Retro Music 49

One of the early examples of what would later become known as ‘Funky Music’, this song had my feet tapping in 1966. Although covered since, this original by The Capitols is the one I bought, and it had the bonus of the Motown House Band playing the backing instruments. I think it still sounds great today!

Cool Jerk!
Cool Jerk!
Cool Jerk!
Cool Jerk!
We know a cat who can really do the Cool Jerk!
We know a cat who can really do the Cool Jerk!
Well, this cat they talkin’ about, I wonder who could it be?
‘Cause I know I’m the happiest cat
The happiest cat you ever did see!
When they see me walking down the street, (hey, hey, hey)
When the fellas want to speak, (hey, hey, hey)
On their faces they wear a silly smirk
‘Cause they know I’m the king of a Cool Jerk! (Woah)
Ha! Ha! Ha!
Look at them guys lookin’ at me like I’m a fool (Cool Jerk)
But, aww, deep down inside they know I’m cool (Cool Jerk)
I said, now, I said now, the moment of truth has finally come (uh-huh)
When I have to show you some, some of that Cool Jerk! (uh-huh)
Now, give me a little bit of drums, by himself, there!
Now, give me a little bit of bass, with those 88
Aw, You’re cooking baby!
Um, You’re Smoking!
Um, Um, Um!
Now everybody, I wanna hear you all
Aww, can you do it?
Can you do it? Can you do it? Can you do it?
Can you do it? Can you do it? Can you do it?
Can you do it?
(Cool Jerk!) Come on people! (Cool Jerk)
Hey! Hey!
When they see me walking down the street, (hey, hey, hey)
They think twice, and then they speak, (hey, hey, hey)
On their faces, they know why to smirk
‘Cause they know I’m a King of a Cool Jerk! (woah)
(Cool Jerk! Cool Jerk!) Come on people! (Cool Jerk!)
Can you do it now? (Cool Jerk!)
Come on people!
Can you do it? Can you do it? Can you do it?
Can you do it? Can you do it? Can you do it?
Can you do it? Can you do it?
(Cool Jerk!) Come on people
(Cool Jerk!) Can you do it now
(Cool Jerk!) Come on people
(Cool Jerk!) Now you’re doing it
(Cool Jerk!)
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Donald Storball
Cool Jerk lyrics © Trio Music Company, Alley Music Corp.

Soulful sounds of my youth

Continuing what seems to be a musical theme this week, I am recalling some of the soul songs, and dance classics, of my teenage years. They are all from America on this occasion, as the main alternatives here at the time were the Mersey Sound, or belated Rock and Roll. I doubt that this selection will attract that wide an audience, or receive a great deal of appreciation, as it is all in something of a niche market. However, as a memento of the parties and clubs of my youth, it is a priceless personal souvenir.

Tell it like it is. ( 1967) The ultimate slow dance track, from the smooth voice of Mr Aaron Neville. I was not much past fifteen when this was released, and I have played it regularly ever since, for over forty-six years.

Louie Louie. Not the original 1957 version, but the 1963 release by The Kingsmen. This became a Mod classic in the UK during the early 1960’s. Covered many times since, nobody beats the early funky feel of this dance-floor essential. Despite sounding like a group of black singers, with very soulful lead vocals, they were actually all white, and appeared strangely camp, clad in cardigans, and wearing caps. Can’t beat the 60’s!

Seven Days Is Too Long. (1967) This simple soul dance hit from Chuck Wood became a big hit in the UK, on more than one occasion. It has become one of the hall of fame records for fans of so-called ‘Northern Soul’, the American records played almost exclusively in clubs in the North of England. Even at 61, I cannot keep my feet still!

Nothing Can Stop Me. (1965) Snappy suited, with a Motown look and feel, Gene Chandler got feet tapping with this one. Better known for the huge hit ‘Duke of Earl’, Chandler moved on to greater things with this track, another adopted by those Northern Soul aficionados.

Barefootin’. Again in 1965, Robert Parker ensured that dance floors were filled with this upbeat recording. The subject of a few covers over the years, this is the original, and best, from the man himself.

Cool Jerk. A year later, in 1966, The Capitols released this one-off. Almost in its own genre, it is still undoubtedly a classic; as the numerous cover versions, and inclusion in film soundtracks, can testify.

Comin’ Home Baby. This 1962 song, by Mel Torme, is not a soul song at all. It could be called Jazz, possibly even Swing. Looking back at Mel through modern eyes, he seems somewhat ridiculous. Sharp suit, bulging eyes, college-boy haircut, and snapping fingers clutching a cigarette. But he was the epitome of cool in 1962, and to my mind, this is still one of the coolest records ever made. This video is like watching a history documentary, but they are still doing this sort of crap on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Perhaps better to not watch him though. Close your eyes and listen.

I Get The Sweetest Feeling.  Already well known for ‘Reet Petite’, and ‘Higher and Higher’, Jackie Wilson made the journey from Doo-wop, to modern soul, throughout the 50’s and 60’s. This track is on my list for the memories it brings back to me, from 1968. His influence is self explanatory, when you recall the Van Morrison song ‘Jackie Wilson Said’, recorded in 1972.

When I’m Gone. Saving the best until last perhaps, this short love song from the wonderful Brenda Holloway sums up the early years of Tamla Motown, from 1965, and I simply love it.

There are many, many more, but this is just a snapshot of the party tunes of my youth. I enjoyed them, then and now, and I hope that you do too.