I don't care what kind of music it is - classical, rock, bluegrass, rhythm & blues - it's got to have soul. A tune may be melodic and mellifluous but without real emotion, it's just aural wallpaper.
I love Motown, one of Detroit's many musical gifts of the 60s and early 70s. The mix of pop, rock, gospel and r & b was irresistible. The singers were passionate and the beat contagious. My favourite practitioners of the Motown sound were the Four Tops, led by the room-filling, soulful pipes of Levi Stubbs.
The word "unique" may be the most abused in the English language. It can't be modified, yet on nearly a daily basis in newspapers, magazines or online, I see "really unique" or "most unique" or some other disturbing variant.
Few voices can be described as unique -- as sounding unlike any other. I can suggest Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Roy Orbison and Van Morrison. No doubt there are a handful of others.
And Levi Stubbs.
Mr. Stubbs had a particular resonant timbre that set his pipes apart. If you're over 40 years old, you're probably nodding right now. If you're younger, you won't have to take my word for it for long. A couple of examples are coming up.
Sadly, Mr. Stubbs passed away in 2008.
Happily, his voice will never be stilled.
Here's the group early in their career. (Thanks to Mkheire75 for the video.)
Yeah, but did they still have it some 35 years later?
Uh-huh. And the moves. (Thanks to adamweishaupt81 for the video.)
I'm going to wrap this one up with a wonderful ballad that was new to me. There are only a few still pictures in the video making it, at least for these ears, easier to focus on the soulful, unique voice of Levi Stubbs. Unfortunately, I can't embed the video here but I can link to it. I hope you'll click here and listen.