Contributing Music Maven Editor, Colette, provides some good stuff on Duets (and a couple of trios) of the “soulful” kind. There are some FABULOUS videos here, with the Etta James performance likely being the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. And Shrew….no panty throwing when viewing the Tom Jones piece.
I would be remiss if I didn’t throw in a couple of recent favorite duets….
Marc Broussard & Toby Lightman – If I Could Build My World Around You
and this absolutely wonderful piece of “soulful” music:
Ray LaMontagne & Damien Rice – To Love Somebody
Here is Colette’s wonderful contribution. As always, thanks.
Soulful Duets Extraordinaire
The vogue for “duets” albums, withand others teaming up with lots of singers you can’t imagine them being in the same universe with, was really started in a big way by (then came Ray, Etc.) Tony, impeccable musician that he is, was at least in the same studio when he recorded his duets. But such exercises got me thinking about unexpected duets/trios captured on video, that were a really fine fit. Since this is a HUGE topic, I’m boiling my first session down to classical soul, mostly Motown. I didn’t intend it this way, but my man is all over this set — as well he should be.
Chuck & Etta
Two tough customers, and look out! Firestorm! Etta belts it out. Chuck duck-walks and eggs her on.beams, ear-to-ear. Rock n’ Roll music, any old way you choose it….
—& , with Keith Richards – Rock n’ Roll Music
Dusty & Martha
What was it about ? Beyond the impeccable pitch, the sultry voice, the swingin’ phrasing? Maybe that she was sort of the of British blue-eyed soulsters — she felt entirely comfortable with African American musicians even before the big Civil Rights push, and they dug her like crazy too. This is from a great English TV special of the ’60s she hosted, about Motown — it’s all up on YouTube now. This is one of my favorite of her many team-ups: two soul sisters, with acrylic bouffant hairdos, sounding fab together — Martha Reeves (and, at the end, her Vandellas) and Dusty:
Martha Reeves & Dusty Springfield – Wishin’ & Hopin’
Stevie & Ray
A lot of people loved Taylor’s version on, and it’s one of Stevie Wonderful’s finest. What a treat, though, to hear sing “Livin for the City” with the composer over dueling keyboards! I love how Ray gives the lyrics an extra layer of grittiness. They both knew well the world they were singing about:
— Ray & Stevie — Livin’ for the City
Marvin & Tina
Speaking of Marvin, again, I have to share another gem from “Shindig!,” which Gray also posted for about a day. (I want Shin Dig’s entire archive, people!) Tina was a lot more country and funky sass than Marvin’s usual glamorous singing partners (, Tami Terrell, ). But she and Marvin are marvelous together, in a cool-meets-hot, grits-with-caviar kinda way, on this terrific medley of Barrett Strong’s “Money” and Marvin’s “I’ll Be Doggone”:
Tom & Dionne
OK, this is a song I used to run screaming from, but when these two singers team up on it, in peak voice, I can even handle “Endless Love.” Who knew how good a vocal fit they’d be…….Dionne is in exceptional voice here.
—& , Endless Love
Michael, Valerie & Nick
does not to me sound much like , who is always compared to him — but they both possess low, grainy, bluesy voices I enjoy. McDonald had a musical resurgence a few years ago after making a couple of Motown cover albums, a natural for him. This is from a PBS special he did, and here he hunkers down on a great oldie (yes, again Marvin), with its authors, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson chiming in. (So why do Michael and me age, but Nick and Valerie don’t?)
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough <—–click here& Ashford and Simpson —
Diana & Natalie
Ooh, so cool, smooth & swinging. Not “soul” in the usual sense, but who’s counting? On a song that Natalie’s pop Nat made famous, and the girls groove so nicely together. Taped in.
–and , Route 66
Corrine & John
They’re not Robert Flack & and Danny Hathaway, but I appreciate that Corrine Bailey Rae andwent to Soul Duet Old School on their recent tour. They sing this hit of Flack & Hathaway often in concert together, but all video of it so far is pretty rugged. Here’s the best of what I’ve found, and here’s a plea: Hey you talented kids! We know duet albums with only two artists are considered passe or something, but give it a go please!!
— Corine Bailey Rae &, Where is the Love?
Ruben & Jordin
This isn’t rare, for sure. But for me (apart from a few numbers by girls Melinda and LaKisha) this duet was a rare highlight of the last under-inspiredSeason. Pairing on an old Marvin-Tami duet, Idol champs Ruben Stoddard and spurred each other on to show what a good song, a great arrangement, and a pair of sympatico voices can do in an R & B two-fer. It also accentuates the ridiculousness of many of the multi-star, many-mismatches duet albums recently. Why not just get two people who really click, and do a whole one a la Otis & Carla, Marvin & the girls, and (most recently) and KD Lang? You tell me…..
– You’re All I need — Ruben & Jordin