Music and soul

Dec 12th, 2007 | By | Category: Pop thinking

If you hate slushy, sentimental music, read no further.

In the days when I would have listened to Tommy Vance on BBC Radio 1 on a Friday night and to Alan Freeman on a Saturday afternoon, strains of altogether different music would have lingered in my head. I could not have admitted any knowledge of such music and have retained any credibility. I could recite whole chunks of songs by The Stylistics, a male vocal soul group with a liking for lengthy introductions to their songs and with a tendency towards falsetto singing.

There was something about the music that seemed to create an atmosphere. Maybe it was because it was around during the times when I knew my first girlfriends, so will forever have a teenage romance dimension. Maybe it was because it had a distinctive sound.

Driving from Belfast to Dublin late one night, the DJ played “Betcha, by golly, wow”. It had a mellowness that created a feeling that the world around was choreographed, that even the motorway had soul.

Music to create moods has been known about for centuries; armies employed musicians to stir up martial feelings among their soldiers; kings created an aura around themselves with fanfares and triumphant marches; ordinary people expressed every mood imaginable through their songs, from the rowdy and bawdy to the soul-tearing lament.

Three thousand years ago, David in the Bible became familiar with the power of music,

Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”

Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

Do you think Saul would have like The Stylistics?

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  1. Wow Brilliant! Memories of the slow dance at the end of the disco at Othery village hall in 74/75 2 others ‘YOU MAKE ME FEEL BRAND NEW’ and ‘STONE IN LOVE WITH YOU’ Yes memories of first loves. I wonder if Saul would of been one of the millions that tried getting a ticket to see Led Zep!!! I’m with you Ian 70’s music was the best.

  2. Ahh you saucy old codger. . .everyone likes the Stylistics, music to do you-know-what-to! Um . . Saul can keep his harp . . . incidentally, not because I like them – I don’t – but a massed bagpipe band brings tears to the eyes. There’s something emotional bout those whiny strains. I just can’t help it.

  3. Les, Can’t imagine Zep would have calmed Saul’s soul too much – I think a bit of chillout music would have been more effective. Whatever we might have thought about Stylistics music, not too many blokes would have admitted to being aware of it.

    Baino, Occasionally, there would have been a piper playing a lament at funerals I did in the North. He would stand alone maybe twenty or thirty yards away from the grave and after the committal was complete, would launch into tune. People would stand in silence. It was very moving. The most moving tune, for me, is ‘Oft in the Stilly night’ which they play at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday in London.

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