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Showing posts from May, 2017

Funking Up The Dance Floor Part 5

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Ashford & Simpson were a husband-and-wife songwriting-production team and recording duo of Nickolas Ashford (May 4, 1941 – August 22, 2011) and Valerie Simpson (born August 26, 1946). They met at Harlem's White Rock Baptist Church in 1964. After having recorded unsuccessfully as a duo, they started to work with a former member of the Ikettes, Joshie Jo Armstead, at the Scepter/Wand label. Their compositions were recorded by Ronnie Milsap ("Never Had It So Good"), Maxine Brown ("One Step at a Time"), as well as the Shirelles and Chuck Jackson. Another of the trio's songs, "Let's Go Get Stoned", gave Ray Charles a number one U.S. R&B hit in 1966. That same year, Ashford & Simpson joined Motown, where their best-known songs included "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)". Ash…

Mellow Moods: Soft Rock For Summer Days

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The Smooth Operators present to you a new episode of Mellow Moods: Soft Rock For Summer Days. Soft rock is a musical subgenre that originated in the early days of rock and roll and developed into a separate radio format on FM in the early 1970s. It can be described as a style of light, melodic, radio-friendly rock music. It employs clean, highly polished production values and arrangements.

Before Heart became big in all kinds of ways in the US (big hair, big sound, big sales, big stadiums), they had a more intimate folk-rock sound. The band led by the American sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson started their career in Canada. They had a couple of hits around the mid-seventies in the Netherlands, like 'Magic man', 'Crazy on you' and 'Dreamboat Annie'. Martijn Soetens and I selected the latter for this soft rock part of Mellow Moods by The Smooth Operators. When their commercial success seemed to dry up, Heart signed to Capitol Records and their first album for their n…

Smooth Sailing: Summer Wine & Samba Time

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The track by Jim Spencer is from the upcoming compilation ‘Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht’, out next month:

“With pop music's volume knob adjusted for deflation in the early '70s, softness begat smoothness. Crewmen arrived from the worlds of jazz, folk, rock and soul, all peddling a product that was sincere, leisurely and lofty. A sound that was buoyant, crisp, defined. Sometimes classified as west-coast and, later, yacht rock, the focus is on blue-eyed harmonies in the vein of f.i. Hall & Oates, the cocaine-dusted Fender Rhodes of Michael McDonald, or the combover strums of James Taylor.”

It’s not exactly smooth music, but ‘Summer wine’ written and sung by Lee Hazlewood (in a duet with Nancy Sinatra) is an outstanding summer song. It describes a summer love as some kind of a drug (‘my head felt twice its size’) in a very poetical way. It seems to be sung by an old villain and an innocent girl. It’s the well-known theme of Little Red Riding Hood (the wolf and the maide…

Best of 70s Soul: A Hot Melting Pot

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Have you watched The Get Down on Netflix yet? It's basically a story about girls loving disco and guys loving hip hop... Very well done, though!

“Set in New York in 1977, this music-driven drama series chronicles the rise of hip-hop and the last days of disco -– told through the lives, music, art and dance of the South Bronx kids who would change the world forever.”

Some of the songs that I selected are from the second part of the series, available on Netflix now. The soundtrack gave me the inspiration for this part of ‘Best Of 70s Soul’. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

The Brothers Johnson – Get The Funk Out Ma Face (1976)
Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight (1979)
The Dells – No Way Back (1976)
Diana Ross – No One Gets the Prize [Danny Krivit Edit] (1979)
Pearly Gates – Fandango Dancing (1979)
Maxine Nightingale – Right Back From Where We Started From (1976)
Gwen McCrae ‎– 90% Of Me Is You (1974)
The Four Seasons – Who Loves You (1975)
Eddie Harris – It’s All Right Now (1976)
The Honeydrippes – Impeach T…

Art Of The Mixtape: Funky Chill Couch Entertainment

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This is my entry to the ‘Art Of The Mixtape’ competition. An employee of Mixcloud called me ‘the king of funky chill’ on social media a few months ago, after reaching one million plays. That’s very nice, of course, but let me explain first what funky chill actually is, according to me. In short, it’s delicate funky music on which you can move your toes, fingers and head, but not both your feet. Or, in other words, funky chill is soulful music that you can enjoy best on your couch and not on the dance floor. The mood bounces between chill out and slow dancing. It’s musically a relaxed melting pot of soul, funk and jazz. At times not far away from a few small dance steps... So enjoy and ‘do what you wanna do’, to quote T-Connection!

Tracklist:

Cléa Vincent – Samba (2017)
Sabrina Malheiros – Cade Voce [Max Cole & Beatnik Remix] (2006)
Agatino Romero Feat. Jette – Ain’t No Sunshine (2017)
Willy Santana ‎– Mais Uma Chance (1981)
Otis Clay – The Only Way Is Up (1980)
Peach! – 80’s Mercedes (…