***Note: This post is based on last week’s post “That’s My Jam!”
Okay, let me be frank. It’s not really fair for me to say that any song from 1966 or 1967 is my ‘jam.’ I say this because I don’t have first-hand experiences to associate with them. Truthfully speaking, I learned these songs from my mother, her friends and my aunts–holler back Jet and Bobbie Sue! By the way, I’ll tell you more about my Aunt Bobbie Sue another time- she is a fan favorite of “The Good Doctor,” a well-known DJ in LA (Lower Alabama).
Moving on! When I was a kid, most old ‘jams’ typically stayed in radio rotation via ‘flash-backs.’ The term ‘flashback’ refers to songs from the past. Generally speaking, whenever the DJ was about to play a ‘flashback,’ he would use his best Casey Kasem style DJ voice to say something like “Flashback-1966!” By the way, if you don’t know Casey Kasem as a DJ then by God you have to know him as the voice of ‘Shaggy’ from “Scooby Doo.”
Anyway, apparently, ‘flashbacks’ became popular enough for some stations to develop programs that exclusively featured older songs; you know, “oldies but goodies.” I remember ‘flashbacks’ and ‘oldies but goodies’ because my mom and I would listen to the radio every day. Even now, I can still hear the call letters of mom’s favorite station because they were sung in beautiful harmony: “W-T-H-B…Au-GUS-ta.” Sorry to digress, but that 40-something year old soundbite is now cemented into my DNA!
Now, as promised, I will share with you some of my favorite songs from 1966-1967. Please bear in mind that these are all soul songs (they didn’t really use the term ‘R&B’ back then). It is also important to note that while I do have just as many ‘rock and roll’ favorites from that time frame they are not the focus of this series. Don’t worry; I will probably do something with that genre at a later date.
Now let’s go!
“You Keep me Hangin on” by The Supremes
As a teen and young adult, this was my ‘go to’ song when I felt like I was being played in a relationship! I love the fact that Diana called her dude’s ass out! This Diva said, “Why don’t you be a man about it and set me free! You don’t care a thing about me, you just using me! Go on get out of my life and let me sleep at night…”
Yass! Take that!
“Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett
This used to be one of my Aunt Nell’s favorites!
If you don’t know the “Wicked Pickett” then my heart goes out to you! That joker right there screamed all over this track! Ms. Eva, my dear mother and guardian angel, used to play this song while she was cooking collard greens and chitterlings! Oh grow up! It was what it was! We’re from the deep South!
Anyway, this song tells the tale of a man who bought his lady a 1965 Mustang. Sadly, ole girl ‘ran around town’ with other guys in the car that he bought! Yes, I am clutching my pearls too! Anyway, Wicked Pickett calls her out by saying “I guess I have to put your flat feet on the ground!” Translation: Give me back my car and start footin’ it!
“Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville
Having been done wrong, our hero decides to let his woman know that he is not “a little boy!”
It’s funny to me how Aaron Neville’s look doesn’t really match his voice. Homeboy looks like a buff gang-banger but his voice is as sweet as a baby’s coo! Still, he is quite handsome in his own way.
“Cold Sweat” by James Brown
Old school rappers used to sample the hell out of this track! For readers of my post, “That’s My Jam,” I submit this song as your first lesson on ‘the one.’ Now, there really is nothing else that I can say about “Cold Sweat” except, as the title implies, it’s COLD!
“Soul Finger” by the BarKays
This one is a real groove! I dare you to listen to it and NOT pop your fingers! Go ahead, try!
On a different note, the story didn’t end well for most of the original members of the BarKays and I WILL cry if I keep thinking about it. Much respect.
“Make Me Yours” by Bettye Swann
“I never had a love to call my own. I was about to give up and then you came along!” Yass! This lady was in LOVE! Do you hear me? You know how it is when you fall so HARD for someone! Well, in my mind, Bettye nailed the emotions that come with a blossoming love affair.
Aw….I hate to end it here but I have to!
Having said that, please realize that this list is by no means exhaustive! I wish that I had time and space to include all of my favorites. I would love to hear your thoughts about my selections as well as a list of your soul favorites from 1966 and 1967.