Page 1 of 2

The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:19 am
by Jamie Renton
I just finally got round to watching BBC4's (very good) doc on Otis Redding, who I rate as the finest soul singer of the lot. Going againist Arthur Conley's assertion in Sweet Soul Music that James Brown was "The king of them all y'all" and Richard Cook's assertion, as recounted here: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=19061 that Otis had a limited range of vocal tics and tricks.

OK so JB invented funk, influenced everyone and (via samples, samples of samples etc) probably features on a lot of the music made today, but I find Otis more engaging, versatile (take THAT Richard Cook) and technically a better singer.

For vocal technique, I'd also have to put Jackie Wilson up there and for raw passion and a body of recorded work that gives me chills and thrills on every listen, OV Wright must be mentioned. But really, Otis is the one. He could croon, he could roar, he could combine the two like no other ("croar"? "rroon"? call it what you will)

Any other votes for king ya'll? I bet we've done this before somewhere, but I'd still be interested to hear other's views.

Course, if we were talkiing about the Queen of them all y'all, we could just agree on Aretha and that would be that, right?

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:28 am
by Adam Blake
Jamie I think you've posted this twice, old boy.

I love Otis, but he's not my favourite. I used to prefer Wilson Pickett when I was just a lad, but these days I tend to think Sam Cooke was the guv'ner.

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:41 am
by john poole
Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke, James Carr, and yes, Wilson Pickett would need to be considered amongst others, but Otis in partnership with Steve Cropper, the MGs and Mar-Keys made the best records I think, although as mentioned previously here he could sometimes become a little frenetic when performing live.

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:02 am
by AndyM
I note it was me who brought up the Richard Cook critique, and I had it at the back of my mind when I watched the BBC4 doc, but in truth the doc showed the error of Cook's ways, and I found myself marvelling at Otis as (almost) never before. I still think his slower, less manic tracks are his best, though - 'Pain in My Heart' is pretty peerless.

As for who is 'the best' ? Well, how long is a piece of string ? I'd want to throw Stevie Wonder & Levi Stubbs into the mix, as Motown often gets left out in discussions of soul men.

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:20 am
by Jamie Renton
Sam Cooke for sure. And certainly Stevie n Levi (and Michael Jackson maybe?) from Motown. Both the Wicked Pickett and James Carr cut a few tunes I love with a passion.

How about Ray Charles? He pretty much invented soul.

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:27 am
by NormanD
Sam Cooke was certainly THE Man, though too many of his great performances were often marred by schlocky production. His early gospel performances are perfectly beautiful. Otis certainly acknowledged his respect for Sam Cooke.

Otis's studio work was great - the Stax sound stands out and complements his voice so well, it's a wonderful blend, and I can't imagine any other pairing that would have suited him. I turned down a chance to see Otis - one of life's big regrets, but we all have them. He still gets my vote as the greatest. With Arthur Alexander a very close second.

Levi Stubbs certainly deserves wider recognition than he usually gets. Maybe his lack of a solo career didn't help (and certainly his "Little Shop Of Horrors" role didn't do much for him either). Levi may not have been a soul singer, but his voice had a lot more soul than most others.

I thought of Ray Charles too, but how can you compare him with anyone else, let alone Otis? He - or his record company - came up with that great mathematical formula that's never been bettered: Genius + Soul = Jazz

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:24 pm
by Jamie Renton
Arthur Alexandrr...how could I have missed him off the list! Thanks Norman

Interesting that point about tarnishing careers. I wonder what would have happened if Otis had lived a bit longer? He was moving in a poppier direction with Dock of the Bay Who knows, maybe he'd have ended up as the voice of the maneating plant in Little Shop...

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:33 pm
by AndyM
Jamie Renton wrote: I wonder what would have happened if Otis had lived a bit longer? He was moving in a poppier direction with Dock of the Bay Who knows, maybe he'd have ended up as the voice of the maneating plant in Little Shop...


Dock of the Bay poppy ?? Sounds pretty soulful to me. It's hardly 'Yummy Yummy Yummy I've Got Love In My Tummy', is it now ?

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:13 pm
by Jamie Renton
AndyM wrote:Dock of the Bay poppy ?? Sounds pretty soulful to me. It's hardly 'Yummy Yummy Yummy I've Got Love In My Tummy', is it now ?


With it's acoustic guitar, whistling and seashore sound effects, it's hardly Sex Machine either.

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:14 pm
by AndyM
Sex Machine isn't soulful, it's funky!

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:33 pm
by Jamie Renton
AndyM wrote:Sex Machine isn't soulful, it's funky!


Funky and soulful (the two not being mutually exclusive)

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:05 pm
by DavidM
AndyM wrote:
Sex Machine isn't soulful, it's funky!


Jamie Renton wrote
Funky and soulful (the two not being mutually exclusive)


I can see a demarcation dispute coming. Where's the Musicians Union handbook ?

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:59 pm
by Adam Blake
Funk is an offshoot of soul which is the child of gospel and r'n'b which are the children of blues and spirituals... I think...

(Rock'n'roll being the bastard child of blues and country)

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:00 pm
by AndyM
Funk is bony, soul is curvaceous.

Re: The King of Them All Ya'll?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:05 pm
by Jamie Renton
Soul IS curvaceous, funk is muscular