Friday, January 28, 2011

Heavy Rotation on my iPod: Gangster Soul: Girlz Harmony Vol.1 & Vol. 2

Thursday, January 27, 2011 10:42:34 PM

Sometimes I like to listen to sad songs; my first choice is usually Gangster Soul: Girlz Harmony, Vol. 1,  a collection of soul recordings featuring female vocals, probably from the early 1970's. Last night I received volume two of the series and I am enjoying it as much as the first.
I may be wrong, but it seems that every region of the country had its own thriving soul and rhythm and blues recording label at one time.  These countless soul singles, from artists almost completely forgotten, turn up in these anthologies to remind us of what glory there is in the human voice.

The source for  these anthologies comes old analog tapes or actual vinyl 45s, bought in used record stores and rescued from garage sales.  The quality is not the greatest, but the beauty still shines through like gems in a necklace of tarnished silver. These unknown songs, by forgotten artists from labels that have long since disappeared, showcase the strength of the human heart. 
How better to celebrate the highs and lows of love in its many forms than by using the actual highs and lows of the human voice to sing these hymns to love? The songs betray an unjaundiced, realistic eye; there is unrequited love, unfaithful love, tragic love, and heart break in many forms. The singers' voices combine together in soaring harmonies, lifting the burdens of heartbreak high into the air over the listener's head.
Volume One opens with the Black Velvet's “Is it me you really love?” and it pulls no punches, “Is it me you really love or is it my body you need?”   That honest feeling as she cries in the chorus "I'll be whatever you want me to be" is disturbing, but the back up singers hold her and support her in the hard choice she is making.  
Once we are touched by true love we become changed. Most of the time, that touch is painful, and hearing the forty nine songs on these two volumes makes that pain so much better as the nameless, practically forgotten singers help us carry that pain away.

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Friday, January 28, 2011 09:56:45 AM

No comments: