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Features: Soul Deep BBC A Critique By Rob Moss

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Just had a look at the listing for cd its below,

have to say doesn't impress

suppose trick is working out who its aimed at

as show was aimed at mainstream music fans, then suppose the cd was as well

rather like someone who stumbled across a episode on a saturday night flick thru channels enjoyed it and sees name and clicks and buys

cant see it ending up in many soul fans collections myself

Disc One

1. Soul Finger-The Bar Kays

2. Let The Good Times Roll-Louis Jordan

3. Caldonia-Louis Jordan

4. Jesus Give Me Water-Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers

5. Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean-Ruth Brown

6. Shake Rattle And Roll-Big Joe Turner

7. Ain't That A Shame-Fats Domino

8. Touch The Hem Of His Garment-Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers

9. Blue Monday-Fats Domino

10. Ready Teddy-Little Richard

11. Please Please Please-James Brown & The Famous Flames

12. Sit Down Servant-The Staple Singers

13. Shout-The Isley Brothers

14. Cry To Me-Solomon Burke

15. Shop Around-Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

16. Something's Got A Hold On Me-Etta James

17. Let Me Go The Right Way-The Supremes

18. My Guy-Mary Wells

19. Baby Love-The Supremes

20. Nowhere To Run-Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

21. People Get Ready-The Impressions

Disc Two

1. Where Did Our Love Go-The Supremes

2. Dancing In The Street-Martha & The Vandellas

3. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag-James Brown

4. Reach Out I'll Be There-Four Tops

5. Love Attack-James Carr

6. Rescue Me-Fontella Bass

7. Dark End Of The Street-James Carr

8. Cold Sweat-James Brown

9. I've Never Loved A Man-Aretha Franklin

10. Dance To The Music-Sly & The Family Stone

11. Love Child-The Supremes

12. Say It Loud, I'm Black And I'm Proud-James Brown

13. Cloud Nine-The Temptations

14. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)-Sly & The Family Stone

15. Ball Of Confusion-The Temptations

16. What's Gong On-Marvin Gaye

17. Up For The Down Stroke-Parliament

18. My Prerogative-Bobby Brown

May 2005

Soul music has conquered the world in the last 50 years - growing from raw, electric rhythms, to the billion dollar industry it is today with R&B and hip hop dominating the world's charts.

It has been the soundtrack to some of the most extraordinary social, political and cultural shifts. 'Soul Deep' a definitive 2CD set with sleeve notes by soul historian Barney Hoskyns, compliments a new BBC six-part series and makes for a classic overview of one of the greatest music genres of all time.

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After watching the first one Iwas hoping for a reasonable insight,but the Beeb in their usual infinite wisdom once again Blew it

No change

could have been the bees knees

Doug thumbsup.gif

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P.G. Wodehouse wrote, 'It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.'

just substitute "Northern Soul fanatic" for Scotsman.

Swallowing a thesaurus and then regurgitating it does not necessarily make for a good critique so let's wade through the verbiage and see what we have.

 

After virtually ignoring this music, as an art form, for over 40 years, the Corporation was finally going to apply their considerable resources, influence and money to the type of 'in depth' scrutiny and investigation usually only reserved for so called 'mainstream' entertainment.

So who employed Mike Raven, Dave Simmons, Andy Peebles, and so help me god Trevor Nelson, Tony Blackburn and Emperor Rosco who I believe had some part in popularising Black music in Britain? Never mind who produced the documentaries on unreleased Motown, Smokey, Southern Soul, New Orleans, Girl Groups and Motown itself?

 

As you might expect, no attention was given, in any part of this series, to the consistent plagiarism and outright theft inflicted on soul artists through the decades. On the contrary, artists like Big Joe Turner and The Valentinos suffered the ignominy of having their biggest songs shown being performed by white copyists in the programme, as if to prove credibility and popular acceptance - disgraceful

So was attention paid or was it not? I could have sworn I heard Bobby Womack say something about what happened to The Valentinos record of It's All Over Now. Obviously no footage of the band exists so let Bobby sing it and we will stick in the greatest popularisers of Black music, The Rolling Stones singing it. And I'm sure Ruth Brown made similar comments regarding Georgia Gibbs in the first episode. To quote the late and great Scottish Football Commentator, James Sanderson" Were you at the Game, caller" or did Ray Charles hand you his pass notes.

 

No one could deny that Ray Charles made a significant contribution to the development of black music, and that he influenced many of his contemporaries and successors. But to imply that he almost single handily 'invented' Soul music, or even that he could be regarded as a Soul artist at all, as this programme clearly did on many occasions, is preposterous.

Ray Charles was beyond being a strictly soul artist and should be regarded as a musical superstar but in a programme which showed his R&B contemporaries he was the one who took tunes , atmosphere and musical settings from Gospel and welded it with R&B and made it popular. And that is how soul music was invented. Now you could be picky and sat nothing is invented it's developed so be it but in TV land that's not how popular shows are made.

 

But he wasn't the only one. The first two episodes provided a general overview of the period that only focused on the more commercially successful artists, yet it completely missed many significant developments that were crucial to the creation of Soul.

Yes the ones that there was film of. It's a TV series you need visuals and it was six hours long. As the producer said he could have done six hours on Motown and maybe somebody will do series on groups. Good idea.

 

. One of the most significant crazes that swept the country, and quickly spread into the American mainstream, was a dance and song created by Hank Ballard called The Twist. It enjoyed widespread popularity in the early 1960s, yet, more significantly, lead to the creation of numerous other dances that epitomized and typified the Soul era.

It was an unheard of B Side till Chubby Checker turned it into a pop hit and if a chunk had been handed over to Jackie Wilson you would have been complaining about the lack of screen time given to Northern Soul heroes like Chubby.

 

LaVerne Baker, Della Reese, Ivory Joe Hunter, Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Dells, Ella Fitzgerald and even Chuck Berry

Ella Fitzgerald recorded Get ready and that makes her eligible or Soul Deep. Laverne was mentioned but she's dead and Ruth Brown was available. Joe Turner or Ivory Joe Hunter. Who's on film and is known to a UK audience. Screaming Jay and Chuck in a soul series, come on.

 

How on earth can a documentary be made about Motown without at least mentioning The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Edwin Starr plus many others?

All covered in episode 5 bar maybe Edwin Starr. Were you watching this on fast play?

 

A poor attempt was made to describe a non existent rivalry between Chicago and Detroit (then why did most of the Motown musicians play on Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" plus many others?),

as was answered on the programme that followed on BBC4 because Brunswick wanted the Motown success and because Carl Davis offered more money than Berry Gordy.

 

The idea that Soul music devolved from its gospel based, emotional intensity into some form of primeval, bass driven babble, in the shape of Funk, is absurd

This statement is on a par with

'Rock and roll music,' he said, 'is the basic, heavy-beat music of Negroes. It appeals to the base in man, brings out animalism and vulgarity.'"

Asa E. (Ace) Carter, at least had the excuse of being self-appointed leader of the North Alabama Citizens Council.

Rob Moss last of the Gestetner polemicists should calm down and remind himself it's only a TV show. there's more still to be made and in actual fact some of his ideas would make for a good radio series.

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Hip Hop,dont stop till you get enough!!we have had enough,boring boring boring,not RnB not Soul,last but not least, not Northernsoul ie;not intrested anyway you can keep your Box`s they mean shit here,if its good enough its good enough,this CD aint` thumbsup.gif

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Slightly OT but did anyone else see the programme last night (part of the BBC Out of Africa series) "The many faces of the black icon".

I really enjoyed it, especially when Towana & the Natural Destruction was slipped into the soundtrack.

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For what it's worth, my tuppance ha'penny worth. I thought the series was excellent. it couldn't go into the depth we would have liked here but it served to highlight points in the history of Soul that will hopefully spark an interest in those who didn't know much beyond the obvious. I do think the linking together of the old and the new is very important whether anyone like newer stuff or not.

Re- "The Many Faces Of The Black Icon".

I watched this Ali (managed to miss the start though !) and enjoyed it too.

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For what it's worth, my tuppance ha'penny worth. I thought the series was excellent. it couldn't go into the depth we would have liked here but it served to highlight points in the history of Soul that will hopefully spark an interest in those who didn't know much beyond the obvious. I do think the linking together of the old and the new is very important whether anyone like newer stuff or not. 

Re- "The Many Faces Of The Black Icon".

I watched this Ali (managed to miss the start though !) and enjoyed it too.

link

I thought it was excellent as well Simon [ and anyone else who's read Rob's article ] , though , as Rob points out in his critique , many important landmarks were missed ,[ " doo - wop " etc ] , which would leave the average viewer in the dark as to the beginnings and roots of the music we love . I'd would have preferred to have had these events addressed , rather than a whole programme on Ray Charles . Didn't see the last programme , but if there was no mention of Gamble and Huff and the Philly Sound throughout the series then it's a crying shame , as their productions dominated the clubs and airwaves throughout the early to mid 70's and beyond . On the funk side of things , I've never understood the attraction of Artists such as Parliament , Funkadelic etc , great fun maybe , but compared to the lyrical and productive brilliance of records like " Heart Trouble " , " Don't Be Sore At Me " etc they have little relevance to real Soul Music . Was suprised to see the CD end with Bobby Brown , what about the new breed of Soul singers like Angie Stone , Jahiem or Joe , who if the average viewer got to hear , would maybe start buying Soul music again . I know the BBC only had 6 hours to play with , and the footage shown was superb [ especially the Otis Redding progaramme ] but it still left me thinking about the many brilliant Artists and producers they missed the boat with . Best Wishes ,Eddie .

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Bit slow off the mark replying but thanks Rob for the feedback on the Southern show.

Rob - I think all your points are valid and I must be honest and say that the series was also a disappointment for me. I think the main issue for me was that TV presents a big problem when you want to tell a story - you need footage to go with the story and that was the main problem - either it didn't exist or they did not have access. Then budget comes into it because the more interviews you do the costlier it gets plus the bigger the story - where do you begin and end? I think choosing one artist was an interesting approach but flawed because it ends up miscuing the story. Some of the original ideas got lost - for instance they were planning a Big City Soul show with Chuck Jackson, Freddie Scott, Howard Tate etc centred on New York and the Brill Building.

I did try to get more involved in the series as soon as I knew it was happening which was early last year. However, the Beeb had there own views about what they wanted and I only helped them on the Southern show especially finding the James Carr footage, setting up interviews with the likes of Roosevelt Jamieson, Quinton Claunch etc and they also drew heavily on my Fate and Chance on The Dark End of The Street for the re-enactment of James in a bar etc.

However, I will treasure the original footage and the interviews even if the overall story and concept was flawed.

Best wishes

Colin Dilnot

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