Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 9

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 9: Listen To Some Classic R&B/Soul Music

Earlier this month, I suggested that people listen to some good Hip-Hop music. It's only fitting, then, that I suggest that people listen to some classic R&B/Soul music. Despite my youth (I'm only 24), I have a big appreciation for classic soul music. I grew up with a lot of music around me...literally. My dad's record collection is huge. It's a hip-hop producer's dream. Piles and piles of vinyl albums are stacked on an old (but sturdy) bookcase in our basement. There are probably well over 200 albums on that shelf, and most of them are R&B/Soul music. Their dates range from the 60's all the way to the late 80's. What's amazing, however, is that the albums are only part of the collection. Inside a closet near the stereo are stacks and stacks of more records...45 RPM singles. Many of these singles are from artists and groups that didn't last very long. All told, our family probably has anywhere from 300-500 records downstairs in our basement.

With that note, I say seek out the good stuff. Go for the Motown sound of Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder. Go for the smooth vocals of The Isley Brothers, Teddy Pendgergrass, and Barry White. Go for the funky sounds of George Clinton/Funkadelic/Parliament, Bootsy Collins, The Ohio Players, and Rick James. Go for genre-defying artists like Prince and Earth, Wind, and Fire. And go for the immense talent of people like the great Curtis Mayfield. Many of the best contemporary black artists like Kanye West and Alicia Keys understand and appreciate the artistry behind classic R&B/Soul music. It is amazing music that is virtually timeless.

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