work . The Impressions’s Keep On Pushing, the album, is on the Bringing It All Back Home cover.
Paul Weller interviewing his hero, the late Curtis Mayfield, most likely before Mayfield’s gig at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club in the Soho area of London on 31st July 1988:
May 21: American Masters – Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (documentary)
Marvin Gaye released What’s going on May 21, 1971, we present a great documentary about the album.
Marvin Gaye is one of the great and enduring figures of soul music, but his life was one of sexual confusion, bittersweet success and ultimately death by the hand of his own father.
Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (April 2, 1939 — April 1, 1984), better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and musician with a four-octave vocal range. Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla Records subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties.
Because of solo hits such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”, “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, he was crowned “The Prince of Motown” and “The Prince of Soul”.
His work in the early and mid-1970s, including the albums What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, and I Want You, helped influence the quiet storm, urban adult contemporary, and slow jam genres. After a self-imposed European exile in the early eighties, Gaye returned on the 1982 Grammy-Award winning hit, “Sexual Healing” and the Midnight Love album before his death. Gaye was shot dead by his father on April 1, 1984. He was posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
In 2008, the American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Gaye at number 6 on its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time, and ranked at number 18 on 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
This fine documentary is directed by Samuel D. Pollard, also an editor and producer, known for 25th Hour (2002), 4 Little Girls(1997) and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006). Including interviews with the singer’s family, friends and musical colleagues.