Including this double dude…
Literally nothing is more embarrassing than having someone burst into the shower just as you’re about to hit your peak during an emotive soul recital. You’re naked, you’re squealing, those vocal runs you’re doing are much more impressive in your head, they’re pointing at you and sharing crude pictures with their mates on Instagram. It’s a sorry situation for everyone involved. But that wouldn’t be a problem for any of these guys, who can sing the fuck out of shit because they’re bloody amazing… MY FAVOURITE MALE SOUL SINGERS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Feel free to go absolutely apeshit in the comments section because I’ve got it all wrong and didn’t include Stevie Wonder…
The greatest of them all, his voice is smoother than a long piece of wood you’ve spent the last week sanding down for eight hours a day without stopping. Do the maths, that’s basically smooth as fuck. Stupidly, he decided to kill himself in 1979 by jumping out of a window. I was just three at the time, which is neither here nor there.
It’s nuts to think that Otis Redding was just 26 when he was killed in a plane crash, he sounds so mature and borderline-elderly when he sings. Confession time guys! Otis Blue is one of the few records I own that I could listen to from start to finish every single day without tiring of. I have no idea why I just made out that was a big confession.
You might not have heard of this cat, because Frankie Beverly was never a solo star in his own right. He sung with the band Maze in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and possibly beyond, and those cats were funkier than a stink on a hot summer’s day. Some of you might have noticed that I’ve suddenly started saying “cat” a lot in this paragraph. Go with it, I’m just trying it out.
Bobby Womack’s enjoying another blast in the sunshine after collaborating with Damon Albarn on that album about a year ago. Everyone liked it because it combined modern day sounds with old style singing. I didn’t listen to it because I’m a bearded vinyl twat who pretends to only like old stuff like 1970s albums and vintage shirts. I do love Bobby Womack though, he always sounds about this close to a violent coughing fit.
I’m going through a big Isley Brothers moment that doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. I love them because they looked like a great big pile of fat black Elvis impersonators, I like that they could throw down serious funk jams next to syrupy soul ballads. I adore them especially because Ron Isley has one of the most slippery voices the world has ever seen. And I mean that in a good way.
If I had to pick my favourite Marvin Gaye album I’d go for I Want You because it’s the sexiest record ever made, full of secret messages in between the lines saying stuff like “come here woman” and “I’m gonna hold you real tight”. Chicks love that kind of shit. I also like What’s Going On, Trouble Man, Let’s Get It On, Here My Dear, and basically every other record he ever made.
Whether fat or thin Luther could sing the phone book and while everyone would listen for a minute then whisper “is this guy actually singing the PHONE BOOK?” to each other with an incredulous look in their eyes, they’d all agree that the lyrics might be boring as fuck, but that fat guy’s got the voice of an angel.
When I was a student in Bristol I spent my days frying up pieces of bread for my world famous fried bread fried bread sandwiches and listening to Brown Sugar by D’Angelo. Man that cat could groove. That’s right everyone I’m back to saying “cat” again. Deal with it.
Obviously I’m never going to die, but if I did – IF I DID – during the bit where my coffin is lowered into the ground while all manner of beautiful women in black howl to the heavens I’d like someone to put on Hercules by Aaron Neville. It tells the story of a man just trying to get through life and deal with the struggles. I know what you’re thinking – that’s me in a nutshell. Great song, and what a voice.
Ah man, the last spot was always going to be a nightmare. Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, even Lionel Richie had a shout. Then you’ve got Bill Withers and Gil Scott-Heron who I adore. Terry Callier’s amazing. Sam Cooke. White soul singers like Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart. James Brown who grunted a lot but could also sing amazingly well, Michael Jackson who took soul to the billions. Smokey Robinson, any of the Temptations, I even like R Kelly a little bit. But in the end I went with Willie Hutch who’s just plain wicked.
Five Stairsteps, O-o-h Child
It’s an awful day for birthdays, just rubbish. The best we could muster was Sam Neill, the actor. The one who was in Jurassic Park, and some other films. You’d definitely recognise him if you saw him. He’s about average height with browny/sandy hair. Yeah, that guy. Anyway he’s 62 today, so we thought we’d get him a gift. After literally no discussion at all we decided that it was a toss up between a classic soul track from a group of singing siblings who predated Michael Jackson’s little family band, or a funny joke. In the end we got him both. Knock knock, Sam…
Marvin Gaye, I Want You
Site regulars will be easy to spot today – they’ll be the ones with a thin film of sweat covering their hungry bodies, their blouses/shirts undone just enough to give you a glimpse of the goods, and you might even be able to hear the soft echo of a rumbling in their loins. It is, after all, Thursday. The most sexually charged day of the week. We like to celebrate Thursdays by playing a sensual love song, and today it’s the turn of Marvin Gaye to explain to his woman that he wants to go to bed and have sex, which he does without ever actually standing up to spell it out.
Kseniya Simonova, Sand Animation
Were he not cock-punched by the cruel fist of death almost exactly a year ago, Isaac Hayes would be turning a very soulful 67 today. Instead, he’s laying motionless in a Memphis graveyard. Alone. Dead. Humming some of his greatest hits. It’s a genuine shame. Hence, we decided to get him a gift, and knowing that he was a Scientologist, we thought we’d honour his beliefs by running around town dressed as lizards shouting at passers-by to hand over their souls. Whilst simultaneously discussing gift ideas, which quickly boiled down to a toss up between a science fiction book by L Ron Hubbard, or a clip of an amazing woman on the Ukrainian version of Britain’s Got Talent. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Isaac Hayes!
Young Disciples, Apparently Nothin’
Despite the American vocalist, Carleen Anderson, Young Disciples were very much a British band. They were signed to Talkin’ Loud, the rest of the group was British, they recorded with Paul Weller and Mick Talbot of the Style Council. Above is their moment in the sunshine.
Bill Withers, Use Me
Yes, it’s happened again, Thursday has come around directly after Wednesday. Site regulars will already have prepared for the day, perhaps by packing an extra overnight bag to take into the office, crammed with squeezable honey, a couple of Kenny G albums, probably some dry rose petals. A lot of condoms. It is, after all, the most sexy day of the week, which we always like to honour with a good song. And they don’t come much better than this Bill Withers classic, which tells the story of a horny young gentleman enjoying whatever sensual scraps a right royal bitch deems to throw at him.
Les McCann, Compared to What
On the off-chance that you passed by someone in a beret this morning, we hope that you didn’t stop dead in your tracks and start pointing, guffawing, and leaping from one foot to the other making strange nasal intonations that were supposed to sound foreign. Because, doofus, it may not have been a wandering Frenchman. It might simply have been a Jazz enthusiast celebrating another wonderful Tuesday. Above, Les McCann takes us for a political walk.
Marvin Gaye, A Funky Space Reincarnation
You might only know Hulk Hogan from Rocky III, in which he played the part of a wrestler called Thunderlips – he was overlooked by the Academy, but his performance was very solid. He even held his own up against Sly Stallone. Others might know him from Thunder in Paradise, a television programme about ex-Navy SEALS who have become local guns-for-hire on a dreamy holiday resort. The rest will know him because he’s a gigantic wrestler who is turning 56 today. Hence we thought we’d get him a gift, so we organised an enormous conference, hired an entire hotel, went around a room asking thirty or so very reluctant employees to introduce themselves and tell a funny story about something hilarious that once happened to them, underwent a series of very pointless and time consuming bonding exercises which did nothing but further alienate the shyer members of the team, endured extremely awkward conversations with higher ranking colleagues who appeared to be attempting to hide the thin-lipped greed that drives them to the very highest highs professionally, but has left them both socially and sexually impotent. Then, FINALLY, we got round to the gift ideas, and all immediately agreed on either a survival knife or a Marvin Gaye song. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Hulk Hogan!
Lee McDonald, We’ve Only Just Begun
And so it was that another Thursday rolled around, and the people did smear great big dripping handfuls of baby oil and honey into one another’s thighs, buttocks, and ‘pon the gentlewoman’s soft pale ankles. Twas, after all, the day when moons of lustiness shone bright, hence tongues not only for the speaking. Which basically means everyone did it. Excellent. Above, the barely-known-but-magnificent soul singer Lee McDonald reinterprets The Carpenters.
Women who can sing the FUNK…
There is a world of difference between being a good soul singer and a good funk singer. Mariah Carey, for example, is a good sweet soul singer, but if she were to suddenly start grunting into the mic and demanding snare kicks from the drummer, her people would rush the stage within seconds to drag her off to the mad house. Presumed breakdown. She hasn’t got the funk. Sadly, neither have many of today’s fine young singers, with the possible exceptions of Beth Ditto, Mary J, Beyonce and that’s about it. Even the greatest soul singer of them all, Aretha Franklin, doesn’t quite have the funk chops to be a BOLD SOUL SISTER. Our top four female funk sensations read like this…
1. Betty Davis
One part of possibly the greatest model/musical genius combo of them all, Betty was the great Mile Davis’ second wife. Back then, in the 1960s, she was just a sexy young model who was friends with Hendrix and Sly Stone, then in the 1970s she emerged as a funk/rock force of nature, with a trio of albums brimming with sexual aggression. An amazing woman, and our top female funk singer.
2. Tina Turner
Before she became Tina Turner with the feathery Rod Stewart hair, and the enormously popular soft rock ballads, Tina Turner was a funk goddess – touring the world with angry, punchy Ike and the magnificent Ikettes. What really marks her out are her excellent dance moves, and a growling voice that sounds like Cathy Beale after a big night on the cigs.
3. Marva Whitney
Featured before as one of our favourite Underrated Soul Stars, Whitney’s piercing, raw voice was the perfect match for James Brown’s band, The JB’s. Alongside other female funk greats like Lyn Collins and Vicki Anderson – both of whom just missed out on a place in the top four – she became a part of the gigantic James Brown family in the 1960s, although she only managed one solo studio album – It’s My Thing, from 1969. Great record.
4. Mary Jane Hooper
Not much is known of this funky Mary Jane Hooper woman. What we do know is that her real name was Sena Fletcher, she had gritty vocal talent that really floated the magnificent Eddie Bo‘s onions, and she churned out about three bona fide funk classics in the 1960s. We also know that she’s our fourth favourite female funk singer.
No room for the Fresh Prince…
Something about the sunshine and the outdoors can make certain records sound magnificent. Only a few years ago there was that Macarena song – a repetitive number, with a vocal delivery from two grown men who wouldn’t make 10p busking in the middle of Covent Garden on Australia Day. And yet, the combination of heat, cold beers, heavy drugs, and an semi-erotic dance made it the hit of the Summer. Hence, this list is not about summertime hits, but songs about the Summer itself. After much debate, the top four ended up looking like this…
1. MFSB, Summertime
An up-tempo instrumental take on the sultry jazz classic, we love this. MFSB stands for Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, which lends this track a wholesome family appeal, and it’s great for dancing around to in a field full of borderline trustafarians. At, say, The Big Chill.
2. Roy Ayers, Everyone Loves The Sunshine
When Roy Ayers was wondering what people might love, he eventually hit the nail on the head. Everyone really does love the sunshine. Except perhaps for Stephen Hawking that time his girlfriend took the batteries from his wheelchair and left him to crackle and burn in the sweltering heat (true story). But robotronic genius aside, this is one magnificent ode to the weather.
3. The Style Council, Long Hot Summer
For a brief period in the 1980s, Paul Weller – the Modfather – became a little bit camp, and this video catches him riding the crest of a slightly pink wave. And it’s no bad thing at all. In fact, we much prefer his Style Council days. Hence Long Hot Summer can be found rotating at around 45 rpm on the Interestment turntable with startling regularity during the sunshine months. Make no mistake about it, this is a classic record.
4. Alice Cooper, School’s Out
It’s hard to find a decent rock record that encapsulates that Summer feeling, probably because most decent heavy rock bands are made up of people who prefer the night time. This, by a strange woman/man called Alice Cooper, is one of the few exceptions. Sadly, grown men in leather get little chance to celebrate the school holidays in these increasingly suspicious times.
Apparently this guy died… or something
No doubt the next seven or eight months are going to be taken up with newspapers really trying to figure out a few Jackson mysteries. How did he die? Did he really monkey around with those kids? Did he actually do it with a woman to make babies? All questions that we can’t answer, so we won’t be wasting your time by even remotely trying. When it comes to Jackson, we know two things: 1. Waking up with the man must, even just for a nanosecond, have given you a glimpse into what it’s like to be Ronald McDonald’s wife. And 2. These are the four best cover versions of MJ classics…
1. Billie Jean, Shinehead
A slower version of the classic song about a deranged stalker, this one even features a big doff of the cap to spaghetti westerns. A brilliant reggae track. Just brilliant.
2. Thriller, Ian Brown
Ian Brown has never had the most syrupy voice in the world, but his drawling monotone somehow works when singing Thriller. An unexpected masterpiece.
3. Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Derrick Laro and Trinity
Another reggae interpretation of a Jackson classic – this time Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough from Off The Wall. This very nearly, but not quite, improves on the original. Excellent.
4. Human Nature, Miles Davies
A few rock versions almost took fourth spot, but in the end we plumped for this Miles Davis trumpet version of Human Nature. Not because it’s particularly good, but because it’s Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson. Yes, Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson. That’s Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson. The legendary trumpeter Miles Davis doing Michael Jackson…
James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince
Much is going to be written about Michael Jackson for the coming weeks, after he finally lost out to a bastard heart attack or some such. He was only 50. And what a life. Brilliant Jackson Five records, often overlooked but completely fantastic tracks during the band’s young-adult incarnation as The Jacksons, and then all of the solo magic – particularly Off The Wall. Obviously the whole thing was slightly marred by his weird monkey, the melty-face stuff, and the eyebrow-raising sleepovers. Still, we thought we’d get him a couple of gifts as a thank you for the music, so we drank heavily until we became forgetful, and it soon boiled down to a toss up between a James Brown gig clip in which Michael is invited on stage, shortly followed by a far more overconfident Prince, or a dodgy recording of Rock With You… ahhh, or the James Brown clip! In the end we got him both. RIP Michael Jackson!
Michael Jackson, Rock With You
Tony Orlando, Don’t Let Go
Today’s Super Disco hit comes courtesy of friend of the site, Guy. It features sensual strings, cool synths, and mental images of men in tight trousers making invisible love to mic stands.
Minnie Riperton, Inside My Love
As site regulars know all too well, Thursday is the sexiest day of the week. So rip open your shirt, smear your stomach with baby oil, and allow a cool sensual breeze to dance seductively around your thighs and the ticklish bit just behind your kneecaps. Today, the great Minnie Riperton pretty much spells it out.
Not including anything by this man…
It’s always completely brilliant to hear from an important member of the Interestment family, and today Emily – a lady with a sharp mind, and a witty way – turns her attention to the love songs that really float women’s yachts. She had this to say…
There I was, sighing heavily as I pondered love lost and Idris Elba in a pair of clingy knickers, and it struck me. Songs these days are all about sex, sex, sex. Even girl pop stars are telling us to forget about the joys of love, and stick to jiggling our bums into a boy’s face to start a meaningful relationship. In the old days, men wrote songs about worshipping and respecting ladies – there were no references to booty and wobbly bits . Their shanties were soft odes to wafting beauties they longed to cherish and adore. Sometimes I lie in my bed with a cuddly bear and entertain that these songs were written about me. So in no particular order, here are the songs that girls wish were penned with them in mind. As usual, some absolute classics just slipped through the net…
1. Mary Jane, Rick James
We all know this song isn’t about a pretty lady called Mary. It’s about the real sticky-icky-icky, the chronic, yes that’s right, cannabis. But a recent survey by More magazine, 85 per cent of all men admitted they prefer spending time hitting up a bong than talking to their girlfriends, so this is a true love song. Also the line “I’m in love with Mary Jane, I’m not the only one” suggests that more than one person is in love with the object of the song. This makes imagining it is about you even better.
2. Fresh, Kool and the Gang
“She’s fresh, fresh – exciting, she’s so inviting to me, yeah!” croons Robert Kool Bell. It was a close call between this and Too Hot, but Fresh edged it, as the former is a bit marriage-y, and the latter perfectly encapsulates the feeling we all want when we’re new in town – especially Renee Zellweger in her latest flick New In Town. Probably.
3. Let’s stay together, Al Green
On the fringe of a dumping, we’d all really like it if our soon-to-be-ex fella would swiftly metamorphasise into the young – and totally gorgeous – Al Green and sing: “Let’s, we oughta stay together, loving you whether, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad”. Sooo, yeah. But obviously that’s if we actually still like you. Which we probably don’t.
4. Golden Lady, Stevie Wonder
Ever since Sisqo‘s ditty about thong-th-th-thong-thong-thongs, women’s anatomy has been objectified and topped with lashings of sleaze. That makes the romance in Golden Lady so lovely. “Looking at your hands, hands can understand, waiting for the chance, just to hold your hand,” it goes. I know Mr Wonder isn’t technically looking at his Golden Lady, but he’s singing about her hands, her hands! Women want men to love their hands. Not just their lumps.
Joan Armatrading, Love and Affection
As site regulars will tell you, Thursday is by far the sexiest day of the week. It’s a time to slip into your tiniest underpants, unbuckle your emotions, and allow cool sensuality to massage deep cleansing lotions into parts of your brain normally forbidden during work hours. That’s it. Yeah, you like that. Today, Joan Armatrading is here to tell us that it’s all well and good keeping a stiff upper lip, but sometimes you’ve just got to let the love surge through your body like an eel through a drainpipe.
It’s a wonderful day for people called Curtis. Had he not died on Boxing Day 1999, the magnificent Curtis Mayfield would be a very soulful 67 today. But as it is, the man we have decided to honour is Tony Curtis – great actor, wonderful voice, 84 today. He’s made some great films over the years – Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like it Hot, Operation Petticoat. He was also part of one of the finest double acts of all time when he teamed up with Roger Moore in The Persuaders. Hence, we thought we’d get him a gift, so we formed a drumming circle in the park and began chanting ideas at the moon, and pretty soon it boiled down to a toss up between a boxing glove with a horse shoe in it to punch hippies with, or a clip of some early b-boy action. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Tony Curtis!
P.P Arnold, The First Cut is the Deepest
It’s Thursday, friends, so pack your anger into a cupboard, put your tension into a little box. It’s the official day of love, lust, and smearing great big dripping fistfuls of sandalwood massage oil into your partner’s soft quivering legs. So, dim the lights, allow a soft breeze to sing through your underpants, and enjoy some important words from P.P. Arnold. Here, she’s explaining to a lover that she was once left heart broken and destroyed, but she might now be ready to slip between the satin sheets again.
Michael McDonald, What a Fool Believes
Had a gargantuan stroke not done him in almost twenty years ago, Miles Davis would be turning a very jazzy 82 today. And how appropriate that his birthday would fall on a Tuesday, being that it has been declared the official day of cardigans, eyebrow twisting, and sweet brassy jazz sounds. By us. Anyway, we decided that dead or not, we were getting the guy a gift, so we put on some sweatbands and shouted at one another through the din of a squash club, before it boiled down to a toss up between some sexy leather underpants, or a clip of Michael McDonald – a singer with great hair and a voice like a beautiful deaf man. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Miles Davis!
Loose Ends, Hanging on a String
For the most part, we have never been able to compete on a soul music level with our violent stateside cousins, but for a very small window in the 1980s, when Loose Ends and Soul II Soul were as good as anything Uncle Sam could muster. Above is the proof.
Tom Brock, The Love We Share…
Finally, it’s Thursday. After a week of high tension and toil, it’s time to unbuckle your trousers, and allow the cool afternoon breeze to dance through your underpants. It is, after all, the official day of lust, sensuality, and feeding your lover strawberries dipped in chocolate, as they lay fluffy handcuffed to the mahogany headboard on your giant silky bed. Great times. Today, excellent soul singer Tom Brock lends his syrupy voice to a story about a great looking chick who has completely blown his mind.
Super Slo-mo Surfer
May is an amazing month for birthdays, it really is. Missing out today are Harvey Keitel, Stephen Colbert, Dennis Rodman, Richie Valens and Samantha Morton. Why? Because it’s bloody Stevie Wonder’s birthday, and Stevie Wonder is basically God. He’s turning 59, and what a life that guy’s had. He’s felt people’s faces, he’s felt keyboards, he’s felt to check he’s wearing his denim trousers, not his silky jogging bottoms. He’s touched his food to check it’s exactly what he ordered. He’s felt women’s noses to deduce exactly what they look like. He’s made an appalling bust of Lionel Richie. His hands have been very busy. Hence, we knew straight away that we should get him a gift. We blindfolded ourselves and went for a long noisy drive, and along the way we talked presents, with one side of the car keen to buy him some of those oversized comedy sunglasses that people used to wear for kicks, while the other side insisted that he’d love the soothing sounds of a wave moving in extra extra slow mo. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Stevie!
Greg Perry, Come on Down
Brilliant, it’s Thursday. Regulars will know that Thursday is now the official day of sensuality and romance. It’s a time to take your lover fishing, feed them soft French cheeses by a river bank, massage margarine into their buttocks behind a tree, kiss their face without passers-by making comments about getting a room. It’s brilliant. Today, beautiful soul singer Greg Perry makes a desperate plea to his girlfriend to remember that he’s the one that really greases up her left pulmonary artery. She shouldn’t forget that.