My Jams: ’68

Otis and Diva of Soul
Diva of Soul Salutes Otis Redding

***This post is the third in a series called “My Jams”

Aw shucks, hey now!  It’s getting serious in here! In fact, it’s getting so serious that I had to change this post from “My Jams ’68-’69” to “My Jams ’68” solely because my ‘canon’ of ’68 favorites was getting too long to read and I simply cannot have you zoning out on my blog 🙂

Nevertheless, let me tell you, I caught the devil trying to narrow down this list.  To be honest, I had to stop and scratch my head a couple of times because I was having so much trouble deciding which songs to include.  But, despite my struggles, I found a way to forge ahead and compile the following lineup.  May the Gods and Goddess of Soul 1968 forgive me in advance for any transgressions!

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

 Yeah, I know that Gladys Knight and the Pips did it first! But, for me, Marvin tore this one up! Trust me, I’ll holla back at Gladys later. Incidentally, one of my friends, a beautiful queen of a man, used to call any woman whose name he couldn’t remember ‘Gladys.’ Every time he did it I hollered with laughter!

Sitting on the Dock of The Bay” by Otis Redding

Now this one gives me chills because it was released about a month after Mr. Redding, along with several of the original BarKays, was killed in a plane crash.   You may remember that I mentioned the Barkays in last week’s post.

Again, I can’t linger on this song too long or I’ll be reduced to tears. Much respect.

“Tighten Up” by Archie Bell and The Drells

Does anybody know how to do the ‘Tighten up?’ I sure as hell don’t but that NEVER stops me from cutting a rug to this jam!  Trust this; Archie had that rhythm section swinging!

“Dance To The Music” by Sly and The Family Stone

This one holds a special place in my memories because it used to be the opening song for a local dance show.  Honey that show had to tie us over until Soul Train came on.

“La La Means I Love You” by The Delfonics

Please believe that if you don’t like falsettos, I have no use for you and you are hereby banished from all of my territories!  No, seriously, I love a sweet falsetto and a sincere love story.  This song has BOTH.

By the way, I’ll talk more about my favorite falsettos when we get into the 1970’s- (Wayne Cooper of Cameo and Bobby Debarge of Switch will be at the top of that list!)

By the way (again), I think the group Pieces of a Dream lyrically channeled this song when they released “Say La La” back in ’86.

“Who’s Making Love?” Johnnie Taylor

Here, Johnnie poses the eternal question!  “Who’s making love to your old lady while you are out making love?” Yass!!!  Fellas, he got up in your head with this one didn’t he?

Have you ever seen a video of JT singing this, or for that matter, any song?  If you haven’t, you must! I really can’t describe his performance style, but I will say that it’s almost as if he’s talking directly to you- like a cool uncle would.  Fellas, you better listen to unc, he’s trying to tell you about your lady.

“Cowboys to Girls” by The Intruders

This song is the business!  If you like beautiful harmonies and musical arrangements then you’ll love “Cowboys to Girls.”  The strings are out of this world! There is no way that you can listen to those violins and not feel the love.  I’m pretty sure that my Mom and Dad ‘slow dragged’ to this one in their early ‘courting days.’

“Can I Change My Mine” by Tyrone Davis

Here’s another cool uncle warning you about playing love games.  Here he croons, “Ah she didn’t bat an eye as I packed my bags to leave.”  Sounds to me like somebody hedged his bets with his lady one too many times; this time he lost–now he wants to change his mind.  Ha Ha!  I hope she took you back bro!

If you study guitar I implore you to listen to this one and learn how to play it! I’d say that you are pretty good if you can REALLY get it.

Aww.. now I must close and bid 1968 adieu!

Again, my favorite caveat, this list is by no means exhaustive!  I just couldn’t mention all of those ’68 jams.  Guys help me out!  What are your favorites from 1968?

***Next Thursday:  My Jams ’69