Good question! Personally, I blame Otis Redding! The first time that I heard Dock Of The Bay, Hard to Handle, Respect and Love Man I was hooked, line and sinker. It was that voice. I’d never heard anything quite like it before. I was totally blown away. It was a definite life changing experience, nothing was ever the same again.
Prior to that moment I was listening to all the usual stuff: The Beatles, The Who and the Stones. What I failed to realise was, at the time, they were largely playing soul and rhythm and blues covers, by artistes such as the Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles and Howling Wolf. The realisation that all this other alien stuff was out there all the time was a revelation! So there it was – a whole new world of fantastic music. It seemed like before that, the world was monochrome and now it was bathed in a glorious technicolour!! Also, rock music seemed to have lost it’s way, being mainly performed by po-faced men in long black coats and frilly shirts who didn’t make jokes very often, and made albums with titles such as; Tales from Topographic Oceans, Atom Heart Mother, In the Court of the Crimson King and Brain Salad Surgery!! And on the other hand you had great soul music, which was music for grown-ups!! Music for whooping and dancing, music for the heart and the feet, an invariably terrific sound performed by musicians that could play and singers that could sing!
So, when somebody asked me and a few mates to put a band together for a Christmas party, there was no problem in choosing the music we’d play!!! Previously, I had been part of various bands playing different types of music such as; garage rock, soft rock, folk rock, reggae inspired rock, funk rock, pop rock, acoustic rock, progressive rock, hard rock, punk rock, post-punk rock, indi rock, glam rock, psychedelic rock, new wave rock, latin rock, jazz rock, brighton rock, stick-of rock, ayres rock etc. etc., It always felt a bit like eating a Chinese meal, good at the time but very quickly left you with an empty feeling.
Nothing compares with the power of soul, particularly Southern soul from the Stax/Volt label and early Motown label. Nothing else connects with an audience quite like soul music and nothing else communicates to all age groups in the way that soul music does. Nothing else has that energy, raw power and honesty, with honking horns, powerful vocals and pounding, exploding rhythms!!
Can I get a witness?! Let me hear you say yeah!!!