Saturday, February 05, 2005
Something's Got a Hold on Me
I've never been much for coffee...hot, cold, or blended into arcane, frothy concoctions...so I've not spent much time in any of the one zillion (and counting) Starbucks locations springing up on the landscape like invasive, herbicide-proof weeds. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I rather like the aroma of brewing coffee...and that, I'm told, I can brew a pretty good pot of the stuff push come to shove. I can also, I'm told, make a pretty dry martini even though that's something else I do not care to actually imbibe.)
But, of course, the good folks at Starbucks (I still think of Battlestar Galactica every time I hear that name...this, of course, outs me as the geek I am but what can you do?) understand that there are folks like me...folks who eschew coffee, folks who prefer to brew their tea at home...and they found other ways to get into the wallets of said non-latte drinkers.
For me, the egress into my wallet is facilitated by music. I know nothing from their coffee creations but I have to tip my hat to 'em, those folks really know how to put together a dandy CD. Case in point: Something's Got a Hold on Me, a sparkling collection of (sometimes criminally forgotten) R&B gems from the 60's and 70's.
This is soul music in the truest sense of the term...soul music that most of the young folks cluttering up the charts nowadays couldn't touch on their best days. Some of the music is instantly familiar...Al Green's sultry "Love and Happiness", Jackie Wilson's snappy "Baby Workout", the Isley Brother's yearning ballad "Who's That Lady" (which would later become a huge hit after being reworked into a rockin' jam by the Brothers), Etta James' typically engaging reading of the title tune...invoking warm, soulful nostalgia from the first note to the last.
Some of the stars...Aretha Franklin (in fine voice laying down the blues of "Ain't No Way", a song written by her sister Carolyn), James Brown, Booker T. and the M.G.'s...draw you in instantly even though their cuts are not among the best known of their many bigger hits.
Though they never got the level of acclaim and success they so richly deserved, the other artists here...Ruth Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, the Sweet Inspirations, Arthur Conley, the incomparable Bobby Womack, Betty Everett (here smoldering through "You're No Good", a song that Linda Ronstadt...who's my girl...would cover to lesser effect and much greater acclaim), Lavern Baker, and Freddie Scott...are all showcased with searing performances that ably testify to their places in the R&B pantheon.
Something's Got a Hold on Me is 16 cuts of pure soul wonderfulness.