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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Going Back In Time Through Music

I love music and I listen to it constantly: in the car, while I'm cleaning, at the gym....everywhere! So I tend to get tired of stuff really quick and I'm constantly on the hunt for my next favorite band. But last summer I realized something. Instead of looking for the next hot indie band that your friends totally haven't heard of yet, I realized that people have been making music for hundreds of years and most of it is pretty damn good. So instead of moving forward, I've started looking back.  The thirties, forties and fifties have some totally amazing songs that shouldn't be forgotten so easily!  Put on some Sam Cooke and listen to the birth of soul music!  Once you start listening, you can hear their influence in most modern bands today.  Don't forget, these guys were huge music stars once upon a time and for good reason.  I think music was more innocent back then while simultaneously being more sincere than most of the autotuned crap we get today.  It was more....pure.  There was no music videos, no perfume brands or clothing lines and no sampled beats.  There was words, a voice and real live musical instruments.  So simple but wonderfully complex at the same time.

Sam Cooke
Oh my god, the voice on this man.  He is considered "The King of Soul" and for good reason.  From his sweet, toe tapping love songs to soulful, heart wrenching ballads, it seems Sam can do no wrong.  Throw on Twistin' The Night away the next time you have to do you dishes and you'll be wiggling as you scrub before you know it!  A lot of his songs have a tinge of gospel to them, but he certainly knows how to party as well, even if he has trouble finding ladies according to "Another Saturday Night".  It's so sad we lost such a talented musician at only 33 years old.  Who knows what amazing songs he would have gone on to create if he had the chance.
Download: A Change is Gonna Come, Twistin' The Night Away, Good Times

Dusty Springfield
The first white woman to sing soul and R&B, in 1966 she was the best selling female artist in the world.  Her soft, seductive voice and blonde beehive are irresistible.  Beneath her glamorous gowns and heavy eyeliner hid a very self concious girl who always felt she didn't quite measure up to her peers that she admired so much.  Although "Dusty in Memphis" is considered one of the greatest albums of all time, she was always crying during recording because of her crippling insecurity.  I think that her vulnerability is what makes her music so touching, it sounds as though she's singing straight to you.  Dusty is a true talent whose music and legacy should be treasured for years to come.  (Fun tidbit: she suggested to her record label that they should sign a unknown band called Led Zepplin, as John Paul Jones had played for her, and they were signed before the label even saw them play!)
Download: I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself, Spooky, Breakfast in Bed, Wishin' and Hopin'

Louis Prima & Keely Smith
I am so fond of Louis, I think of him like I would a best friend.  He cheers me up when I'm sad, always makes me dance and his wife, Keely, is always there when I need some girl time.  His career is amazing; spanning from a jazz band in the 20's to a Vegas lounge act in the 50's and pop-rock in the 60's.  He plays King Louis in The Jungle Book!  What other reason do you need to love him?  He is such a charismatic showman, not afraid to be silly or make people laugh.  Keely was the ultimate "straight man", hardly ever cracking a smile as she raised an eyebrow at his wacky onstage antics.  It is physically impossible for me to listen to his music without tapping my toe or clapping along.  Who needs drugs when you've got Louis?  I wanna be like you-ooh-ooh!  (To see them in action, you must watch this video! It melts my heart every time I watch it.)
Download:  Angelina, Don't Worry Bout Me/I'm In The Mood For Love, Too Marvelous For Words, Buona Sera

Alright, well that seems to have covered my favorites of the late 50s and 60s.  I'm totally doing 20s and 30s next!  Who are your favorite artists from days gone by that you think need a bit of recognition?


  1. Hi Lisa, I just wanted to say that Sam Cooke is my favorite singer so I appreciated this post! Have you heard his "Live at the Harlem Square Club" album? I would recommend it if you haven't heard it already, and also his gospel stuff is for the most part even better than his pop stuff in terms of singing. I'm always happy when I find somebody else who likes Sam Cooke -- usually I have to explain who he is when I am telling somebody about him. I also liked your long distance relationship post because my girlfriend and I are currently in long-distance mode, and your post about surviving long flights. :-)

    Benjamin of Chestnutmocha

  2. @chestnutmocha
    Oh, thank you so much! I haven't heard that album but I'll check it out for sure, he's probably a million times better live! Don't you wish time machines existed so you could go back and see him in person!?

    Good luck with the long distance, it's worth every second apart just for that moment when you see them at the airport!


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