Collection

10 Best Soul Albums Featured on Funk My Soul

1. Marvin Gaye – 1971 – What’s Going On

Marvin Gaye my fav black singer ever.

I won’t write any review of this album.

it is very simple.

This is the greatest soul record of all time.

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2. Stevie Wonder – 1976 – Songs In The Key Of Life

One of those rare double albums (double and a half, really, since it originally came out on 2LPs and an EP), Songs In the Key of Life might just be Stevie Wonder’s true masterpiece. Rarely have I found such an uplifting set of songs which manage to avoid schmaltz and address hard political issues whilst at the same time maintaining an upbeat attitude. It’s almost impossible not to have your spirits lifted when it comes on, and musically speaking it’s also incredibly adventurous, with Stevie not only knocking out some all-time soul classics but also dabbling in funk, jazz fusion, a little prog on the side, and drawing a little on classical music too. Simply put, Stevie draws more or less everything which interests him musically into one massive package here and gets the absolute best out of everything he dabbles in. The end result is magnificent

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3. Aretha Franklin – 1967 – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

So much has been written about this album that it’s really tough to add anything new. And the term “classic” is thrown around so much these days that it’s hard to put it into any useful perspective. But the bottom line is this: any serious fan of music should have a copy of this; it trascends all labels, all boundaries. It is a must have. And there is a reason Rolling Stone Magazine gives this 5 stars and calls this “the Best Soul Album Ever Recorded”. From the instantly recognizable sass and strut of “Respect“, to the blues belter “Dr Feelgood“, through the Bossa Nova-flavoured “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream“, every song is a winner.

Miss Franklin even had a hand in writing several of the tracks on this album, showing she is much more than just “the world’s greatest soul singer.” There are more classic songs on this album than you can shake a stick at. Just read the tracklisting and see for yourself. Franklin is backed by the Muscle Shoals house band on this album, although only one song ( the incredible title track ) was recorded entirely in the famous Alabama studio, and they really deliver the goods. As good as some of her mostly overlooked Columbia Records material was ( and a lot of it was very good, although it was more “adult” in that it was more jazz oriented ) her Atlantic debut has a passion – grit and soul- that had never before been captured on tape.

And Franklin has a gift of interpretation ( only hinted at during her 5 years with Columbia Records, where she mostly sang big band, jazz, blues, soul and pop covers, as well as a small handfull of self-penned originals ) that is unequaled in the world of popular music. Her covers of Otis Redding’s “Respect, of “Drown In My Own Tears” ( previously recorded by both Dinah Washington and by Ray Charles ) and of Sam Cooke’s beautiful ballad “A Change Is Gonna Come” make you forget the orginals. The Reign Begins Here.

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4. Al Green – 1972 – I’m Still In Love With You

Al Green was the first great soul singer in the 70’s.

This album definitely sets the standard of what we call today Smooth Soul. Al Green is a timeless testamony of love and happiness. Yes Al we’re still in love with your music.

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5. Otis Redding – 1965 – Otis Blue

Outside of an anthology or greatest hits package, this is the Otis Redding disc to own. Eight of the eleven selections are cover tunes, but Otis and crew attack the material with such passion and precision that it escapes the usual haphazard feel of a full length record slapped together around a few strong singles. There’s three Sam Cooke numbers, (“Wonderful World“, “Shake” and the incredible “A Change Is Gonna Come“), a fabulous rendition of Solomon Burke’s “Down in the Valley“, B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby“, William Bell’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water” and the Motown hit, “My Girl” done Stax-Volt style. When Otis released his blistering take on “Satisfaction” in early 1966, many thought that the Rolling Stones had gotten the song from him instead of the other way around. The three originals show Otis in top songwriting form with “Respect” (later turned out by Aretha Franklin), “Ole Man Trouble” and the exceptional ballad “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long“. The Big O is of course backed up by the always impressive Stax house band Booker T. & The MG’s, augmented by horn players from the Mar-Keys and Isaac Hayes on keyboards (who often played with the group whenever Booker T. was away at school).

Without question, this is an essential Otis Redding album, a classic Stax release, and a milestone of the soul genre in the 60’s.

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6. The Temptations – 1969 – Cloude Nine

A masterpiece in psychedelic soul from The Temptations — perhaps the most perfectly realized album from their years working with Norman Whitfield! The set’s awash in that bottom-heavy, rumbling funk mode that Whitfield brought to the group at the end of the 60s — served up in bold tracks that push the group’s vocals to a whole new level, and which bring in a more righteous sound than anyone might have expected previously from Motown! The centerpiece here is the amazing “Runaway Child” — a really extended number that has all the political soul of a Curtis Mayfield tune — and other titles include “Cloud Nine”, “Don’t Let Him Take Your Love From Me”, “Love Is A Hurtin Thing”, “I Gotta Find A Way”, “I Need Your Lovin”, and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”.

An all time classic from the best black group ever!

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7. Etta James – 1968 – Tell Mama

A must have for every soul brother and sister! Everything is perfect here, the chemistry is right, Etta swindles from the sheer contempt of “Tell Mama”, to the poignancy of “The Love of my man”, to the exuberant “Security” and the moving “I’d rather go blind”….Five stars are not enough!!

A classic album from Etta recorded at Muscle Shoals, with deep soul backing that’s different than that used on many of her Chicago-recorded albums of the 60s! Etta’s back in hard-belting R&B-tinged territory here a bit more sophisticated than the 50s, with a good mix of hard soul numbers and ballads, opening up in some southern territory that really suits her well.

This is one of the greatest soul albums ever recorded, and is certainly among Etta James’ best work.

This is a @320 vinyl rip of my original Cadet record with covers.

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8. Sly & The Family Stone – 1971 – There’s A Riot Goin’ On

One of the best albums ever recorded in any kind of music.

Ranked #99 in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”

Great dark soul album with layered drums, electric piano and forbodding bass sounds. The vocals, mostly by Sly, are full of despair and emotion, as are much of the lyrics. “Family Affair” is a major classic with some really druggy vocals from Sly. “Africa Talks to You” is a bit lengthy, but has some good guitar in addition to the driving bass and funky piano. “You Caught Me Smilin” is a really great, more mellow song while “Spaced Cowboy” has a bit of a country vibe with some good harmonica work. “Runnin’ Away” is a much lighter and poppier than anything else on the album, and it even has some good horns also.

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9. Isaac Hayes – 1969 – Hot Buttered Soul

This is the one that made Isaac a name in the history of soul music. “The Black Moses of Soul” ‘cuz he changed and invented soul (R&B) the way it will be in the future. Then Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder followed with their masterpieces in the early 70’s.

A true masterclass in musicianship, innovation, and slow burners. This will always be a great time capsule of true soul.

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10. Gil Scott-Heron – 1971 – Pieces Of A Man

Our favorite ever album from Gil Scott-Heron, a set that we’d easily rank as one of our favorite soul records of the 70s!

The mix of modes is mind blowing right from the start – as Gil’s poetry comes into play with his growing talents as a singer, and his warm sensibility for jazz – all at a level that’s light years ahead of anything any singer would have attempted a few years before – and which went onto have a huge influence for years to come. If you only know Gil from his protest work, there’s a lot more here to discover – the bittersweet blend of pain and power that’s always made him so fantastic. And yes, the record does include the groundbreaking “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” but what we treasure even more is all the more personal numbers.

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