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45 Revolutions of Soul

Spring is finally here, an unquestionable sign that summer is just around the corner, a fact has a few implications for me: lots of swimming, lots of traveling, lots of All American Hamburger, lots of Ralph’s Italian Ices and tons of soul music of all varieties.

From my collection of Northern Soul, Soul and R&B 45s I’ve compiled a mix of what I feel are some essential sunny weather tunes that apply in many warm weather situations: dance parties, beach ragers, BBQs, and road trips just to name a few. There is a criterion for a feel-good summer soul song that I used to find the best examples for said mix. Blaring horns almost always a must, desperate, almost screamed, soulful vocals with instantly memorizable melodies, ripping upbeat drums, syrupy sweet guitar hooks (see Steve Cropper for a lesson), a little bit of whistling in some instances, organs in most, and finally, a good sturdy and bouncy bass line. There are a few exceptions to the formula here, which I’ve added for tension and to create some valleys and peaks.

These songs are intended get your foot moving, your head shaking, and to compliment the crazy feeling of a hot summer in the streets of America. Winter is dead, let’s celebrate.

1. Otis Redding – “Direct Me” – ATCO
2. Major Lance – “Mama Didn’t Know” – O’Keh
3. JR Walker and The All Stars – “Road Runner” – Soul
4. Shirley Ellis – “Soul Time” – Columbia
5. Clif “Reggie” Nobles  - “The Horse” – Phil-A of Soul
6. Edwin Starr – “Twenty Five Miles” – Gordy
7. The Mad Lads – “Michael The Lover” – Volt
8. Booker T. & The MGs – “Summertime” – Stax
9. The Intruders – “Cowboys to Girls” – Gamble
10. Jackie Lee – “The Duck” – Mirwood
11. Top Shelf – “No Second Thoughts (About Who You Really Love)” – LoLo Records
12. Archie Bell & The Drells – “Tighten Up pt. 1″ – Atlantic
13. Honey Cone – “The Day I Found Myself” – Hot Wax
14. Joe Tex – “Going and Get It” – Dial
15. Billy Stewart – “Summertime” – Chess
16. Dave Mustaine and the Valentines – “My Rockin’ Surfboard” – Crust War*

* = Bonus song1


  1. Not included on mix