Tag Archives: otis redding

Travel Music

A friend of mine wrote this after someone asked him about travel music. He mentioned Curtis Mayfield. They had that look which means I have no idea who you are talking about.
(You can use Rhapsody to access these albums.)

The holy trinity of Old School Soul is Curtis Mayfield, Jerry “Iceman” Butler, and Marvin Gaye. Yes, yes – I know about Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, James Carr, Percy Sledge, James Brown, etc. I love and admire them all, but there’s just something special about Curtis, Jerry, and Marvin. In the late 1960s, they ruled the airways. They kept me company on Armed Forces Radio during my stint in Nam.

Jerry Butler – (1967) Mr Dream Merchant
Jerry Butler – (1967) Soul Artistry
Jerry Butler – (1968) The Ice Man Cometh
Jerry Butler – (1968) The Soul Goes On
Jerry Butler – (1969) Ice on Ice
Jerry Butler was the original lead singer of The Impressions, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. He grew up poor, having lived in Chicago’s Cabrini–Green housing complex. Music and the church provided solace from a city that was as segregated as those in the Deep South. He performed in a church choir with Curtis Mayfield and the two were together in a gospel quartet called Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers. Mayfield, a guitar player, became the lone instrumentalist for the six-member Roosters group, which later became The Impressions. Inspired by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and the Pilgrim Travelers. Butler was dubbed the “Iceman” by Philadelphia disc jockey, Georgie Woods, while performing at the Uptown Theater, just down Broad Street from where I work. With Otis Redding, he co-wrote the classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” in 1965. Butler’s solo career had a string of hits, including the Top 10 successes “He Will Break Your Heart”, “Find Another Girl”, “I’m A-Telling You” (all written by fellow Impression Curtis Mayfield and featuring Mayfield as harmony vocal), the million selling “Only the Strong Survive,” “Need To Belong” (recorded with the Impressions after he went solo), “Make It Easy On Yourself,” “Let It Be Me” (with Betty Everett), “Brand New Me,” “Ain’t Understanding Mellow” (with Brenda Lee Eager), “Hey, Western Union Man”, and “Never Give You Up.” Butler is currently a Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois, having first been elected in 1985. As a member of this 17-member county board, he chairs the Health and Hospitals Committee, and serves as Vice Chair of the Construction Committee.

Curtis Mayfield – (1970) Curtis
Curtis Mayfield – (1971) Love
Curtis Mayfield – (1971) Roots
Curtis Mayfield – (1972) Superfly
Curtis Mayfield – (1973) Back to the World
Curtis Lee Mayfield was an American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer. Best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, he was a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums. Curtis was a double inductee into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He taught himself how to play guitar, tuning it to the black keys of the piano, thus giving him an open F-sharp tuning—F#, A#, C#, F#, A#, F#—that he used throughout his career. The Impressions reached the height of their popularity in the mid-to-late-’60s with a string of Mayfield compositions that included “Keep on Pushing,” “People Get Ready”, “It’s All Right”, “Talking about My Baby”, “Woman’s Got Soul”, “Choice of Colors,”, “Fool For You,” “This is My Country” and “Check Out Your Mind.” In 1990, Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert in New York. He died 9 years later of complications from that injury.

Marvin Gaye – (1966) Moods of Marvin Gaye + (1970) That’s The Way Love Is:
Marvin Gaye – (1971) What’s Going On (Deluxe Edition)
Marvin Gaye – (1972) Let’s Get It On
Marvin Gaye – (1972) Trouble Man + (1969) M.P.G.
Marvin Gaye – (1976) I Want You
Marvin Gaye had a four-octave vocal range. Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla Records subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties. Because of solo hits such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”, “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, he was crowned “The Prince of Motown” and “The Prince of Soul.” Gaye was shot dead by his father on April 1, 1984. He was posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and in 2008, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at number 6 on its list of the Greatest Singers of All Time, and ranked at number 18 on 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.