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Roburt

Why Does 60's / 70's Soul Sound So Timeless

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I don't want this topic to instantly descend into a era based slagging match and I certainly don't want to piss off MS fans with the thread title (after all I'm a big MS fan myself) .... but just why has the soul music laid down in studios over 30 years ago stood the test of time so well.

Back then, most people involved (singers, musicians, songwriters, producers) had no formal musical training,the instruments used (many times) were cheap & rudimentary. Studios were housed in make-shift buildings and utilised simplistic, beat-up recording equipment. Song writers were (lots of the time) people who the school system had failed, who had trouble with skills such as spelling and stringing sentences together.

Yet, the music that resulted when all those folk got together was little short of magical (much of the time).

Back then, the singers had dedication and would practise on street corners & in friend's basements for hours on end to hone their vocal skills. Even when there seemed little prospect of an outfit progressing to getting real bookings & eventually making it into a recording studio, they would still practise for hours. Young musicians would be inspired by the likes of the Funk Brothers or the Chess, Stax or Fame studio band members and be inspired to try to play as well as their heroes. Producers / arrangers would spend hours going over parts of a song to improve it's form, they would then lift those in the studio with them to produce their very best efforts. Producers would also develop ties with local music schools to gain access to whole string / brass sections that ordinarily they couldn't hope to have the money to hire. These players would add their efforts to trcks for little financial gain but in the knowledge that they were improving their skills, learning new tricks and had something good to add to their CV's.

Move on 20 years, and their were 32 track studios just about everywhere. 100's of formally educated people were gaining qualifications from music schools and the range of new musical developments (keyboards, etc.) was continuing to appear. Recorded sounds could be slowed down, speeded up, or replayed backwards. Computers were beginning to appear in studios. The industry was making money hand over fist and so investment in new facilities was exploding.

Move forward to today and lots of the creative spark seems to have gone out of the musical side of recording. Loads of effort goes into the technology utilised & what use it is put to .... but something (most times) does seem to be sadly lacking in the final product.

Singers who can't sing live end up with massive hits; X Factor shows rule the roost and 'music biz svengalis' make all the decisions on who cuts what and where. Many times, to end up with a new hit, the studio crew just sample a hook from an old 60's / 70's track and loop it many times to create a 'new tune'.

Everything today is set up (apart from cost cutting corner cutting processes) to make new music be better than the old stuff ............. but very rarely is it actually better or even as good. WHY ?????

Edited by Roburt

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Of course, not all the 60's soul hits were truely original. Lots of chart cuts featured 're-worded' gospel faves ........... so an already proven song (with a few word changes & a funkier arrangement) became a popular soul track (or pop hit) but many times top records featured new singers on an original song cut in a 'back street' studio out in the sticks.

One guy who has real talent (singing / writing wise) is Sam Dees .......... his talent knows little limit.

He honed his skills back in the 60's / 70's and held onto all the talent he had developed. His genius was appreciated by the music biz types steering Whitney Houston's career and she cut a number of his songs.

One song he wrote that both he (on demo & live) sang and that Whitney turned into a hit album track was "Lover For Life".

I had a copy of Sam's demo of this song before I even heard Whitney's take so always loved his original version the best ... but even her version was very good.

After the song had become etched in my brain, I actually saw the lyrics written down.

The song conveys really strong emotional feeling and yet when you scan the actual lyrics, they are quite simplistic .............

.................................

I hope you realize baby

Just what you mean to me

Hey you where I run for cover

Your loving shelter for me

And when I find myself needing some lifting up

One night with you and that always is enough

How you make being in love

A true rare affair

So take me I'm your prisoner

Will you sentence me to be your lover for life

Your lover for life

Will you sentence me

I want to be your lover for life

Your lover for life r+for+life_20146365.html ]

I just want to hear you say

You'll be my lover, lover for life

Capture, there's no getaway

You're my lover, my lover for life

Under your spell or under my own power

It really doesn't matter to me

See I fell in love the first time I saw you

And I have been falling in love ever since

You heard my testimony

You've seen my evidence

Hey, it's a crime of passion

In every sense

And justice would decide

If you stay here in my world

Take me I'm your prisoner

Just goes to show, keeping it simple is the best answer lots of the time. Lots of newer guys involved in the biz seem to get too tied into the technology available and fail to stick to bog basic first principles.

Edited by Roburt

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More Sam Dees magic ............ he learnt his skills in soul's golden period & never let go of those prinicpals .........

... the 'best of the best' who came later were wise enough to make use of his work .........

post-22122-0-93266500-1354524620_thumb.j

Edited by Roburt

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No actual example of Sam actually singing Sam yet .............

... had to put that right ...... & I could just have easily jumped many years & put up "After All" ....

But back then, it wasn't just Sam ..... there was Curtis, Smokey, Sam Cooke, H-D-H, Gamble & Huff, the Fame, Quinvy, Stax, Motown gangs + many many more.

Edited by Roburt

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60's/70's soul isn't timeless, it sounds like it was of it's time and has stood the test of time. It's pretty clear generally when it was made.

cheers Sutty

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I don't want this topic to instantly descend into a era based slagging match and I certainly don't want to piss off MS fans with the thread title (after all I'm a big MS fan myself) .... but just why has the soul music laid down in studios over 30 years ago stood the test of time so well.

Back then, most people involved (singers, musicians, songwriters, producers) had no formal musical training,the instruments used (many times) were cheap & rudimentary. Studios were housed in make-shift buildings and utilised simplistic, beat-up recording equipment. Song writers were (lots of the time) people who the school system had failed, who had trouble with skills such as spelling and stringing sentences together.

Yet, the music that resulted when all those folk got together was little short of magical (much of the time).

Back then, the singers had dedication and would practise on street corners & in friend's basements for hours on end to hone their vocal skills. Even when there seemed little prospect of an outfit progressing to getting real bookings & eventually making it into a recording studio, they would still practise for hours. Young musicians would be inspired by the likes of the Funk Brothers or the Chess, Stax or Fame studio band members and be inspired to try to play as well as their heroes. Producers / arrangers would spend hours going over parts of a song to improve it's form, they would then lift those in the studio with them to produce their very best efforts. Producers would also develop ties with local music schools to gain access to whole string / brass sections that ordinarily they couldn't hope to have the money to hire. These players would add their efforts to trcks for little financial gain but in the knowledge that they were improving their skills, learning new tricks and had something good to add to their CV's.

Move on 20 years, and their were 32 track studios just about everywhere. 100's of formally educated people were gaining qualifications from music schools and the range of new musical developments (keyboards, etc.) was continuing to appear. Recorded sounds could be slowed down, speeded up, or replayed backwards. Computers were beginning to appear in studios. The industry was making money hand over fist and so investment in new facilities was exploding.

Move forward to today and lots of the creative spark seems to have gone out of the musical side of recording. Loads of effort goes into the technology utilised & what use it is put to .... but something (most times) does seem to be sadly lacking in the final product.

Singers who can't sing live end up with massive hits; X Factor shows rule the roost and 'music biz svengalis' make all the decisions on who cuts what and where. Many times, to end up with a new hit, the studio crew just sample a hook from an old 60's / 70's track and loop it many times to create a 'new tune'.

Everything today is set up (apart from cost cutting corner cutting processes) to make new music be better than the old stuff ............. but very rarely is it actually better or even as good. WHY ?????

Simple IMHO, the one fundamental component that sets SOUL apart from any music FEELING,loads of the stuff we like has an unpolished production feel to it due to what you have touched on, lack of studio time, obviously down to lack of finance, but that adds to the appeal, Soul to me is about the feeling and intensity, not neccessarily the quality, don,t get me wrong, for example The Impressions and The Temptations were probably afforded the studio time to get it exactly right and the stuff they churned out is forever in the history books, but, theres a fascination about 4 or 5 guys or gals (or 1 or 2 for that matter) cramped in a ghetto studio trying to get their thing over in the 30 minutes their budget allows, and i can say with confidence theres a lot of stuff in all of our collections that are a result of that scenario

Kev

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My children hate me playing my music in the car, with shouts of "Get that old soul stuff off.... We want to hear something more modern".

I don't think you can say that modern released music is worse or not as good as old releases and I firmly believe you also have to put music into context of when it was recorded and what was going on at the time. Production values and technology also significantly changes the way music is made and I know my son doesn’t give a fig for a good string section, but love’s a good baseline as that’s what he’s latched onto music wise as his taste has developed.

This forum’s music taste is slanted towards songs recorded 40 odd years, so the consensus would be yes older is better, but put the same question to a forum focussed on newer released material the opposite view would dominate.

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Of course music is of its time. 60's music sounds like 60's music, etc, etc.

But why do simple tunes cut in rudimentary studios by guys (gals) with little formal musical education still sound so great all these years later (I can't see much 90's music still finding a big audience in 40+ years time).

......... and it's not just me who thinks this way ......

...... over 50% of TV ads seem to feature 60's / 70's tracks and if ad men didn't think they would still 'sell product' then they wouldn't still be using them.

And if kids today don't like 'old music' why do so many of the tracks they do like listening to start out being built around a classic 60's / 70's soul sample ??

Edited by Roburt

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Generally 60's & 70's music sounds like just that, music made in the 60's and 70's. However, i am a strong believer in good music being timeless. The music will always still sound like it was released in the time it was, but if its good the song will always have an appeal long after it was made. And to be fair, there was so much dross released in the time by these small studios by un-knowns, that really does not stand the test of time. But its those gems that do stand the test of time that makes the soul scene worth following.

Also, i dont know what music you have been listening to from the 90's? There was so much great music released in that decade, in a wide array of genres. I definitly think bands like Oasis, Blur, Pulp, OCS, Cast, Stone Roses, Suede etc will definitely have a following in 40+ years time. And on the other end of the spectrum, i reckon there will still be a following for acts like the Spice Girls etc, just like there still is for 60's/70's pop...

Edited by NorthernJordan

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There is no true soul music made these days. Anyone who believes that is just kidding themselves. Artists who were good may still make revival records and there might be productions which pastiche the textures of true soul music but they can't compete with the real thing. How can they and why indeed should they?

'Soul' was a flavour of R&B which had a finite timespan: from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s with rare exceptions either way. The culture which produced the soul boom has changed. The music has changed accordingly.

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Also, i dont know what music you have been listening to from the 90's? There was so much great music released in that decade, in a wide array of genres. I definitly think bands like Oasis, Blur, Pulp, OCS, Cast, Stone Roses, Suede etc will definitely have a following in 40+ years time. And on the other end of the spectrum, i reckon there will still be a following for acts like the Spice Girls etc, just like there still is for 60's/70's pop...

I think they will still be remembered but only in the way that we enjoy looking back with radio shows like Pick Of The Pops, I just listened to saturdays edition featuring 1965 and it was fantastic. I don't think that any of the named bands will be revered in the way that The Beatles have been for the last 50 years.

Edited by Pete S

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There is no true soul music made these days. Anyone who believes that is just kidding themselves. Artists who were good may still make revival records and there might be productions which pastiche the textures of true soul music but they can't compete with the real thing. How can they and why indeed should they?

'Soul' was a flavour of R&B which had a finite timespan: from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s with rare exceptions either way. The culture which produced the soul boom has changed. The music has changed accordingly.

I find plenty of 'soul' in current celtic folk music.

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I think they will still be remembered but only in the way that we enjoy looking back with radio shows like Pick Of The Pops, I just listened to saturdays edition featuring 1965 and it was fantastic. I don't think that any of the named bands will be revered in the way that The Beatles have been for the last 50 years.

I get your point, i dont know if they will be revered as much as bands like The Beatles. But, i definitely think that there is so many albums that will stand the test of time from the 90's and will still have a following 40 years down the line. Just like every other decade has and will create great music.

Edited by NorthernJordan

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and it turns into another 'best before 70' or 'best before it all went disco' debate. Only quoting rock acts as doing anything in the last 30 years shows how little soul music people have listened to. I agree this shouldn't be a 'northern' vs 'modern' debate or whatever, as they're only words that describe scenes, but really, if you haven't bothered searching for music made after 1970-whatever then how can you really make a statement that nobody makes soul music anymore. appears people dig enough for old music and just don't even look beyond the surface of any of the later stuff, you've got to be in it to win it.

IMHO :)

cheers Sutty

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There is no true soul music made these days. Anyone who believes that is just kidding themselves. Artists who were good may still make revival records and there might be productions which pastiche the textures of true soul music but they can't compete with the real thing. How can they and why indeed should they?

'Soul' was a flavour of R&B which had a finite timespan: from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s with rare exceptions either way. The culture which produced the soul boom has changed. The music has changed accordingly.

Well Mr Sweeney, and your likee Mr Cane, I don't think I have ever been able to say you are both talking bollocks, and sadly this is another time I can't, but I think you are both being a little harsh, especially Mr Cane bearing in mind his comment about a deep soul CD that I made of purely Y2k music, although admittedly a large number of old school acts.

As the wise Mr Sutton says, there are a number of us kidding ourselves, and having fun doing so. Its difficult to argue overall with Gareth's premis, and particularly the large large majority of UK people would agree I suspect, but there are a small number of Black Americans who disagree and this is good enough for me to keep kidding myself and occasionally digging out a gem that makes me moist and erect at same time, just like Sam Dees has always done. Surely thats enough to keep digging (although I should say that digging now for me means reading EMS and copying the more astute diggers on there) and saying thanks by spending £7 on a intangible music file. Its not for everyone, and there aren't very many signed Ms Heroins or This Heart Is Haunted, but there are lots of good danceable tunes that certainly are far more MOBO than large swathes of NS, and indeed cannot be denied as MOSO, if not just contemporary soul. I suppose it depends on if you believe only in creation or if you can can stretch to evolution. Long may these arguments persist as it means there is some relevant music to debate, for some.

I am happy to debate this on wider soul basis, and even provide a few exceptions, but if people are genuinely trying to do this on a Northern only basis, which I suspect most so far aren't then I am out. After hidding my head on the brick wall smiley!

And as usual John, I have absolutely no idea of the point you are trying to make through your numerous clippings, none of which seem to add together to make a coherent point. For someone who has such a great knowledge, may I be so bold as to say you often lose people with what seems slightly researched and poorly put together threads, that turn into almost stream of consciousness like. Which is a shame as I suspect you are one of the ones I could learn lots about the music I love. Hopefully not taken as an insult, just some constructive criticism to help me get more from you, I am selfish that way.. . :lol:

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I get your point, i dont know if they will be revered as much as bands like The Beatles. But, i definitely think that there is so many albums that will stand the test of time from the 90's and will still have a following 40 years down the line. Just like every other decade has and will create great music.

You are arguing with old people that have forgotten their dad said the same to them.... :thumbup:

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I find plenty of 'soul' in current celtic folk music.

Aww Michael, don't start that old Chestnut again or I will arrange for Ivan Sproule to be repackaged and send back down to you guys!

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You make good points as ever Jock, but for me personally the quality of this music dropped off a cliff face for any number of reasons towards the end of the seventies.

Budgets, demographics and a simple evolution of how and why African-American people made music meant that mainstream R&B fundamentally changed at that point. Of course there are exceptions since then, but really, where are the "What's Going On", "Curtis", "Friction" or "Black Bach" of the 80s and 90s?

The major artistic statements filled with craft, passion, insight and creative flair?

Where indeed are the releases which exhibit even competent skill in songwriting or production or arrangement?

Where are the truly exceptional new vocalists to rival a Sam Cooke, Johnnie Taylor, an OV Wright, Jerry Butler, or a Linda Jones, Judy Clay or Bettye Swann?

Where are the great standard songs like "A Change Is Gonna Come" or "Dark End Of The Street" or "Let's Stay Together" or "Let's Straighten It Out"?

Sutty can accuse me of ignoring a whole swathe of music, but he would be wrong to do so. I bought new US releases religiously until the mid 90s, until I woke up and was finally able to smell the coffee: that very little of it had any artistic merit, and that even average or poor discs from soul's Golden Age were functionally superior in practically every single way to even the best of the output of the 80s and 90s.

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where are the "What's Going On", "Curtis", "Friction" or "Black Bach" of the 80s and 90s?

This is my view, but in the 80's & 90's Black America moved away from Soul as its main social mouthpiece and used Rap for creating both innovation and raising issues. With the likes of (at the time): Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Dr Dre and NWA's output the pinacle of its genre.

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Well Mr Sweeney, and your likee Mr Cane, I don't think I have ever been able to say you are both talking bollocks, and sadly this is another time I can't, but I think you are both being a little harsh, especially Mr Cane bearing in mind his comment about a deep soul CD that I made of purely Y2k music, although admittedly a large number of old school acts.

As the wise Mr Sutton says, there are a number of us kidding ourselves, and having fun doing so. Its difficult to argue overall with Gareth's premis, and particularly the large large majority of UK people would agree I suspect, but there are a small number of Black Americans who disagree and this is good enough for me to keep kidding myself and occasionally digging out a gem that makes me moist and erect at same time, just like Sam Dees has always done. Surely thats enough to keep digging (although I should say that digging now for me means reading EMS and copying the more astute diggers on there) and saying thanks by spending £7 on a intangible music file. Its not for everyone, and there aren't very many signed Ms Heroins or This Heart Is Haunted, but there are lots of good danceable tunes that certainly are far more MOBO than large swathes of NS, and indeed cannot be denied as MOSO, if not just contemporary soul. I suppose it depends on if you believe only in creation or if you can can stretch to evolution. Long may these arguments persist as it means there is some relevant music to debate, for some.

I am happy to debate this on wider soul basis, and even provide a few exceptions, but if people are genuinely trying to do this on a Northern only basis, which I suspect most so far aren't then I am out. After hidding my head on the brick wall smiley!

And as usual John, I have absolutely no idea of the point you are trying to make through your numerous clippings, none of which seem to add together to make a coherent point. For someone who has such a great knowledge, may I be so bold as to say you often lose people with what seems slightly researched and poorly put together threads, that turn into almost stream of consciousness like. Which is a shame as I suspect you are one of the ones I could learn lots about the music I love. Hopefully not taken as an insult, just some constructive criticism to help me get more from you, I am selfish that way.. . :lol:

Great reply Mr O,connor, and I can,t think of two better examples of records that I would use to compare what was then, and what is in comparison since, I asked the members of the "Raders" where Lee Jones was when they were at Prestatyn, "driving a truck" came the reply, I felt like crying, point is exactly what the thread asked at the beginning, with the very odd exception, there are no Lee Jones anymore, and his like will set the 60,s and 70,s apart forever. Yes Jock, that year 2K CD was an absolute belter mate

Kev

NB. Anyone lucky enough to own The Masqueraders "How big is big" flip it over and here Mr Jones at his scorching best(Please take me back), the 80,s onwards didn,t provide enough stuff like this for me. (not saying there wasn,t any, just not enough)

Edited by kev cane

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This is my view, but in the 80's & 90's Black America moved away from Soul as its main social mouthpiece and used Rap for creating both innovation and raising issues.

Exactly. Mainstream soul didn't just slip away, it evolved into something else. It only sounds 'timeless' to it's ardent fans. Sylvia Robinson has a lot to answer for though! :thumbup:

Regards,

Dave

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I have a nomination for the "Whats Goin On" of the 90s. Arrested Development - 3 years 5 Months 2 Days in the life of

Hippy hip hop with more soul than you can shake a stick at. IMO of course. And while it didn't have the mass appeal of Marvin's masterpiece, I think this is a masterpiece in its own right, with as much to say about the early 90s, as WGO had to say about the early 70s.

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Timelessness is a bit hard to pin down in any case. Great art should be representative of its time while being able to transcend it as well. A tricky balancing act.

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Why Does 60's / 70's Soul Sound So Timeless

I don't think it does sound 'timeless' at all - I think it sounds like the 60s and 70s - in fact I would say it is 'of its time', which is why it is so fabulous - when music talks of a time, a place, a set of circumstances, what was happening to people at the time it was made, it is often excellent :yes:

Cheers

Richard

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i will weigh on this debate with two points:

- first: yes, it is "timeless" in the sense that people get blown away by it on the first listen. you all (just generalizing here) run in circles of very knowledgable soul types - i don't. i DJ in places where folks are young (20s-30s) and have NO knowledge of soul beyond "oldies" Temps/Aretha/M Gaye/Supremes... and when i play them rare northern stuff they are just BLOWN away (and these are tough crowds that don't mind giving you the business when they don't like stuff). they simply can't believe how music that is so good can be so unknown. so...i would agree with "Roburt" that it IS a "special" slice of music history.

- second: WHY was it so good? I think because you had a concurrence of four things almost unique in history.

----you had tons of young people that had some free time and disposable income (not working 18 hr days in the fields or factory)

----you had lots of "home grown" musicians and singers (due to church choirs and sitting on street corners playing/singing)

----and kids were not yet poisoned with TV/internet/video games to destroy their attention span and skill sets (which results in "musicians" today who can barely take the time to stitch some beats, samples, overdubs, auto-tuned vocals, and "raps" together on a 64 track computer program into a cacophonic mess)

----and, finally, there was not a global homogeneity of culture as there is today. each american region (and each city and maybe even each neighborhood) was working/creating in near isolation - so you have thousands of petri dishes cooking up awesome stuff instead of one massive "least common denominator"/Sony corporation/Jonas Brothers/Jay-Z global media cauldron corralling most artists in one direction simultaneously

Edited by ljblanken

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