// Blog

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 1

 

1.
Curtis Mayfield Curtis6Move On Up and (Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Down Below, We’re All Going To Go by Curtis Mayfield: Both of these classic tracks were recorded for 1970’s Curtis, the first solo album by the former lead singer of The Impressions, and the first Soul album to break boundaries in a successful attempt to address the political/social issues of American society, a concept Curtis Mayfield expanded upon on his ambitious magnum opus, 1970’s Super Fly. (Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Down Below, We’re All Going To Go peaked at No. 29 on the Pop Chart and No. 3 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Also available on the compilation The Very Best Of Curtis Mayfield.

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]






2.
The Ojays Backstabbers2Back Stabbers and Love Train by The O’Jays: In 1972, iconic Philadelphia Soul trio The O’Jays released Back Stabbers, a landmark album and an important part of Soul Music history, which reached No. 10 on Billboard’s Pop Album Chart. Back Stabbers sold more than 500.000 copies within a year of its release and produced two major  hit singles, the title track Back Stabbers (R&B No. 3) and its follow-up single, the No. 1 hit Love Train, both considered bonafide classics within the genre. Also available on the hits collection The Essential The O'Jays.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

3.
Bobby Blue Bland Dreamer Album CoverAin’t No Love In The Heart Of The City by Bobby “Blue” Bland: One of the absolute greatest Soul songs of the '70s by one of the genre’s greatest singers. Even though the song was only a minor hit on the Pop Chart, it did enter the Top Ten of the Soul/R&B Chart. Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City was also available on the LP Dreamer (released in 1974). Since then the song has been covered by various artists over the years, and in 2001, it was sampled by iconic rapper Jay-Z for the inspired album track Heart Of The City (Ain’t No Love).



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

4.
The Spinners Album The SpinnersI’ll Be Around and Could It Be I’m Falling In Love by The Spinners: I’ll Be Around became Soul group The Spinners’ first million-selling hit single. Originally the B-side of the single How Could I Let You Get Away, heavy radio airplay prompted Atlantic Records to flip the single over, so that I’ll Be Around became the A-side, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Pop Chart. The follow-up single Could It Be I’m Falling In Love was equally successful (Pop No. 4 and Soul/R&B No. 1), selling more than 1 million copies. Both songs were released as singles off the group's 1972 album The Spinners and are also available on The Platinum Collection.





[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

5.
talking book stevie wonderSuperstition by Stevie Wonder: Written, arranged, produced and performed by Wonder, when he was just 22 years old, the hit single Superstition (Pop No. 1, Soul/R&B No. 1) and its accompanying album Talking Book (released in 1972) introduced a new chapter in the young songwriter’s career. Two of his prior albums, Where I’m Coming From (1971) and Music Of My Mind (1972), indicated the high level of his ambitions, but Superstition and Talking Book were clear evidence of his extraordinary talent and craftsmanship, which would eventually result in two of the creatively and commercially most successful Soul albums of the '70s, Innervisions and Songs In The Key Of Life. The hit single Superstition is also available on The Definitive Collection.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

6.
Gladys Knight and The Pips If I Were Your Woman2If I Were Your Woman and I Don’t Want To Do Wrong by Gladys Knight & The Pips: Dubbed “The Empress Of Soul”, Gladys Knight is one of the all-time most revered female Soul singers (along with “The Queen Of Soul”, Aretha Franklin). If I Were Your Woman was just one successful single in a long line of memorable chart hits, reaching Soul/R&B No. 1 and Pop No. 9, and earning the band their second Grammy nomination in the category Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group Or Duo. I Don’t Want To Do Wrong (Pop No. 17) was the first single released from the LP If I Were Your Woman, which reached No. 35 on Billboard’s Album Chart. These songs are also available on the compilation The Definitive Collection.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

7.
Bill Withers Just As I Am 492023Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers: Yet another hit single that was originally the B-side of a single (Harlem). When the D.J.'s on various radio stations across America favored Ain’t No Sunshine to Harlem, it became a huge hit, peaking at No. 6 on the Soul/R&B Chart and No. 3 on the Pop Chart. Written when Withers was 31 years old, it went on to win a Grammy for Best R&B song in 1972, and has long since become a certified classic. The accompanying LP Just As I Am also featured the charming, minor hit Grandma’s Hands, and strong album tracks such as the profound ballad Hope She’ll Be Happier. Also available on the collection Lean On Me: The Best Of Bill Withers.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

8.
Wake Up Everybody Harold Melvin and the Blue NotesWake Up Everybody and Don’t Leave Me This Way by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: Never released as a single (though it should’ve been), the socially conscious Wake Up Everybody is a profound and uplifting song written by Victor Carstarphen, John Whitehead and Gene McFadden (the latter two would later form the Soul/Disco duo McFadden & Whitehead). The hit single Don’t Leave Me This Way was written and recorded by the songwriting and production team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the founders of the famous, highly respected Philadelphia International record label. The album Wake Up Everybody (released in 1975) included both songs and was the last to feature Teddy Pendergrass, who would then embark on a successful solo career. Wake Up Everybody and Don’t Leave Me This Way are also available on the compilation The Essential Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

9.
Earth Wind and Fire Thats The Way Of The WorldShining Star and That’s The Way Of The World by Earth, Wind & Fire: A prime example of superlative, exquisitely arranged and produced Funk, Shining Star was the first single off the album That’s The Way Of The World, released in 1975. It was also Funk/Soul/Jazz pioneers Earth, Wind & Fire’s first major hit, topping both the Pop and Soul/R'n'B charts, selling more than a million copies and winning a Grammy award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group. The title track from That’s The Way Of The World peaked at No. 12 on the Pop Chart and No. 5 on the Soul/R&B Chart, and the album climbed all the way to the top of both charts. These classic songs are also available on the collection Greatest Hits.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

10.
barrywhite stonegone coverNever, Never Gonna Give You Up and Honey Please, Can’t Ya See by Barry White: Written, arranged, produced and engineered by Barry White himself, he also sang lead vocals and played piano on what was only the third hit single of his long, spectacular career. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up was the first single to be released off his 1973 album Stone Gon’, which topped the Soul/R&B Chart and peaked at No. 20 on the Pop Album Chart. The second single Honey Please, Can’t Ya See reached No. 6 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Both hits are also available on the 2-CD compilation Barry White: Gold.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

11.
724382914228Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out and I’m Through Trying To Prove My Love To You by Bobby Womack: Deeply soulful singer Bobby Womack is a songsmith and craftsman of the highest order, whether recording his own material or deftly chosen songs by other songwriters. In 1973 he released the album Facts Of Life, produced by himself and recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Records. The only hit single released from Facts Of Life was Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out (Pop No. 29, Soul/R&B No. 2), but accomplished songs like I’m Through Trying To Prove My Love To You all add up to an album that is very strong from start to finish. The songs are also available on the compilation The Very Best Of Bobby Womack.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

12.
l51954If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right) by Luther Ingram: Interpreted by various entertainers through the years ranging from classy black singers such as Millie Jackson, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Isaac Hayes to Blue-Eyed Soul singer Rod Stewart, the first one to record this classic Soul song was Luther Ingram, whose version topped the Soul/R&B Chart and reached No. 3 on the Pop Chart, selling more than a million copies. Ingram’s rich, intimate voice and his ability to empathize renders his version of If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right) both captivating, engaging and superior. Available on Absolutely The Best Of Luther Ingram.

 

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]


For more classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, also read:

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 2

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 3

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 4

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 5

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 6 

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 7

Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Friday, December 28, 2012
Social Links
Subscribe via RSS
Support Volt & Volume