13
Nov 04

I once had a conversation with a rock fan

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I once had a conversation with a rock fan about favourite guitarists: I mentioned Steve Cropper, of Booker T & the MGs, who also produced and co-wrote many of the great Stax recordings, such as Otis Redding’s. This guy hadn’t heard of him, and when I explained he said “But… you don’t honestly think he’s as good as a rock guitarist?” I thought I might be misunderstanding, but some questions made it clear that he really meant ANY rock guitarist. It was inconceivable to him that I could really believe that any soul musician could be as good as any rock musician.

I’ve thought a lot about soul and the way it is perceived since then, the qualities it is and isn’t given credit for. I think its fans and critics get it wrong, and the wider public have largely accepted the paradigms they have established. I’ve written an explanation of my thinking on the subject, focussing particularly on Al Green’s beautiful How Can You Mend A Broken Heart. It’s called, rather brashly, Everything They Say About Soul Is Wrong.

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