I’m a huge fan of the oldies. I mean, I’ve often felt that I was born at the wrong time because there is just as much Motown in my catalog as there is modern.
I loved the sound, the soul, and the seduction of the great voices of that era: Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Eddie Kendricks, The Jackson 5, The Temptations, etc. They offered so much emotion and raw pain in their delivery. So much truth.
When Sam Cooke sang “A Change Is Gonna Come”, you knew that he was hoping for something better in the future. The same angst and longing could be heard in Curtis Mayfield’s voice when he belted out “People Get Ready”. Their words meant something because they were speaking from the heart about a time when pain was prevalent and hope was personal.
You just don’t hear that kind of music these days. The content of today is full of the superficial—money, cars, clothes. It’s all about being flashy and looking like a centerfold. There’s nothing personal or real about the words—no meaning behind the stories being told. It’s very disheartening.
That said, one of my all-time favorite artists from that time period is Aretha Franklin. I’ve always felt that she epitomized soulful. Her voice, her delivery, and her honesty was always something I appreciated. She didn’t mince words, even back then, and even now when I listen to her catalog, I feel a kinship with some of the words she spoke. It’s like an elder statesman giving advice to a young girl. A girl still coming into her own.
So, upon learning of the possibility of her having pancreatic cancer, I felt compelled to write a small tribute to the woman that has played such a huge role in my world. These are 10 of the songs that, for whatever reason, have always struck a chord within me.
1. ‘Dr. Feelgood’: That first line always gives me a slight chuckle. I’m feeling Sister Re all the way through this one.
2. ‘Call Me’: There is nothing tougher than letting a loved one go. Re puts that longing to hear their voice again into words in this one.
3. ‘Never Loved a Man‘: The basic message is simple, “you make me crazy”.
4. ‘Baby, Baby, Baby’: A powerful song about love and letting go.
5. ‘Do Right Woman, Do Right Man‘: Self-explanatory. Just listen.
6. ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who’:
7. ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’:
8. ‘Put You Up On Game’:
9. ‘A Rose Is Still A Rose’: A personal favorite of my mom—for good reason.
10. ‘Freeway of Love’: