Thursday, December 15, 2005

Blue-eyed Soul

I always thought that the best way for me as a single individual to dispel racial stereotypes was to simply drop my trousers, nothing shatters myths faster than a chubby black blogger that's hung like a toddler. I guess there are some ounces of truth in many stereotypes, I acknowledge that, but whenever a stereotype can be thrown back in someone's face to the point that they rethink their whole ideology, it can be rather entertaining. For example, there was a guy on my High School Track team named David France, our resident pole vaulter and token white guy on our field events team. No one knew how fast he was, until I challenged him to a race one day in practice and he absolutely blew my motherfucking doors off, smirking as he passed, embarrassing the piss out of me in front of some female admirers who were there to watch me practice. The other black athletes gave me grief because I got beat by a "white boy", but they quickly turned their "disbelief" of David's speed into "acknowledgment", when he beat them even worse than he beat me.

So David not only turned into our top sprinter, but also our anchor leg on our 400 meter relay team. When we would go to predominately black schools I used to make bets with people there, betting 20 bucks a pop that Dave would come in first.(The motherfucker ran like a 10.3 100 meter time, trust me that's good.) They acted like they were making easy money, thinking that there was no way in hell a white guy could beat their top black sprinters, only to give up the loot later and exhaustively say, "That's one fast white boy!" For anyone who knows anything about a 400 meter relay race, your second fastest runner(me) would go first, third fastest runner would go second, your slowest sprinter would go third, and your fastest runner would go last(Dave). But because I wanted to see first hand the proverbial air go out of the home crowd who doubted our Caucasian brethren's speed, I wanted to go third to hand off to Dave as I taunted the crowd and cheered Dave on as he finished first place, to the point that people would ask me later if Dave was "half black".

I thought about Dave the other day as I was using my Ipod to play songs at a get together a friend of mine was having. You guys know that my musical interests span genre's like a motherfucker, so when an artist's like Teena Marie or Michael McDonald came on they were shocked that they were indeed white musicians. Before I knew it I felt like I'm stuck in a bad sitcom, scrolling my Ipod and playing them soulful white singers that crush racial stereotypes. Since I am the king of lists, so I've been told, here are a few examples of said artists.

Michael McDonald: This gentleman was part of a group called "The Doobie Brothers", a group that my brother was fond of when I was a kid, so I was exposed to their musical stylings early on. "What a Fool Believes", "Taking It to the Streets.", and "Minute by Minute" are probably what this gentleman is best known for, but these particular songs just shows that he can sing with the best of them. After leaving "The Doobie Brothers" he reached solo success with songs like "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)", his duet with James Ingram, "Yah Mo B There."(If you watch the "40 year old virgin", that particular song plays a part on said movie.), and also his duet with Patti LaBelle, "On My Own,". The funniest recollection I have of this particular artist was an experience I had with an uncle who loved "The Doobie Brothers" intensely. The problem was that this particular uncle was racist as shit and didn't want to accept the fact that Michael McDonald was a white guy. I remember showing him pictures, album covers, magazine articles, but he didn't want to believe it, the same way people question the moon landing or the Holocaust. But I must say, as a dude who has been with someone that wasn't exactly right for me but for some reason I kept holding on, the song "Minute by Minute" is simply poetic in my opinion. When he says, "I take it all for granted like you're the only one/Living on my own, Somehow that sounds nice/You think I'm your fool-Well, you may just be right", that pretty much sums it up.

Teena Marie: Full disclosure, there are a handful of women that I will always have a crush on and those ladies include Lisa Lisa, Sheila E, Vanity, and Teena Marie.(Not in that particular order) This sultry songstress was so damn soulful that I really didn't fully realize that she was white until my teenage years. I know I have criticized this before ad naseum, but if there was indeed something entitled a "Ghetto Pass", this Los Angeles native would be the first to obtain one. Besides her duet with Rick James called "I'm Just a Sucker for Your Love", she had hits like "I Need Your Lovin',", "Square Biz", "Fix It.", "Lovegirl.", and "Ooh La La La". I had a chance to meet Ms. Marie at a music festival a year back and express my undying love for her, which flattered her probably, but also possibly freaked her out when I mentioned something about "drinking her bathwater" and doing her dishes and cutting her grass, offering myself up as a "personal bitch" for her leisure. I guess I should have stopped at me getting her autograph, huh?

Darryl Hall: A few months ago I said that me liking "Hall and Oates" was a guilty pleasure of mine, but fuck that, I say it loud and proud that I am a fan of said group and anyone who doesn't like it can kiss my natural black ass.(Sorry for my new found aggression when sticking up for this Philadelphia duo, but they were nice when I met them a while back. Don't worry, I will probably go back to hesitantly acknowledging my admiration for them next week.) My mother particularly hates this group, not because they didn't have catchy hooks, or that Darryl Hall's voice wasn't melodious magic, but because I would play one of their tapes everyday before the bus got me for school which drove my mother absolutely batshit. She recognizes that Darryl Hall is as talented as they come, but like a Vietnam vet who wakes up in the middle of the night from having flashbacks of being in a rice field fending off Vietcong, my mother defiantly says "Fuck Them!" as she flashes back on how I played that tape continuously. But with songs like "Sara Smile.", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes" , "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do),", and "Did It in a Minute", you too would drive a loved one to hysteria from playing these tunes to death.

Robin Thicke: You would never think that any offspring from the guy who played the dad on "Growing Pains", or someone who once wrote songs for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Brandy, Marc Anthony, Mya and Jordan Knight would have such a soulful voice, but he does. Even though some readers of this blog promptly proved me wrong, but at the time I thought I was the only person that had his first album "A Beautiful World" in my possession. He showed a soulful melodic voice, not a voice that is constantly searching for an identity like Justin Timberlake's, but he came across as a soulful white guy that is comfortable in his own skin. It was hard to see how horribly he was being marketed at the time, watching Andre Harrell "Forrest Gump" his way into NOT making Thicke a household name, noticing how they kept changing his image as if they were a bunch of indecisive schizophrenics. With songs like "Oh Shooter", "The Stupid Things", and "A Beautiful World" off of his first album, that should be enough to recognize his undeniable skill and force you to pick up his new album when it comes out. I know earlier in this paragraph I took a subtle shot at his pops, Alan Thicke, but I just noticed that he is credited for writing the theme songs for "The Facts of Life" and "Diff'rent Strokes", Ok, his pops is alright.(*walking off singing* "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both..)

Who would you add to this list??

57 comments:

Reese The Law Girl said...

I love, love, love Teena Marie. I've seen her perform twice now (once with Rick James in one of his last performances before he passed away) and again this year. She is truly awesome and, in my opinion, the greatest R&B singer of the last 20 years (yea, that's right, better than Whitney).

Thicke is also awesome. I loved his first CD so much! But, alas, my sister stole it from me and I haven't seen it since.

In any case, good list. I guess some people would add Josh Stone, but I'm not all that familiar with her work. She's quite a singer, though.

Anonymous said...

I know that this isn't on the topic of blue-eyed soul, but have you heard Lina's album the Inner Beauty Movement?

Oliviasmommi said...

My personal additions would be, but are not limited to:

Remy Shand
Steve Winwood/Spencer Davis Group
Johnny Lang
Joss Stone
George Michael
Bonnie Raitt

VAN007 said...

I see we have the same taste in music. I love all of them. Unfortunately I haven't had the pleasure of seeing any of them in person, but the way I act when I hear songs on the radio you'd think I was at a concert. Don't worry I don't do this while I am supposed to be driving or at a stop light, so you can stop yelling at me. LOL. I agree with Oliviasmommi I'd add Remy Shand I can hear "Burning Bridges" playing in my head now.

chele said...

Loved the Doobies, loved Hall & Oates and still love Teena Marie. Not familiar with Thicke. I'd probably add Phil Collins, Steve Winwood and Robert Palmer -- might as well face it your addicted to love! (corny, I know)

Oliviasmommi said...

oooooh Chele...I love me some Phil Collins...he is my guilty pleasure. I saw him in concert a few years back and he was amazing. I would have added him, but I was not sure if he was a good overall fit for the genre. Rick Astley was another Brit that sang with a lot of soul, but then, when seeing him on MTV, he was just too cheesy!

blackcaesar said...

i like joss stone. i'd do her too. yeah.
i like snow too. i was amazed at his soul to whiteness ratio. it was high. yeah.
i also like them white boyz from tears for fears. i know it was pop, but was it soulful?
yeah.
that's what im is talkin about!
yeah.

KHALLI 88 said...

Teena Marie is classic no doubt

Would include UK artist Lisa Shaw (honey rips it)

Not a crooner but blue eyed soul to the bone would be my man MC Serch 3rd Bass fame didn't even realize the cat was white or Jewish for the first 2 years of meeting him :)

Breez said...

Does the singer have to be alive? If not, I'd say Janis Joplin. Her voice gives me chills. I also really like Lisa Stansfield. She was hot for a minute and then just disappeared.

Lene said...

I would have to put Esthero and Remy Shand.

I would like to put Snow, but he tried that weak Jamaican accent at SunSplash, and almost went back to Toronto in a bodybag. People were cheesed!

I think Thicke is coming out with a new album, and his song with Pharell is pretty nice too.

hysterical blackness said...

I couldn;t get past the firts sentence I laughed a full belly laugh.

hysterical blackness said...

Let's try again.

I couldn't get past the first sentence. I laughed a belly full full belly laugh.

Maverick said...

I would say that as for "blue-eyed soul", you would have to add Sting, Phil Collins, and JK from Jamiroquai...I think all of them have some serious R&B influences as well as their rock and funk leanings...

indigo said...

i love hall and oates
i love thicke

i would add...
george michael
the bee gees (are they soulful enough...?)

Danny said...

Yeah, I like me some Hall and Oates too. Haha, I could see you pouring a nice big beverage on some disrespectful female and sing "You're a bitch girl, and you're going too far, cause y'know it won't matter anyway" And walk out.

justacoolcat said...

I'd say,Tom Waites, but not the early years. I can almost hear Louis Armstrong covering some of his tunes, were he still alive.

How about Elvis's gospel years?

I think there are a lot of borderline, blues singers, but I wouldn't really qualify it as "soul".

Sankofa said...

Critic...I am frigging posting from work! Can you believe it! I'll explain later...
Anyway...I am going to have to say Lisa Stansfield...remember her...going around the world and still can't find her baby. I was surprised to see a white girl singing on the video...but I still liked her.

Dawud said...

Another credit Alan Thicke has to his resume he was a co-writer with Paul Mooney on the Richard Pryor Show...He seems corney but has been involved in some dope shit,,

CaffeineDiva said...

I Love Thick! But you knew that already right? Joss Stone has an unbelievable voice, she is pure talent.
Bonnie Raitt also.
And whatever happened to Lisa Stansfield? I used to really dig her too.
Great post babe.

Amadeo said...

I'd go with Maverick on the Sting (especially when he gets that reggae feel) and Jamiroquai, but I'd have to add the group Foreigner. I Wanna Know What Love Is and Cold as Ice.

TheIdleReceptionist said...

Michael McDonald rules.

Georgiapeach said...

"nothing shatters myths faster than a chubby black blogger that's hung like a toddler"

Dude, this is awful...lol.

Teena Marie is my mother. For real..lol.

Ms. Phoenix Diva said...

The Backstreet Boys did a song on the "Booty Call" soundtrack that bleeeewwww my mind (called..Stay). I had to keep re-readin the credits to be sure that my eyes were not playin tricks on me and lo and behold, it was for real the Backstreet Boys. I know that boy bands and their members are sometimes overlooked but Justin Timberlake also surprised the snot out of me. True dat, he's suburban than a mutha but in the end, DUDE CAN SANG!!

Shelley Halima said...

That chubby black blogger comment had me laughing too. Okayyy.

I see we very similar tastes. The only one I'm not too familiar with is Thicke and I'm going to have to check him out.

Remy Shand and Lisa Stansfield are good choices too. Don't kick me off the blog but what about Rick Astley. I know he only had that one hit that I can remember but he sounded pretty soulful.

Another artist I recently discovered is Pete Belasco. I guess he's been around a few years but I only recently heard some of his songs. I swear his singing is reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield.

Maverick said...

Good looking for agreeing with my choices, Amadeo. Also, somebody said it but I would also have to throw George Michael in there...these are not really "soul" singers in the traditional meaning of blue-eyed soul, but they have some serious R&B leanings...

Also, we could add alot of British blues bands from the 60's and 70's to this list, especially since they openly bit alot of the blues stuff that artists over here were doing but doing under the radar. Otis Redding could cover a Rolling Stones song and not many know about it, but the Stones could cover Otis Redding and it would be an international hit...

Sterfish said...

There are some great picks in the post and in the comments. I find it funny that both Michael McDonald and Hall & Oates are mentioned and both of them have recently released albums where they cover classic soul songs (Michael McDonald with the Motown albums and Hall & Oates with Our Kind Of Soul).

I like Robin Thicke, but I'm hoping that The Neptunes don't try to turn him into "Justin Timberlake 2" on his upcoming album The Evolution Of Robin Thicke.

I think a lot of white artists have at least one "blue-eyed soul" song in them. I've heard quite a few old-school mixes that will include "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones or "Fame" by David Bowie. If Adam Levine and Maroon 5 continue on their current trend, they could end up on this list soon too.

EJ Flavors said...

i think you just gave me inspiration for a future osw.

Inside Man said...

I'm in to Fleetwood Mac real heavy, thier music is timeless. Thier's a litany of great bands/artist who have soul that aren't black.

If you take a look at hip hop, heads like El-P (from Company Flow fame), Alchemist, DJ Muggs, DJ Shadow, Necro, and RJD2 have mad soul and push out great hip hop (all of whom are white).

Point blank, good music has no color.

Rose said...

Teena can sang...I also loved the Doobie Brothers and Phil Collins too. Back in the day...

notyouraverage.... said...

wow - i didn't know anbody new about Remy Shand, outside of canada.

i also love Lisa Stanfield and most people mentioned. Josh has a great voice - but she still a little young yet. Saw her in concert and she was 'aight. I have to say, Christina Aguilera. I know she gets a lot of flack - but the girl can sing.

Brains Nbooty said...

yeah, joss stone is the shit. i love that girl. if you haven't had the pleasure of listening to her sing, please pick up her latest cd "mind, body and soul." her song "spoiled" will truly blow you away. sometimes i have to wonder how can a 17-year-old blonde english girl can sound like a 40-year-old juke joint singer.

i also love christina aguilera. she's a white girl with a knockout voice.

E said...

Teena Marie arguably is the greatest R&B singer out there.

Wow...I'd be curious to see what David is up to now myself. It would've been cool if he parlayed his athletic abilities into a college scholarship or something like that.

lady in satin said...

Oh gosh....I absolutely ADORE Teena Marie!!!!! "Portuguese Love" is my favorite song by her. I also love her duet with Rick James, "Fire and Desire." Damn....that song is HOT!!! Good choice. I probably wouldn't drink her bathwater but I'd do her dishes!! lol

Say Yeah said...

I'd add Burt Bacharach on the song writing tip.

http://nopsychologicalromance.blogspot.com/
2005/10/lyric-of-week-week-7.html

Three-Amigos from Pittsburgh said...

Bring back The Tom Green Show Petition @ www.tomgreenshow2009.bravehost.com

Stone said...

I love with people take me back to a chapter of thier lives and shows me it. I was with you on the tracks. I have a big imagination. I love Teena Marie also. I was shocked when I found out she was white.

Texas Tiger in NYC said...

I felt so compelled to respond to your post because I am officially (in my mind and existence) Teena Marie's number one fan. We had elections last year in case you missed them.

I have been in awe and amazement for nearly a decade now and I see her every year no matter where I am living at that time. I was also blessed to see her perform with Rick James before he died.

I could go on and on about my favorite songs but I have to go back to Cassanova Brown, Young Love, Shadowboxing and If I were a Bell if I were stranded on an island and could only bring a few numbers with me. WHat would you take?

kristen said...

i would have to go with Celine Dion early 90s work. I don't know what happened after 'My Heart Will Go On' but she had some good stuff (i'm thinking of Colour Of my Love)

also pre-'Fantasy' Mariah Carey. She fell off HARD but had classic r&b hits

Teena Marie all the way. I practically grew up listening to her and Sade

if Christina Aguilera can make the list then I'll have to add Melissa Etheridge as well. I remember when my mom would listen to 'The Only One' and how struck I was at how earnest and full of longing her voice was. one of my all time favourite songs.
k

Sex and the Sushi said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog and leaving a comment! How did you find us? I wrote an entry about blue-eyed soul a while back (http://sexandthesushi.blogspot.com/2005/10/in-praise-of-hollin-ass-white-men.html). I totally agree with you!

Smooches,
Glamour Diva

P.S. I don’t believe you’re hung like a toddler. Hung like and average man yes but so not like a toddler! LOL

Supa said...

Okay I'm reaching here, but..Boz Scaggs??

The other good ones have already been named!

Anonymous said...

All you Daryl Hall fans out there need to check out Todd Rundgren if you love the white-boy soul.

Anonymous said...

My comment is extremly late but....everyone seems to be mentioning Joss Stone she can sing but I can't really feel her when she sings. I have to feel a person when they sing. I guess you can say Jon B. Is another one he is okay also.

tif said...

First off I'd like to send a R.I.P. to the man that coined the phrase "Blue Eyed Soul"-- Georgie Woods "The Man With The Goods" WDAS Philly radio personality who just recently left our existance. I would add James Taylor, John Lennon, shit Paul and the rest of the Beatles, all the white dudes in Heatwave, Joss Stone, Eminem and Michael Jackson.

Brother OMi said...

Jamrockai, however you spell his name. Harry Connick Jr.
Hall and Oates was the ish (sampled alot in hip hop)

~b*b~ said...

teena is not so blue-eyed WASPY she's portugese... rick astley 'cause i was in the uk when i heard him and thought he was a black guy at first. but my ultimate blue-eyed fave is BOBBY CALDWELL who sings "open your eyes" sampled by common on "the light" and recently re-done by dwele! a big tune dat, my yout!

Beana said...

Annie Lenox, damnit!!!

mai said...

Teena Marie has a place in R&B History, at the number one spot. No one who has ever heard can forget her sound, her voice or her passion. (anon is right (even though it doesn't apply here), Lina is on point, too. Her song "Come to Mama" is nice.)

Michael McDonald gets on my last nerve, only because he doesn't open his mouth when he sings. But he's good. Real good.

Joss Stone deserves an honorable mention, definitely. JT, when he drops that whole tryna be down thing, can sing. He's got a really good voice. Check him out, if you can, on "Never Again". Xtina Aguilera for sure, has to be on the list. Has to. Jon B? Yeah, okay, him too.

Did someone say Elvis? Huh? *rolls eyes*

Miss Ahmad said...

I would throw in Amos Less, and Harry Connick Jr, although rumored to be part black himself, he's never fessed up to it!

and by the by, Hall and Oates is the most awesomely under rated band ever..

Now does Mick Jagger rock to hard to be considered soul? Because he's the shit for real!!

Mary said...

Love love love Michael McDonald. I bought the Ulimate Collection which is his best of and Doobie's best of a few weeks ago. One of the bouncers at the bar wanted it so bad I got him his own copy for Christmas. So Christmas Eve at 3am was spent drinking martinis after the bar closed with Mike on the sound system. Awesome. Great post, HC. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Dave France said...

Hosoi Boy, you're a trip. I want my percentage!

-Dave.

Anonymous said...

I have always enjoyed the music of Michael McDonald (the blue-eyed soul singer). There's another new up and coming artist that I would like to add to your list, his name is "Taylor Hicks". In fact, he sings one of Michael McDonald's (the Doobie Brothers) song "Takin' It To The Streets" found on Amazon, BarnesandNoble, etc.

He has a new album coming out, and it will drop(debut) December 5th, 2006.

Visit his website:
www.taylorhicks.com

Visit his official blog:
www.graycharles.com

Anonymous said...

Add another soul man to the list; his name is "Taylor Hicks". He also sings a cover of Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers) "Takin It To The Street" which can be found on Amazon, BarnesandNoble, etc.

He has a new album coming out that will drop on December 5th, 2006.

Visit his website:
www.taylorhicks.com

Visit his official blog:
www.graycharles.com

Filipeanie Sigel said...

Jeff Buckley, Eva Cassidy, and Lewis Taylor. Get your wikipedia on with these folks. Absolute treasures.

Anonymous said...

What about MC Serch?

Jennifer said...

Timi Yuro
Pete Belasco

Anonymous said...

Bobby Caldwell!

Anonymous said...

Lisa Stansfield with Barry White and on her own. Hall and Oates are unsurpassabable in my estimation. I'm from Philly and they don't get any better than H & O.