Soul Playlist: The First 20

I like soul and R&B music very much. It was music that was played on all of the popular radio stations when I was growing up — when radio stations, generally, tended to play a much broader spectrum of music. You might hear a Beatles’ song followed by one by the Temptations followed by In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. These days, radio stations seem to pick one specific kind of music and stick to it, which I think is a lot more boring.

I tend to associate soul and R&B music with summer. I’m not sure why, but muggy nights in the ’60s and early ’70s always seemed to feature lightning bugs and Aretha Franklin, flashlight tag and the Supremes, ice cream and the Four Tops. In high school when you were on a date you always wanted to hear Me and Mrs. Jones, or Gladys Knight and the Pips, or anything by the Spinners. When I listen to those songs now, I am always struck by how romantic they are, full of love and heartbreak, longing and hope, desire and wistful dreams. You can’t help but contrast the generally positive message of those songs with the harsh, hateful misogyny of so much rap music. And the sound! Stunning vocals, lush harmonies, and melodies and a beat that just got you moving and singing along . . . .

Here are the first 20 songs on the soul/R&B playlist on my Ipod:

Me And Mrs. Jones — Billy Paul
Oh Girl — The Chi-Lites
Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye) — Gladys Knight & The Pips
I Wish It Would Rain — The Temptations
Respect — Aretha Franklin
Back Stabbers — The O’Jays
Let’s Get It On — Marvin Gaye
Let’s Stay Together — Al Green
Bring It On Home To Me — Sam Cooke
You’re Still A Young Man — Tower Of Power
Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got) — Four Tops
I Hear A Symphony — Diana Ross & The Supremes
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) — Sly & The Family Stone
Colors — Amos Lee
Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone (Single Version) — The Temptations
I’ll Be Around — The Spinners
Respect Yourself — The Staple Singers
Think — Aretha Franklin
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) — Natalie Cole
What’d I Say – Parts I & II — Ray Charles

Penny Cheswick

Our dog Penny has a deeply furrowed brow and a perpetually perplexed expression that goes well with her amiable but dim-witted personality. Her face has always looked very familiar to me, and this morning I was trying to place who she looked like when I suddenly realized — she looks just like Charlie Cheswick (pictured below) from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Charlie Cheswick

Charlie Cheswick