Happy Valentine’s Day

by Belle Waring on February 14, 2017

Doilies! Glitter! Overpriced prix fixe menus! But there are songs too.

Is this the best soul song ever? Wait, no, the most beautiful? The way he makes his voice break on “please hear my cry” blows my mind every time.

I hope you all eat chocolate or enjoy the highest pleasure of souls entwined who, the modeling the other on Zeus, begin to grow wings because of their intense attraction to and vivid memory of the Forms, or whatever. But with less physical restraint? (The Phaedrus is not crystal clear on this point.) I’m going to finally see my honey at 10 pm on Monday!



M Caswell 02.14.17 at 5:21 pm

Sometimes (but only sometimes) I think this version is even better.


Bill Benzon 02.14.17 at 6:33 pm

Dig the French horn obbligato behind Cooke, weaving in and out.


oldster 02.14.17 at 6:51 pm

There is no most beautiful soul song. They are arranged in a hierarchy of beauty that ascends infinitely, without bound, even as it sometimes loops around like an Escher staircase.

More beautiful than Sam Cooke are the songs of Marvin and Tammi, the most unabashed celebrations of love requited and fulfilled. But more beautiful still are the heart-rending torch songs of Little Anthony, the male weepies like “Going Out of My Head,” and better than that is the tear-soaked styling of Lenni Welch singing “Since I fell for you.” But better still are the songs of Smoky and Stevie, and if you want to claim that Sam Cooke is better than those, well, it will just prove my point.

Hey, I’m glad you’re going to see your honey. His blog-posts are all arrant nonsense, but he seems like a nice enough bloke and I’m sure he means well.


JPL 02.16.17 at 7:40 am

oldster @3:

Interesting that you should think of the Motown songs. That was a different era of pop music: Have we lost something forever with love songs? (Motown was “the sound of young America”.) You could at least have posted a song, like Marvin Gaye’s live performance of “Distant lover”, where he caused a mass swoon. Anyway, here’s a song for somebody who feels good about somebody, still, after all this time, and are going to finally see their “sweetie-pie” at 10 PM on Monday. (BTW, if you were dancing, this is/was definitely a romantic song!)


oldster 02.16.17 at 2:48 pm

JPL, and anyone else who likes Motown:

check out the youtube channel of someone who goes by “Mosogotam”, and uploads remixes of classic soul hits. His or her m.o. is to isolate different tracks and weave them into an extended version of the original. It allows you to hear levels of genius you had not known about, craftsmanship and inspiration built into tracks you thought you knew by heart.

E.g., the remix of Stevie Wonder’s “I was Born to Love Her,” which starts with a few choruses just reveling in the amazing guitar work. Did you know there was great guitar work in that song? Then he moves on to isolate James Jamerson’s bass, then blends in the backing vocals, then let’s Stevie have a few choruses, then spotlights the keyboards (there seems to be at least 4 keyboard tones used: hammond, harpsichord, pipe-voicing, and toy piano) and finally fades out with the genius of JJ once again.

It will make you fall in love again with your favorite soul tracks. Also great video work, too, like his synching of “Heatwave” with original footage of the beautiful Martha and the Vs. He has dug up footage of Marvin singing “Ain’t That Peculiar” in a crazy James Bond send-up where he looks like a cross between Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope (seriously–check the nose).

Yeah, Marvin had an incredible magnetism. There’s a video of him doing “Let’s get it on” on Soultrain where this one woman is so mesmerized that her boy-friend intervenes physically to pull her away.


oldster 02.16.17 at 3:05 pm

“I Was *MADE* to Love Her,” of course.

I did not provide links because I don’t want to mess up the posts, and it is easy enough to search on youtube with the name “mosogotam” plus the song-name.


JPL 02.17.17 at 9:40 am

oldster @ 5:

Thanks for the tip; I checked it out. I thought his/her versions — both of them — of the Four Tops “Just ask the lonely” were particularly effective. That’s a bloody great song, in a lot of ways. (Apparently, the Four Tops, together with the female group, the Andantes, doing the backing vocals on this song, were doing the backing vocals on the track I posted. You can hear how they used the “wall of sound” idea, so beloved of the critics and later used to great effect by Marvin Gaye.)

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