Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Various Artists - Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 4: Soul (1994)

I purchased this Rhino compilation recently for track 3, The Horse, but I'll be doggone if this isn't a fantastic disc from top to bottom. Many of these tunes were written before I was born so it's like they've always existed. And I find comfort in that. Highly recommended.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

  1. Green Onions - Booker T. & The MG's (1962, #1 R&B, #3 Pop):  A stone cold classic. This is the third or fourth time this blues song has appeared on this blog.  I never tire of hearing it and I never get tired of Booker T. Jones, who wrote the song as a high school senior.

  2. Grazing in the Grass - Hugh Masekela (1968, #1 R&B, #1 Pop): I consider this to be my all-time favorite summer instrumental.  So laid back and relaxing. Also check out the version by Orchestra Harlow.
  3. The Horse - Cliff Nobles & Co. (1968, #2 R&B, #2 Pop): what a funky, irresistible groove. One of those songs that you play at a party and everybody gets up and dances and says, "Hey, I know that song!"
  4. Soul Twist - King Curtis & The Noble Knights (1962, #1 R&B, #17 Pop): Curtis had a distinct reedy sax tone and it is absolutely perfect here. Ernie Hayes lays down a sweet organ solo to boot.
  5. Last Night - The Mar-Keys (1961, #2 R&B, #3 Pop): another Stax tune that has made multiple appearances on this blog.  And justifiably so.  Another smoking example of Memphis R&B, heavy on the B.  Now I'm hungry for some Rendezvous ribs.
  6. The "In Crowd" - Ramsey Lewis Trio (1965, #2 R&B, #5 Pop): Originally a Dobie Gray joint, Ramsey cut this single live at Bohemian Caverns, a Washington, D.C. night club. The cover is better than the original. Ramsey's biggest hit, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't buy more of his music.
  7. Soul Finger - The Bar-Kays (1967, #3 R&B, #17 Pop): Fantastic bass line, aggressive trumpet trills, party crowd noise, tasty guitar solo - what's not to like? I don't know what a soul finger is and maybe I don't want to.
  8. Soul Makossa - Manu Dibango (1973, #21 R&B, #35 Pop): This one's a little out of place among the others, but since it's widely considered to be the very first disco record and I didn't have a recording in my archives, I'm glad it's on here. That funky bridge is soooooo tasty. Manu played a mean sax, too.
  9. Twine Time - Alvin Cash & The Crawlers (1964, #4 R&B, #14 Pop): Here we get the first filler track.  It's not a bad little dance tune, it just pales compared to everything that came before.
  10. Soulful Strut - Young-Holt Unlimited (1968, #3 R&B, #3 Pop): I consider this to be my 2nd all-time favorite summer instrumental.  So laid back and relaxing. Both Soulful Strut and Grazing in the Grass appear on almost every summer/poolside playlist I've created.
  11. Hang 'Em High - Booker T. & The MG's (1968, #35 R&B, #9 Pop): a fun cover of a movie theme, especially when Booker T. kicks up the key and intensity with almost every verse before letting the ending simmer.
  12. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy - Cannonball Adderley (1966, #2 R&B, #11 Pop): a surprise hit, but when a song's written this well, what do you expect? I've heard many covers of this one, but I always come back to this live original.

  13. El Watusi - Ray Barretto Y Su Charange Moderna (1963, #17 R&B, #17 Pop): not really an instrumental, but I don't mind much cuz it's a catchy Latin number that leads seamlessly into
  14. Watermelon Man - Mongo Santamaria (1963, #8 R&B, #10 Pop): We're big fans of Mongo around here and when he takes a Herbie Hancock tune and puts the boogaloo to it, we're big fans of that, too.
  15. Viva Tirado-Part I - El Chicano (1970, #20 R&B, #28 Pop): the second filler track of the disc. It's got a nice groove, but just doesn't do much with it.  Come to think of it, what are these last three tracks doing on a compilation with "soul" in the title?
  16. Hip Hug-Her - Booker T. & The M.G.'s (1967, #6 R&B, #37 Pop): I could complain that this compilation relies too much on Booker T & The MG's, but that would just be silly.  Four of that group's track on here actually seems about right.  Keep bringing those grooves, Booker.
  17. Wack Wack - The Young Holt Trio (1966, #12 R&B, #40 Pop): with a bass line straight from Cool Jerk, this piano trio takes off and swings.  Not much to the bass solo, but expectations are usually low for those anyway.
  18. Time Is Tight - Booker T. & The M.G.'s (1969, #7 R&B, #6 Pop): Ending like we began, in the Stax studio.  As it should be.  This cut shows how many different sounds Booker T could coax out of a Hammond organ.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: For the record, The Horse is a classic in my mind because, where I grew up, all high school marching bands played an arrangement of it.  Many still do.

A recent purchase here at blog headquarters was a 45 single of The Horse on the Phil-L.A. of Soul label (filet of sole, get it?). Have been enjoying both sides of the single, the A-side with vocals, Love Is All Right, and the more famous B-side without.

Thanks to Herc for the playlist.

1 comment:

  1. Great compilation from a great series - RHINO does it again!

    Nice looking post, too. Always enjoy the track by track breakdowns.

    And that 45 pic with the custom CDP logo peeking through? Genius!