The Heaven of ’67: 50 Gems To Jam To From 50 Years Ago

riotcafeIt’s a little hard for me to recognize and realize 2017 is really here. The majority of this decade has passed sands through the hourglass, and here I sit solidly in my middle thirties. Intertwined with that, it’s a little weird to think 1967 was 50 years ago.

Being a spoiled Californian, there’s plenty of reminders of that era around me at all times, notably the Cougars and Mustangs that still roam in packs on the streets of Oakland. We live in the legacy of activism from The Black Panther Party and the second wave sexual revolutions sparked by moments like the Compton Cafeteria Riots that happened here in the Bay Area on opposite sides of the Bay Bridge.

Mid-Century was losing the grip on reality, and The Summer Of Love (for white people) came mid-year. In a number of urban environments, inner cities neglected in the immediate post-war became powder kegs of oppressive politics, the lopsided results of “white flight” and the Suburbanization of America. Hand and Hand with love beads were Molotov Cocktails.

153622So what was happening in the world of R&B? We were looking at the transitions from the golden years of soul into solid funk, which left many a prominent player scrambling for an new perch or an escape hatch. We saw Florence Ballard, Gladys Horton and Doris Coley leave their founders slots in seminal girl groups The Supremes, The Marvelettes and The Shirelles.

As some names faded from grace and guaranteed income we start to see some influential voices of the next decade tip-toe into consciousness. From the last single of The Cookies we take the trade-off for the early works of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.

We saw Holland-Dozier-Holland stage a work slowdown for better treatment at Motown as they hunted for their 5th evolution of their signature sound. We saw the rise of Porter & Hayes grabbing you by the biscuits and smothering you with a rhythm section coated in honey. Gamble & Huff got you rough and ready to make things steady. They and others continued to usher in new directions Soul Music would take as the decade would turn over.

screen-shot-2013-01-31-at-8-29-09-amWe saw smooth strings give way to full fledged funk in some corners. And the strings get louder in others. Theatrical touches from Bond-themed undertones and overt tributes to tunes from Mame and Thoroughly Modern Millie made their ways to the airwaves, if not always to the charts.

In this expansive journey that takes us through 2 hours of soundtrack to the year of ’67, we go coast to coast from L.A to New York with stops in between in Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia on a 50 song tour.

Big City Soul as the Sixties swung on doesn’t get any better than this collection. With this reflection of struggle, strife, sweetness and sexiness from 50 years ago, I wish us a prayer of keeping up, continuing and by miracle finishing the right fight started for us then this year.

1) Ruby Andrews – Let’s Get A Groove Goin’ On
2) Dee Dee Warwick – Locked In Your Love
3) Freddie Scott – Run Joe
4) The Dells – Inspiration
5) Stevie Wonder – Every Time I See You I Go Wild
6) Little Anthony And The Imperials – My Love Is A Rainbow
7) The Supremes – It’s Going All The Way To True True Love
8) Billy Butler – Come On Over To My Side
9) Brenda Holloway – I’ll Be Alright
10) The Spinners – I’ll Cross My Heart
11) The Delfonics – Can’t Get Over Losing You
12) Jackie Ross – Love Is Easy To Lose
13) Dionne Warwick – The Beginning Of Loneliness
14) The Blossoms – Wonderful
15) Jerry Butler – Why Did I Lose You?
16) Ortheia Barnes – Waiting For Joey
17) Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – A Bit Of Heaven (On A Little Patch Of Earth)
18) Marvin Gaye – When I Feel The Need
19) Barbara Acklin – The Old Matchmaker
20) Deon Jackson – All On A Sunny Day
21) The Shirelles – Too Much Of A Good Thing
22) Terri Bryant – When I’m In Your Arms
23) The Righteous Brothers – Don’t Give Up On Me
24) Barbara Lewis – Only All The Time
25) J.J. Barnes – Baby Please Come Back Home
26) The Cookies – Wounded
27) The Five Stairsteps – Ain’t Gonna Rest
28) The Marvelettes – You Ain’t Livin’ Until You’re Lovin’
29) Mel Carter – Be My Love
30) Leola Jiles – Keep It Coming
31) The Impressions – I’m Still Waiting
32) Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Go Away
33) Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles – I Need Your Love
34) Kim Weston – Land Of Tomorrow
35) Archie Bell & The Drells – A Soldier’s Prayer
36) Betty Harris – Can’t Last Much Longer
37) Alfreda Brockington – Spilt Milk
38) Gene Chandler – After The Laughter Here Come The Tears
39) The Four Tops – Just One Last Look
40) Maxine Brown – Baby Cakes
41) Shirley Wahls – Why Am I Crying?
42) The Esquires – Everyone’s Laughing
43) Bunny Sigler – There’s No Love Left
44) The Sweet Inspirations – Oh What A Fool I’ve Been
45) Rufus Thomas – Sophisticated Sissy
46) Mitty Collier – Do It With Confidence
47) Fontella Bass – Sweet Lovin’ Daddy
48) Joy Lovejoy – In Orbit
49) Tammi Terrell – It’s Been A Long Time Coming
50) The Elgins – Thank You Love

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