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As the weekend and winter approaches my mind turns to Christmas. A time when you hole-up indoors with projects and interests that only summer could successfully compete with. 

I love and collect soul music. Not just what the industry calls R&B today. I’m referring to that era of the art where stirring vocals, horns, strings, and rhythms bended and blended the raw with the real. Effortlessly your hand rises and waves in the air as if you are about to touch the face of a God who absolutely and completely understands. In a word, Church!  

Now I’m not going to start naming names here. Not only would that would be cheating but there would be too many artists left out. Some who didn’t enjoy lengthy music careers. But for purposes of clarity and stimulating conversation I’ll identify a time period, say 1960 through 1975. Those classic soul 45 rpm recordings which are hard to find today – even on the web.

And should you know where I can find them by the hundreds please let me know.

Some folk are jazz junkies, some are lovers of classical (anglo-philes?), some addicted to the blues. My soul hungers for… what else? So I am on an eternal quest to get my mitts on all the good old soul music I can. I have a lot already. And yet I want more. Clearly an obsession. 

Yes I will purchase a usb turntable to transfer any vinyl I find.  

If you’ve ever looked on the web for CD reviews on soul music (even R&B or jazz music) you know the results are very limited, comical and amateur at best.  

So here is a list of books that should improve my searches a little: 

Guinness Who’s Who of Soul Music by Colin Larkin 

Virgin Encyclopaedia of R&B and Soul by Colin Larkin 

Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guralnick 

Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music by Gerri Hershi 

It’s my understanding you’ll find within these encyclopedias of soul Ahmet Ertegün [photo, far left] and Atlantic Records, Chess Records, Stax Records, Motown Records along with labels and artists as obscure as they are divine. 

So you might be thinking Christmas is not so far away. I’m thinking “massive vinyl find”, new turntable and software to learn, new iPod (for creating the perfect playlists), as well as a serious inducement for Old Saint Nicholas. 

Enjoy the weekend. 

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