January 22: Aretha Franklin released Lady Soul in 1968

…1968’s Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke. Her performances were more impassioned than on her debut, and the material just as strong, an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music.
~John Bush (allmusic.com)

Chain of Fools – Live 1968:

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January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969

One of her most overlooked ’60s albums, on which she presented some of her jazziest material, despite the title. None of these cuts were significant hits, and none were Aretha originals; she displayed her characteristically eclectic taste in the choice of cover material, handling compositions by Percy Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, and, at the most pop-oriented end of her spectrum, John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”

Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate, though, as is the musicianship; besides contributions from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, session players include respected jazzmen Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, David Newman, and Joe Zawinul.
– Richie Unterberger (allmusic) Continue reading “January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969”

The Best Albums 2016: 20 to 11 (part 2/3)

(Check out part 1 here, 30-21)

20 Cass McCombs – Mangy Love

Released: August 26 , 2016
Producer: 
Rob Schnapf, Cass McCombs & Dan Horne
Label: Anti Records
“Mangy Love makes itself distinct from its predecessors with its outright jazziness and ethereality. Wit’s End was a traipse though the densely forested hills of solitude; Big Wheel and Others was a road trip through odd, nameless American sub-societies,; and Mangy Love is Cass McCombs in outer space.”
– Dustin Lowman (Drowned in Sound)
This album really made me listen to the lyrics, I was fooled by the sweet melodies – but the lyrics are tough, hard, rough poems about love,sex, life and death. McCombs knows how to play with words (Switch):
Turn you on, you light up the room
Turn you off, it’s dark as a tomb– Hallgeir
End of Year lists
# 33 – American Songwriter
# 59 – Gorilla vs. Bear
# 29 – LA Music Blog
# 26 – MOJO
# 25 – Piccadilly Records
# 7 – Q Magazine
# 31 – Stereogum
# 31 – Uncut
Best songs: Opposite House, Bum Bum Bum and Switch 

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Nov 24: The late Donald Duck Dunn was born in 1941

Donald “Duck” Dunn (November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012) was an American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter. Dunn was notable for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.’s and as a session bassist for Stax Records, which specialized in blues and gospel-infused southern soul which became known as Memphis Soul

A 2 minute history of Donald “Duck” Dunn:

“We were recording almost a hit a day for a while there. But I never knew how popular that music was until I came to England with Otis Redding in 1967.”
– Donald Dunn (about the Stax period)

As the bassist for Booker T. & the MG’s, Donald “Duck” Dunn became, like James Jamerson at Motown, the man who provided a groove for an entire generation to dance to. In Dunn’s case it was the legendary Memphis record label Stax/Volt, where he laid down basslines for soul stars such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Albert King, helping to create one of the largest bodies of soul and R&B music that exists.
~Steve Kurutz (allmusic.com)

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