Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 18: The Temptations (The Norman Whitfield Edition)

6 Degrees of Soul: After making several hits in the traditional 60’s Motown sound, Norman Whitfield decided to change his style towards “psychedelic soul”. That transition was highly influenced by Day 17’s Sly & The Family Stone and greatly benefited Day 18’s The Temptations.

 
  
 …I’m going to assume that we all know the story of The Temptations… and will just dive into my Top 5 “Norman Whitfield / The Temptations” songs…
…Number 1: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”
…Number 2: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
…Number 3: “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep”
…Number 4: “Just My Imagination”
…Number 5: “Runaway Child, Running Wild”
…Bonus Track: “Ball of Confusion”
 
 …just for the sake of good Soul… here’s Whitfield’s first hit… by a young Marvin Gaye… one of my favorites… “Pride & Joy”
 
Norman Whitfield
…that’s soul music at it’s best…
– dre’ of onustees.com

Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 17: Sly & The Family Stone

6 Degrees of Soul: …I tried… but I seem to have hit a dead-end with the degrees of separation from Day 16’s Rotary Connection to Day 17’s Sly & the Family Stone. If you know a way… please let me know…

 
In the early seventies there were three dominating styles of funk, the godfather Jame Brown’s version, his godson’s version of Parliament-Funkadelic and the distant cousins Sly & The Family Stone. Led by Sylvester Stewart, aka Sly Stone, the groups sound an edgier rock infused form of funk than their counterparts. With brother Freddie Stone and Larry Graham (of Graham Central Station fame), the band would make some of the most memorable music of all time. At the end of the sixties, the bands music became progressively more political and synonymous with the Black Power Movement. This would both catapult and lead to the undoing of the groups success. However, One thing remains to this day… their catalog of great music.
“Dance to the Music” was initially written to satisfy the Clive Davis request of a “pop” record… the title track would become the groups first song to crack Top 10 on the charts…
…the groups breakthrough album was Stand!… check out their performance of “I Wanna Take You Higher” at Woodstock…
…here is a medley of Stone hits… “Hot Fun in the Summertime”, “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey” and “I Wanna Take You Higher”… 
…as long as it’s funky for you…
– dre’ of onustees.com

Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 16: Rotary Connection

6 Degrees of Soul: Before he made hits for Day’s 15’s EWF, Charles Stepney was one of the founding members of Day 16’s Rotary Connection.

 
Psychedelic brainchild of Charles Stepney and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess), Rotary Connection pushed the boundary of soul experimentation with the incorporation of jazz and the voice of Minnie Riperton. The enigmatic group would release six albums and leave it’s mark on psychedelic soul music.
…used for Common’s “Drivin’ Me Wild”… 1971, the group released “Love Has Fallen on Me” on their final album, Hey Love
…from the same album… “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun”
…just because… a Minnie Riperton song penned by Stevie Wonder… title track “Perfect Angel”… sung in tribute by Wonder…

…soul lives on…
– dre’ of onustees.com

Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 15: Earth, Wind & Fire

6 Degrees of Soul: Day 14’s The Dells album Love Is Blue was arranged by Charles Stepney. Among the several groups Stepney arranged/produced, one of them was Day 15’s Earth, Wind & Fire.

 
…one of their early hits… “Keep Your Head to the Sky”
…co-written by Charles Stepney… “That’s the Way of the World”
“Fantasy”
“After the Love is Gone”
…throwback clip of young girl, Nia, singing “Can’t Hide Love”
…the power of the internet… Nia performing with EWF…
more for soul for the soul…
– dre’ of onustees.com

Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 14: The Dells

6 Degrees of Soul: In 1974, Day 13’s The Dramatics did a joint album with Day 14’s The Dells. The album was titled The Dells vs. The Dramatics.

 
The Dells were the bridge that linked doo-wop to classic soul. After their hit “Oh, What A Night”, in 1956, several groups patterned themselves after The Dells. The ensemble featured baritone Marvin Junior paired with falsetto singer Johnny Carter rotating lead throughout their career. Marvin Junior has been widely acknowledged for influencing several leading singers, such as Teddy Pendergrass. In 1991, Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats was loosely based on the group. They are truly forefathers of soul.
…the song that started it all…“Oh, What A Night”
…my dad would always mention that “Stay In My Corner” was six minutes and twelve seconds long… he said remembered it because when it came on at the house parties, the fellas would rush to get an extended dance with that special someone… Marvin Junior completely destroys this song starting around 4:44… and holds a note for about 18 seconds… Marvin the Great.
…heavily sampled and equally powerful… “Love Is Blue (I Can a Rainbow)” produced by Charles Stepney
…one the most beautiful songs ever… “The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)”
…may the soul be with you…
– dre’ of onustees.com
edit…
…while going through their work… I stumbled upon one of their last hits… “All About the Paper” and had to post it… this is a groooooooove… this could have easily been on a Gamble and Huff produced Harold Melvin / Teddy P album…

Black Music History "Group Session" – Day 13: The Dramatics

6 Degrees of Soul: Al Bell wrote “I’ll Take You There” for Day 12’s The Staple Singers. Bell launched the careers of several acts, one of those acts is Day 14’s The Dramatics.

 
Like The Spinners and The Stylistics, much much much more needs to be made of the legacy of The Dramatics. This group made albums, not singles with filler songs but albums. We all know of “In The Rain”, “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and “Hey You! Get Off My Mountain”. However, we don’t know enough about Tony Hester, who wrote and produced the 1st two Dramatic albums. That includes all three songs mentioned above and a slew of other wonderful songs. Hester’s story deserves to be told also, he died well before his time. Back to The Dramatics, we don’t know enough (or forgot about) “And I Panicked”, “Toast to the Fool”, “You’re Fooling You” or “Ocean Of Thoughts And Dreams”. Nor that Michael Henderson wrote some great stuff for them. So much we don’t know about The Dramatics… I will try to address by posting some of their lesser known songs.
…Tony Hester penned several anti-drug songs for The Dramatics, ironically Hester himself was a drug addict… I guess that experience allowed him to write and produce “Devil Is Dope”

…before it was used for Jay-Z’s “Fallen”… it was “Fell For You”… another Hester track…
“And I Panicked”… happens to us all…
“You’re Fooling You”… oh, just another Tony Hester track…
…Michael Henderson wrote this one… “Just Shopping (Not Buying Anything)”… comes on with that Harold Melvin / Teddy P feel…
…this sounds like it could have been in The O’Jay’s discography… “Dramatic Theme / Treat Me Like a Man”… Henderson again…
…just one of the 9th Wonder / Dramatic samples… “Ocean Of Thoughts And Dreams”  …he used it for Destiny’s Child “Girl”…
…from the 1974 album “The Dells Vs. The Dramatics” another Tony Hester song… “Door To Your Heart”

spread the word… Dramatics.
– dre’ of onustees.com