Posts filed under: Soul/R&B

Brothers Johnson “I’ll Be Good To You” (1976)

The Brothers Johnson was the name of a moderately successful ‘70’s funk band made up of brothers George “Lightnin’ Licks” Johnson on guitar and Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson on bass (their nicknames, not mine). It’s also the collective alter ego for my high school friend Duck and I when a couple of OGs such as...... Read More

Mike Farris “Mercy Now” (2014)

All I could think to say after first hearing this song was, “What a goddamn voice.” The production is fantastic – the strings, the horns, the organ, the backing singers – but goddamn, that voice is incredible. It belongs to Mike Farris, a guy who had a somewhat notable run in the ‘90’s as the...... Read More

Professor Longhair “Big Chief”

I’d never heard of Professor Longhair before going away to college. I mean really, who the hell growing up pretty much anyplace outside of New Orleans would have? But down there he was a living legend. Only not for long. The living part, that is. He died of a heart attack in 1980, less than...... Read More

Gladys Knight & The Pips “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

Maybe there’s a better example, but I can’t think of any, where there were three different hugely popular versions of the same song. That song, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ was a smash hit for three artists – Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye, and Creedence Clearwater Revival – all within less than...... Read More

Farrelly Brothers // Electric Light Orchestra “Showdown” (1973); Smashmouth “Do It Again” (2000); Billy Stewart “Summertime” (1966)

Look, with a 2-minute graphic diarrhea scene, you either find it funny or you don’t. In other words, you probably either love Farrelly Brothers movies or hate them. Unimaginably gross, dreadfully inappropriate, off-puttingly dark, hopelessly juvenile? Check, check, check and check. Yes, I love them. I’d guess that the Farrelly’s are probably best known for...... Read More

Cliff Nobles & Co. “The Horse” (1968)

Time for another instrumental. A number of years back my friend Messiah threw himself an epic birthday party and hired an even more epic band to play it. I’ve never seen more musicians on one stage in my life – the horn section alone must’ve been a dozen guys – and a spectacular, extended version...... Read More

Cee Lo Green “Fuck You” (2010)

Revenge is, as they say, sweet. And yeah, I realize it’s also said that ‘living well is the best revenge’, but I don’t know, that seems like more of a long-term plan. Sometimes, as Otter aptly declared in Animal House, the situation just requires a really “futile and stupid gesture.” My best? In my twenties...... Read More

Booker T. & the M.G.’s “Green Onions” (1962)

And now for an instrumental break. I like instrumentals like, say, I like Krispy Kreme doughnuts – which is to say A LOT – and among them ‘Green Onions’ is like an Original Glazed: simple perfection. Booker T. & the M.G.’s classic is…is…well maybe I just won’t add any more words to a song so...... Read More

Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes “I’ve Been Working Too Hard” (1991)

Bruce Springsteen is the undisputed icon of New Jersey rock and roll, of that there’s really no doubt. But who is second, the Robin to Bruce’s boardwalk Batman? Well, it obviously would be Little Steven Van Zandt, but I’m thinking here about the next individual and band in line. So first, please, PLEASE don’t try...... Read More

Wilson Pickett “Hey Jude”

With the improbable help of a southern rock pioneer, Wilson Pickett recorded an astonishing cover of the Beatles' anthem "Hey Jude" just three months after its original release.... Read More
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