It wasn’t just Berry Gordy’s dream to cross over to the meat of the performance market during the 1960s. R&B singers early as Ruth Brown and Dinah Washington took to covering songs associated with Tin Pan Alley pretty early in their careers. The natural relationship between musical genres has always been an orgy; Jazz informed both R&B and Popular music, and some of our best beloved soul stars pulled up the blanket in the hazy comfort of Middle of the Road material for mainstream audiences.
This oft-forgot place in Soul Music got buried on forgotten LPs and club gigs when these R&B stars wanted to prove their strengths as strong as those that had inspired them to sing. Individuals like Marvin Gaye, Freda Payne and Aretha Franklin started their careers with the big hopes of being the next Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan or Shirley Horn.
Here we pour a Manhattan, and take a sip of after hours Cognac with auditory smoothness you normally wouldn’t associate with a list full of heavy soul singers. As you can see, for whatever reason, it was a *really* popular thing to do in 1964. It’s just the thing in these late summer days to unwind to as we resist the reality that we’ll be back at it fast and furious once Mars hits Sagittarius again, and 2016 begins its rapid wind down.
1) Barbara McNair – What Are You Afraid Of ? (1964)
9) Kim Weston – It’s Too Soon To Know (1964)
13) Mary Wells – The Party’s Over (1963)
15) Ketty Lester – A Warm Summer Day (1963)
16) Brenda Holloway – Embraceable You (1964)
17) Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles – Ebb Tide (1966)
18) The Temptations – Somewhere (1967)
19) Dusty Springfield – Time After Time (1967)
29) Shirley Ellis – Stardust (1964)
30) Maxine Brown – When I Fall In Love (1964)