February 2010

6 Degrees of Soul: After making several hits in the traditional 60’s Motown sound, Norman Whitfield decided to change his style towards “psychedelic soul”. That transition was highly influenced by Day 17’s Sly & The Family Stone and greatly benefited Day 18’s The Temptations.

 …I’m going to assume that we all know the story of The Temptations… and will just dive into my Top 5 “Norman Whitfield / The Temptations” songs…
…Number 1: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”
…Number 2: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
…Number 3: “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep”
…Number 4: “Just My Imagination”
…Number 5: “Runaway Child, Running Wild”
…Bonus Track: “Ball of Confusion”
 …just for the sake of good Soul… here’s Whitfield’s first hit… by a young Marvin Gaye… one of my favorites… “Pride & Joy”
Norman Whitfield
…that’s soul music at it’s best…
– dre’ of onustees.com


Do Better Thursday – We’ll Be Riiiiiiiiight Back…

by dre of onustees.com on 25 February 2010

Do Better Thursday is on a brief hiatus… that shall end next Thursday… March 4th… and yes I know… there’s plenty to rant on… and we shall… next Thursday… see you then…
– dre’ of onustees.com


6 Degrees of Soul: …I tried… but I seem to have hit a dead-end with the degrees of separation from Day 16’s Rotary Connection to Day 17’s Sly & the Family Stone. If you know a way… please let me know…

In the early seventies there were three dominating styles of funk, the godfather Jame Brown’s version, his godson’s version of Parliament-Funkadelic and the distant cousins Sly & The Family Stone. Led by Sylvester Stewart, aka Sly Stone, the groups sound an edgier rock infused form of funk than their counterparts. With brother Freddie Stone and Larry Graham (of Graham Central Station fame), the band would make some of the most memorable music of all time. At the end of the sixties, the bands music became progressively more political and synonymous with the Black Power Movement. This would both catapult and lead to the undoing of the groups success. However, One thing remains to this day… their catalog of great music.
“Dance to the Music” was initially written to satisfy the Clive Davis request of a “pop” record… the title track would become the groups first song to crack Top 10 on the charts…
…the groups breakthrough album was Stand!… check out their performance of “I Wanna Take You Higher” at Woodstock…
…here is a medley of Stone hits… “Hot Fun in the Summertime”, “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey” and “I Wanna Take You Higher”… 
…as long as it’s funky for you…
– dre’ of onustees.com


6 Degrees of Soul: Before he made hits for Day’s 15’s EWF, Charles Stepney was one of the founding members of Day 16’s Rotary Connection.

Psychedelic brainchild of Charles Stepney and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess), Rotary Connection pushed the boundary of soul experimentation with the incorporation of jazz and the voice of Minnie Riperton. The enigmatic group would release six albums and leave it’s mark on psychedelic soul music.
…used for Common’s “Drivin’ Me Wild”… 1971, the group released “Love Has Fallen on Me” on their final album, Hey Love
…from the same album… “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun”
…just because… a Minnie Riperton song penned by Stevie Wonder… title track “Perfect Angel”… sung in tribute by Wonder…

…soul lives on…
– dre’ of onustees.com


Black Music History “Group Session” – Day 15: Earth, Wind & Fire

22 February 2010

6 Degrees of Soul: Day 14’s The Dells album Love Is Blue was arranged by Charles Stepney. Among the several groups Stepney arranged/produced, one of them was Day 15’s Earth, Wind & Fire.   …one of their early hits… “Keep Your Head to the Sky”… …co-written by Charles Stepney… “That’s the Way of the World”… […]

Black Music History “Group Session” – Day 14: The Dells

19 February 2010

6 Degrees of Soul: In 1974, Day 13’s The Dramatics did a joint album with Day 14’s The Dells. The album was titled The Dells vs. The Dramatics.   The Dells were the bridge that linked doo-wop to classic soul. After their hit “Oh, What A Night”, in 1956, several groups patterned themselves after The […]

Black Music History “Group Session” – Day 13: The Dramatics

18 February 2010

6 Degrees of Soul: Al Bell wrote “I’ll Take You There” for Day 12’s The Staple Singers. Bell launched the careers of several acts, one of those acts is Day 14’s The Dramatics.   Like The Spinners and The Stylistics, much much much more needs to be made of the legacy of The Dramatics. This […]

Black Music History “Group Session” – Day 12: The Staple Singers

18 February 2010

6 Degrees of Soul: Willie “Too Tall” Hall of Day 11’s The Bar Kays is known for backing several Stax artists. He was on the sticks for Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft”. One of the many Stax artists Hall backed was Day 13’s The Staple Singers.   Mavis, Cleotha, Yvonne & “Pops” make up the […]

Black Music History “Group Session” – Day 11: The Bar Kays

17 February 2010

6 Degrees of Soul: The “Ice Man”, Jerry Butler was the original lead singer of Day 10’s The Impressions. Butler with fellow soul legend, Otis Redding, co-wrote “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”. Redding’s backing band was Day 11’s The Bar Kays.   The Bar Kays is truly a story of the phoenix rising from […]

Do Better Thursday – This Time It’s Personal…

11 February 2010

…this weeks Do Better moment… is self-addressed… it seems I’ve let the Snowdom of 2010 allow me to completely slack off on tasks, goals and dreams… although I have been able to get work done for the 9-to-5 and lend a hand shoveling… I haven’t done much more than that… well… cook and clean, I […]