~ Like the ripples in a pond, the work of one man spreads out and touches the lives of others ~

From The Soul of One ~ To The Hearts Of Many
Taylor Hicks "The Distance"

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Do You Like Good Music?

When Arthur Conley shouts "Do you like good music?" on "Sweet Soul Music", the resounding response is "Yeah! Yeah!"

"Soul music is gospel music for everyone - black or white, sinner or saint and it lifted me up like nothing before or since.
Soul music didn't just touch my soul; I think it awakened it for the very first time."

~ Taylor Hicks ~

video: "Sweet Soul Music" performed by Taylor Hicks
American Idol Concert on 7-7-06 Manchester, New Hampshire

The majority of major label releases, or music that you hear on the radio today, is not actually music. It is a product engineered by people in suits who sit around and discuss the best way to get money out of our pockets and into theirs. They don’t give half a hoot about the musical integrity of the “art” they commission.

When they find a trend that sticks, they milk it until there isn’t a cent left in it.
Why does every wannabe teen celebrity princess come out with an album?
Don’t you feel patronized by this?
Major labels think we are stupid and will buy what they sell because of the advertising campaign and overlook the actual music.
You are being sold a culture that you have absolutely no input in creating.
By supporting mainstream music, you are a tool in the system of the rich.
by Jemayel Khawaja

"Good people know good music when they hear it"
~ Taylor Hicks ~

"Good people" was the way in which the crowd was addressed at the Renaissance Festival I recently attended. To borrow from that era and from Taylor's quote,
"Good people I give you ... good music"

Ipod playlist:
Taylor Hicks ~ "Georgia"
Freddie Scott ~ "Hey Girl"
Ray Charles and Michael McDonald ~ "Hey Girl"
Billy Joel ~ "Hey Girl"
Billy Paul ~ "Me and Mrs. Jones"
Taylor Hicks ~ "You Are So Beautiful"

"Hey Girl" has long been a favorite of mine in case you can't tell from the number of times it appears above in my IPOD player. I'm hoping that the next great artist that records this tune will be Taylor Hicks. He has the voice, he has the passion and he definitely has the soul! You have only to listen to his renditions of "Georgia" or "You Are So Beautiful" to imagine how Taylor would make this song his own. I often wonder if Taylor knows that this was one of Ray Charles favorite songs too?

While you are kicking back and enjoying the music - here is an excerpt from an article that I think you'll find quite interesting:

Music Rediscovers Its Vintage Soul
Soul music's origins can be traced to the mid-'50s, when artists such as Ray Charles began fusing gospel and R&B. It enjoyed mainstream popularity through most of the '70s, before the rise of disco and then hip-hop. The genre faded in the '80s as R&B reflected rap's influence, being slickly produced with less live instrumentation. At the same time, major labels catered to the vast youth market, which favored a more contemporary sound.

But in recent years, several factors have helped put vintage soul back on the cultural radar: Europe's ongoing love affair with American music, the re-emergence of older stars such as Solomon Burke, Irma Thomas and Al Green, and fans looking for something they couldn't find in the mainstream.

"I thought that once the music disappeared in the '80s, it wouldn't ever come back again," Charles Walker says. "Today, it's an underground thing. It's one of those things that club DJs and college kids are really into, and they're what's making it happening."

"Whenever you have these (economic) downturns, people turn to music that is uplifting," says Panos Panay, founder of Sonicbids, an online company that connects bands with concert promoters.
"This music resonates with people. Fans are won over by the music's authenticity. People long for the human touch that's lacking in a lot of other popular music. Soul has a familiarity to it, but it's something that hasn't been exploited a lot in recent years."

It's a struggle for soul performers to get airplay when more commercial acts fill that niche, says Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Media Research. "If you look at the urban AC chart, there are songs with a retro feel — Noel Gourdin's The River or Alicia Keys' Teenage Love Affair," Ross says. "They have some contemporary element to go with the classic feel.
Sharon Jones and Ryan Shaw take it a step further, and they're harder for radio to relate to."

But Panay points out that the definition of what's mainstream is changing. Airplay and MTV are no longer the only measures of success.
He says nearly 10% of the 160,000 bands registered with Sonicbids are soul and R&B bands. That's 20 times more than he saw a year ago. The Internet, with its multitude of bloggers and music services, and specialty retailers such as Starbucks also are driving consumption. "The curators of music today are very different from who they were just 10 years ago," Panay says. "People are discovering music in all different ways."

And not all the ways are new. At Daptone Records — home to Jones and other soul acts — recordings are made using analog equipment, and they've got a strong market for vinyl LPs and 45s. "When people get a Daptone record, they know it's going to be raw and soulful," says label co-founder and Dap-Kings bassist Gabriel Roth.

It's difficult to predict whether soul will continue growing in popularity, Charles McEnerney, producer and host of the podcast Well-Rounded Radio, says - but there's potential for greater breakthroughs.
"It wouldn't take much for any of those bands to have a fluke hit on commercial radio and interest a major label," he says. "But the desire to be on a major label now is about 'Will it get me into Wal-Mart or Target?' And the trade-off is having someone telling you how to do your music."

The bands find their best strategy is connecting directly with fans.
Playing at rock venues, "we get a lot of kids in their 20s," says Eli Reed. Sharon Jones says she has been surprised at times by the wide range of acceptance. "I was totally shocked when they had us at (Telluride) Bluegrass Festival," Jones says. "These people were a bunch of hippies into blues and rock. But once people hear us, they are into it."
excerpt from USA TODAY
By Steve Jones

Lots of info to ponder - follow the underlined links to read more and to discover or rediscover some great artists!


Today's cup:
"I don't think you could tag a certain year as the date that soul music appeared, because it didn't happen that way. It evolved over a period of time. Even today, you could ask five different people what it was and how it got started and get five different answers....

Originally, soul music had a strong element of the church, of spiritual music. It had a gospel music feeling, and then it incorporated the sound of blues music. That's soul's makeup: the fusion of gospel and blues, all mixed up together. It's the crossover of those forms of music that makes soul unique....

At first I got some criticism for playing soul music. Women sent me letters, accused me of being sacrilegious because they could pick out that gospel music was being incorporated into something that went beyond the sound they heard in church every week. They didn't realize at first how spiritual soul music could be....

And there were people who objected to soul being played on the radio because of the depth of feeling in the music. Some people thought it was too suggestive, and some thought it was just plain vulgar. But the feeling that comes through in the music --that's the essence of soul -- the word itself tells you that.
~ Ray Charles ~


Anonymous said...

The difficulties surrounding the Music Industry have been chronicled recently in many different article. How should music be distributed to the public, what has become of real music in this world of manufactured noise and who are the movers and shakers in the music business are just a few of the issues being questioned and written about.

Soul Music will be around for a long time and Taylor's sound is one that is unique, not fitting the niche demanded by today's consumer, but that will hopefully also find its own niche.

Here are three sites from TTHC fan board that delve into these issues.




I love how you ,Bloom, ask important questions as well as express your feelings about Taylor's music and other artists that touch your soul. Thanks so much for a tremendous blog.


Bloom said...

Hi Cath, thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed the blog and for the great links you supplied!

Good music stands the test of time, and so do artists that know how to keep the music 'real' and refuse to let others dictate how to make their music.

There is a niche for Taylor he just hasn't been allowed yet to fill it, but slow and steady always wins the race, even when the race is unfair.

KarinP said...

Bloom, I am often so discouraged by the music that I hear on the radio stations that I rarely turn the radio on.

There should be "something for everyone" but I think the article basically hits the nail on the head. It's all about the money and not necessarily what people want to hear. Whatever trend sells is going to be played instead of the kind of music that is actually music.

Hopefully, today's music buyers, especially the younger ones will realize that there is no sin in "daring to be different" and ultimately they will refuse to jump on the latest bandwagon when it rolls by their stop.

Good music, for me, is something that lifts my energy level or touches my heart. It is music that allows me to "hear" the words being sung and not music that is screaming at me and doesn't have any rhythm or consistent beat.

It's too bad that today's generation seems to have so much disposable income. If they were to become more discrimate in their choice of music, then perhaps the music companies and radio stations would care about the other generations who would love hear more tunes like "Hey Girl".

Now that I have said all of this, I am wondering if this is how my grandparents felt about the music that I enjoyed? Is it possible that this is a cycle that continues through the ages? I am not really sure but I guess I am going to believe that "music" is supposed to soothe the souls of those who listen to it and not bring out all of the anger that some of today's genres seem to do.

It's a tough business to succeed in and my hat is off to those genuine artists who are determined to have their voices heard.