OK, here's a long list of MOST of what I've been inflicting on unsuspecting customers at work for the last couple of months. Many of these came cheap from my local Goodwill store -- a great source for music if you don't mind diggin'.
Especially Great Stuff is marked with a *. Notes follow....
Tower of Power -- *So Very Hard to Go, *You're Still a Young Man, *Down to the Nightclub, *What is Hip?, You Got to Funkifize.
Earth, Wind and Fire -- *September, Shining Star, That's the Way of the World, *Sing a Song, *Serpentine Fire, *Fantasy, Kalimba Story, *Getaway, *After the Love is Gone, Boogie Wonderland (with The Emotions).
Bill Withers -- *Ain't No Sunshine, *Grandma's Hands, Use Me, Who is He and What is He to You?
Al Green -- Tired of Being Alone, I Can't Get Next to You, *Let's Stay Together, *I'm Still in Love With You, *Call Me, Let's Get Married, *Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy), *Take Me to the River, *Love Ritual, *L-O-V-E (Love), Full of Fire, *You Ought to be With Me.
Aretha -- *I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Respect, *Dr. Feelgood, *Chain of Fools, *Think, The House That Jack Built, *Since You've Been Gone, Spirit in the Dark, *Spanish Harlem, *Rock Steady, Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby), *Day Dreaming, *Until You Come Back to Me.
Otis Redding -- *Mr. Pitiful, I've Been Loving You Too Long, My Lover's Prayer, *Shake, *Respect, Satisfaction, Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa (Sad Song), *Try a Little Tenderness, The Happy Song (Dum-Dum), Tramp (with Carla Thomas), Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.
Commodores -- *Machine Gun, *Brick House, *Sail On.
Parliament -- *P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up).
Bonnie Raitt -- *I Can't Make You Love Me, *Angel from Montgomery, Finest Lovin' Man, Give it Up or Let Me Go, Women be Wise, Love Me Like a Man, Love Has No Pride, Guilty, What is Success?, Sugar Mama, others....
Booker T and the MG's -- *Time is Tight, *Hang 'Em High, Green Onions.
Isley Brothers -- *That Lady.
Dramatics -- *Whatcha See is Whatcha Get, *In the Rain, *(Gimme Some) Good Soul Music.
Junior Walker and the All-Stars -- *I'm a Road Runner, *I Ain't Going Nowhere, *Pucker Up Buttercup, *Anyway You Wannta, Probe Your Mind, *Nothing But Soul, Take Me Girl I'm Ready, Shotgun, *Moody Junior, *Shake and Fingerpop.
Spinners -- *I'll Be Around, *I'm Coming Home, *Rubberband Man, *Could it be I'm Falling in Love, *One of a Kind Love Affair.
Stylistics -- *You are Everything, *Betcha By Golly Wow.
Curtis Mayfield -- *Freddie's Dead.
Average White Band -- Pick Up the Pieces.
Brothers Johnson -- *Strawberry Letter 23, *I'll Be Good to You, Get the Funk Out Ma Face.
Wild Cherry -- Play that Funky Music.
Cheryl Lynn -- Got to be Real.
Emotions -- *Best of My Love.
Ike and Tina Turner -- Proud Mary, *River Deep Mountain High.
Funkadelic -- Super Stupid, *Can You Get to That?
B.B. King -- The Thrill is Gone, Nobody Loves Me But My Mother, How Blue Can You Get? (live).
Ray Charles -- Busted, Georgia on My Mind, Let's Go Get Stoned, Night Time is the Right Time, What'd I Say?, Hit the Road Jack.
Nina Simone -- *Funkier Than a Mosquita's Tweeter, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, Suzanne, Sunday in Savannah, Mississippi Goddam.
Motown's HITSVILLE USA singles collection/Various artists -- *He Was Really Saying Something, *Nowhere to Run, *When I'm Gone, *First I Look at the Purse, *Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me), *This Old Heart of Mine, Greetings (This is Uncle Sam), Function at the Junction, *What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, *Uptight.
K.C. and the Sunshine Band -- *Shake Your Booty, *That's the Way I Like It.
Wilson Pickett -- *Land of 1,000 Dances, Mustang Sally, Funky Broadway, *Don't Knock My Love, *Fire and Water.
Stevie Ray Vaughn -- *The House is Rockin', Cold Shot.
Timmy Thomas -- *Why Can't We Live Together?
J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound -- Baltimore is the New Brooklyn.
King Curtis -- *Memphis Soul Stew.
Solomon Burke -- Cry to Me.
Billy Paul -- Me and Mrs. Jones.
Labelle -- *Lady Marmalade.
James Brown -- *I Got You (I Feel Good), *Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Soul Power, Night Train, It's a Man's Man's Man's World, Cold Sweat, America is My Home, Prisoner of Love, Ain't That a Groove, Try Me, Get on the Good Foot.
...All this in addition to the usual Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Motown and Sly hits I've been playing at work for years....
NOTES: Some of these songs I'd never heard before. Others I hadn't heard in 35+ years.
Tower of Power still sounds great. I think "So Very Hard to Go" and "You're Still a Young Man" are both classics. The surprise was "What is Hip?" which has hilarious lyrics and should have been a big hit.
Why weren't EWF's "Fantasy" and "Serpentine Fire" bigger hits? "Fantasy" is just about perfect, especially on the edited single, where one musical intrusion smack in the middle of the song is removed so the flow isn't interrupted. "Serpentine Fire" has a great groove that I'd missed for years....
I've already babbled about Al Green, but the song I missed on his imported best-of was "You Ought to be With Me," which definitely speaks to me these days, in light of personal-relationship issues that have been ongoing since late June. Almost brought tears to my eyes, and after not hearing it since the early '70s, I still remembered the words!
Bill Withers was master of the seemingly simple, compact song. I HATED "Ain't No Sunshine" in 1971, but it sure sounded great 20 years later, and still does now. "Grandma's Hands" shoulda been a hit too -- and it's only 2 minutes long!
Great a singer as Otis Redding was, what I remember most from his songs are the instrumental parts -- the horns and guitars -- except for "Shake," which is a total scream ... and the very different approach he had to "Respect." And Otis wrote it.
Bonnie Raitt strikes me as a great voice with mostly second-rate material. "Angel from Montgomery" is one of the best things I've heard all year, and I already knew about "I Can't Make You Love Me." As for the rest....
I was thrilled to find a Dramatics best-of CD because my old tape with "Whatcha See is Whatcha Get" was about dead. "In the Rain" is also nice though very different. The real lost classic is "(Gimme Some) Good Soul Music," which has the vocals and sound of a big hit. But I can see where a song hooked with the phrase "Gimme some...." might have some trouble getting airplay.... But it's sure worth hearing....
I'd forgotten how annoying Cheryl Lynn's "Got to be Real" was.
Finally heard some Funkadelic. "Super Stupid" is just about the heavy-guitar and frenzied-vocals thing I'd expected, but "Can You Get to That?" is something more -- almost black-harmony-group-meets-folk-music. It's a lotta fun, shoulda been a hit. Gotta find more.
I want to like Ray Charles, but I'm having trouble with the orchestra that so often backed him. It seems so old-fashioned.
Nina Simone was worth hearing just for the acapella/drums "Funkier than a Mosquita's Tweeter," an old Tina Turner song that MUST have been written about Ike. It's a scream, and it's pretty bitter. Another lost classic.
HITSVILLE USA is a multi-CD set of Motown's first dozen years of singles. Somebody broke up the set and left the parts at my local Goodwill. Each disc does not ID the artists, though I knew some of them. "He Was Really Sayin' Something" should have been a huge hit. "First I Look at the Purse" is hilarious. "Greetings (This is Uncle Sam)" is a real oddity -- an apparently pro-Vietnam-draft song that I'll likely never play again. "When I'm Gone" is good girl-group Motown; "Function at the Junction" is OK second-string Motown. Also the first time in years that I've listened to Stevie Wonder's "Uptight," actually heard the words. It's pretty great, another song of adoration.
I bought the Wicked Pickett's best-of for "Land of 1,000 Dances," "Don't Knock My Love" and "Fire and Water." The latter two I hadn't heard since '72, and they both still sound great.
"Baltimore is the New Brooklyn" is another oddity -- nice heavy guitar and lyrics about how Baltimore's just a short train ride from NYC, and at least it's better than New Jersey.... They coulda done a sequel: "Cleveland is the New Chicago"....
"Memphis Soul Stew" is a great almost-instrumental that I'd never heard before.
Wow, even "Me and Mrs. Jones" doesn't sound bad now, and I HATED it back in '72 or whenever....
There will likely be more of this....
This is a weird place for a white progressive-rock fan from Idaho to go, but at least I'm not bored....
P.S. -- Hey, I forgot to mention ... each post since late June has been a late-night rush-job ... that customer reaction to all this stuff has been REALLY GOOD ... as long as the tunes are good. Radio stations please note....