California soul

16 03 2008

Written and produced by legendary Motown duo Ashford & Simpson, California soul is the kind of song that can end wars. Originally recorded by Fifth Dimension in 1968, the song has been covered and sampled endlessly. The version by Marvin and Tammi is heartwarming and dramatic (it was recorded when Tammi was suffering from a brain tumor), but no match for the infusion of drums, strings and vocals that makes the Marlena Shaw version such a timeless classic.

Gilles Peterson played this song during his set at Minus One on Friday, much to my delight. Dig deeper on Funky16Corners (check the Latin version, too) and BreathofLife. And read the KickSnare interview with GP (in Dutch) while you’re at it.

Marlena Shaw – California soul (Cadet, 1969) Cop it!

Sunset at Sutro Baths, Sausolito, CA
And that’s how the surf gave birth I’m told to California soul…

Picture taken at the magical Sutro Baths ruins in Sausolito, California (Nov. 2006).



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