60’s Soul Records about Love and Loss

by Administrator 27. October 2017 15:54

Soul and funk are two distinct musical styles that often get lumped together. That’s because the two genres have a similar sound and share roots in R&B and gospel music. However, by treating these two genres as the same, the nuances of each become lost.

So, today we are going to step away from our typical funk/soul roundups and give soul the spotlight it deserves.

Soul music is gospel music without religious lyrics. However, soul retains much of the characteristic elements of gospel, such as a call-and-response format and the utilization of a chorus.

Here are some soul artists that sing about love and really show what soul is all about. These songs will make any casual soul listener an instant fan.

The Clock by The Contenders—Java 101 (Released 1966)

Label owner: Val Shively & Jack Strong. Philadelphia, Pa. 1966. (Only 3 records were released on this label all by the Contenders.)

Side A: The Clock
Side B: Look at Me

Both sides of this record feature an accompaniment by a little known band called the Rouges. The record released one year after The Contenders formed in 1965. In previous years, the band had recorded the same songs under different names—The Lyations, The Kaptions, and the Zippers. However, the 1966 Java release is universally recognized as the definitive one.

The epitome of Philly doowop, “The Clock” opens with a bassy vocal rhythm and an emphasis on the downbeat, a common element of the doowop style. You feel that downbeat every time you tap your feet to the thud-THUD that carries the music along. “The Clock” compares the progression of a budding romance with the progression of a clock moving through the hours. Anybody who has ever been in love can relate to the feeling of growing excitement and the agony of parting that’s captured in this hit.

Compared to the energetic opening of “The Clock”, “Look at Me” opens with mellow, thoughtful vocals. The entirety of this track is a sort of self-pitying lamentation about heartbreak. In a way, it’s appropriate that this track exists on the opposite side of “The Clock,” since heartbreak constantly looms on the other side of love.

Teacher of Love by Melvin Carter—Peacock 1938 (Released 1964)

Label owner: Don D. Robey. 4104 Lyons Ave, Houston Texas & 2809 Erastus St, Houston Texas 1949-1968.

Side A: Teacher of Love
Side B: Something Reminds Me

Melvin Carter, often confused with Cincinnati singer Mel Carter, was a man who understood what soul was all about. His most popular song, “Love is a Sacrifice”, wouldn’t be released until 1973. Until then, he was busy recording music that captured the essence of southern soul, taking notes from gospel, blues, country, and even early rock. By publishing through Peacock Records, Melvin Carter joined the ranks of other defining funk and soul musicians like James Booker and Memphis Slim. Peacock Records most famously released Big Mama Thonrton’s “Hound Dog,” which would later be covered by Elvis Presley himself. By grabbing this record, you’ll get an essential piece of southern soul that your collection wouldn’t be complete without.

“Teacher of Love” features an energetic electric guitar backing Carter’s rich voice. He expresses his frustration on school’s focus on impractical subjects, instead wishing school would teach about romance, an important aspect in anyone’s life. Is the woman he longs for his teacher? Or is it just a girl in his class? Give the track a listen and decide for yourself!

Compared to “Teacher of Love,” “Something Reminds Me” features a more somber sound. The electric guitar of the first song is replaced with a piano, which helps the song achieve the melancholy effect it doubtlessly strove for. If the first track was about love to come, the second touches on the pain and loneliness felt after that love departs. It makes a perfect counterpart to the record’s A side. Together, they paint a clear picture of the excitement, confusion, and calamity of young love.

Life by Cortez & The Entertainers—Your Town 711 (Released 1969)

Label owner: A product of Jacomil Ent. Inc. 80 McClellan St, Bronx, N.Y. 1962. (Only 2 records were released on this label. The other one was by the Johnson Brothers. # 712)

Side A: Life
Side B: I Sent Her Back (To The Home She Loves)

Both Cortez & The Entertainers and Your Town Records were short lived. The former only ever released the record we’re writing about today, and the latter only published two records before disappearing completely. Despite their short time here, they both made a big impact. Give it a listen and we guarantee you you’ll wish Cortez & The Entertainers had stuck around.

“Life” is a hit of a song that opens with fanfare-esque trumpets. While the song chronicles a man’s journey from love to heartbreak, the true message of the song seems to center around the importance of pushing forward after hardships. No matter the heartbreak, life goes on.

“I Sent Her Back” takes the message from the first song and applies it to the singer’s own life. Despite the harrowing situation, Cortez recalls the story in an upbeat way and shows how willing he is to take his own advice. Once you hear the blaring trumpets, quick basslines, and solos, you won’t be able to keep from smiling. If you’re down and looking for a bit of soul infused motivation, you need look no further than Cortez & The Entertainers.

Fall Into Your New Favorite Record

Pricing, details (grade, side A/B, quantity) and sound clips for each of the above records can be found via the following links:

The Clock – The Contenders

Teacher of Love – Melvin Carter

Life – Cortez & The Entertainers

We provide a simple online ordering form for any of our records. Enter your billing and shipping information, provide details about the record you’re requesting, hit submit, and relax knowing that good times are on their way.

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