Soul music really came of age in the 60's and in addition to a steady stream of astounding vocal recordings,
there was a miraculous supply of instrumental 45's featuring everything from sultry saxophones and riffing
guitars to boppin' Hammond organs. As the decade progressed, groups were injecting funk into the equation
as is evident in some of the tracks below.
Here are a few of my personal favorite instrumentals...
ALL ABOUT MY GIRL (Jimmy McGriff) by Jimmy McGriff (Sue: 1963) US #12 R&B, #50 Pop
Organist Jimmy McGriff was classified as a jazz musician but he was so much more with a
blues sensibility which particularly echoed through his early Sue sessions.
ALL FOR YOU (William Stevenson/Henry Cosby/Ivy Jo Hunter) by Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers
Pro: William Stevenson & Henry Cosby (Soul: 1965)
Used as a recurring theme by DJ Rick Dane on UK's Radio Caroline in the late 60's. Keyboard player
Earl Van Dyke was an early member of the legendary Funk Brothers who were billed on this track
as The Soul Brothers.
CISSY STRUT (Leo Nocentelli/Art Neville/George Porter/Joseph Modeliste) by The Meters
Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall E. Sehorn (Josie: 1969) US #4 R&B, #23 Pop
The Meters dispensed their irresistible brand of New Orleans funk.
Their initial standout tunes were SOPHISTICATED CISSY and this follow-up.
CLEO'S BACK (Willie Woods) by Jr. Walker & The All Stars/Pro: Harvey Fuqua (Soul: 1965) US #7 R&B, #43 Pop
Sax playing Jr. Walker blasted into the charts with his debut hit SHOTGUN in early '65.
Written by the All Stars' guitarist Willie Woods, CLEO'S BACK was the flipside of
Junior's fourth Motown single SHAKE AND FINGERPOP.
GREEN ONIONS (Booker T. Jones/Steve Cropper/Al Jackson Jr./Lewie Steinberg) by Booker T. & The MG's
Pro: Jim Stewart (Volt: 1962) US #1 R&B, #3 Pop in '62. A reissue charted at #7 in the UK in '79. https://youtu.be/w3Cq1nE6X4I
Organist Booker T. and his group The MG's were the Stax Records house band and backed up
many of the finest Stax singers including Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Rufus & Carla Thomas. They also recorded as their own unit and their GREEN ONIONS remains an out-and-out classic bluesy 45.
HOLE IN THE WALL (Steve Cropper/Al Jackson Jr./Booker T. Jones/Nathaniel Montague) by The Packers
An E&M Production (Pure Soul: 1965) US #5 R&B, #43 Pop
Group that included tenor saxman Charles 'Packy' Axton, the son of Stax Records co-founder Estelle Axton.
THE HORSE (Jesse James) by Cliff Nobles & Co. Arr: Bobby Martin
Pro: Jesse James (Phil-L.A. Of Soul: 1968) US #2 R&B, #2 Pop
First issued as the B side of the single LOVE IS ALRIGHT by singer Cliff Nobles, it was a remix of that song's
backing track. A DJ started playing THE HORSE and the tune ignited a dance craze putting Cliff Nobles'
name on the chart even though he didn't appear on the record!
I'M A MAN (Jimmy Miller/Steve Winwood) by Wynder K. Frog
Pro: Chris Blackwell & Jimmy Miller (United Artists: 1968)
Wynder K. Frog was an alias of British organist Mick Weaver. Originally issued on the UK Island label in '67,
it's an instrumental version of the song that had charted for the Spencer Davis Group in '67 and later for
Chicago in ’71.
I'VE GOT A WOMAN (Part 1) (Ray Charles) by Jimmy McGriff
Pro: Joe Lederman (Sue: 1962) US #5 R&B, #20 Pop
This re-working of Ray Charles' first R&B #1 gave McGriff his biggest selling single.
LAST NIGHT (Charles Axton/Gil Caple/Chips Moman/Floyd Newman/Jerald Smith) by The Mar-Keys
Pro: Chips Moman (Satellite: 1961) US #2 R&B, #3 Pop
An early slab of Memphis instrumental soul from a group that included ace guitarist Steve Cropper
prior to the formation of Booker T. & The MG's.
A NIGHT WITH DADDY 'G' (Part 2)
(Gene Barge/Frank Guida/Joseph Royster) by The Church Street Five/Frank Guida Productions (Legrand: 1961)
Original version of saxman Gene Barge's tune which, with an added lyric,
became Gary U.S. Bonds' huge 1961 hit QUARTER TO THREE.
ONE MINT JULEP (Rudolph Toombs) by Ray Charles
Arr: Quincy Jones (Impulse!: 1961) US #1 R&B, #8 Pop
Ray Charles played organ on this big band version of the song that was a
major 1952 smash for Atlantic vocal group The Clovers.
SO FAR AWAY (Kent Harris/Henry Jacobs) by Hank Jacobs (Sue: 1964) US #19 R&B, #91 Pop
This was organist Hank Jacobs' sole best-seller, co-written with Kent Harris who had charted in '56 as
Boogaloo & His Gallant Crew on his song COPS AND ROBBERS.
SOPHISTICATED CISSY (Leon Nocentelli/Art Neville/George Porter/Joseph 'Zig' Modeliste) by The Meters
Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall E. Sehorn (Josie: 1969) US #7 R&B, #34 Pop
Just as Booker T. & The MG's started out backing up Stax artists, so The Meters were initially
the New Orleans house band that Allen Toussaint booked to play on sessions by such artists as
Lee Dorsey and Ernie K-Doe.
SOUL TWIST (Curtis Ousley) by King Curtis & The Noble Knights
Pro: Bobby & Danny Robinson (Enjoy: 1962) US #1 R&B, #17 Pop
This was the chart debut of King Curtis whose brilliant tenor sax playing stood out on so many
R&B classic sessions including YAKETY YAK by The Coasters on Atco in '58.
SOULFUL STRUT (Eugene Record/Sonny Sanders) by Young-Holt Unlimited
Arr: Sonny Sanders/Pro: Carl Davis & Eugene Record (Brunswick: 1968) US #3 R&B, #3 Pop https://youtu.be/XKYgtwsqnxs
This was the instrumental track of Barbara Acklin's record
AM I THE SAME GIRL with Barbara's vocal replaced by a piano. It was issued here prior to Barbara's single.
SOUL SERENADE (Curtis Ousley/Luther Dixon) by King Curtis
Pro: Dave Cavanaugh (Capitol: 1964) US #20 R&B, #51 Pop
British DJ Mike Raven produced a cover version by The Mike Cotton Sound (MGM: 1968)
with which he introduced his weekly R&B show on the BBC's Radio 1.
Willie Mitchell scored with his own cover version, also in '68.
YOU CAN'T SIT DOWN (Part 2) (Dee Clark/Phil Upchurch/Cornell Muldrow) by The Philip Upchurch Combo
(Boyd: 1961) US #29 Pop in '61, UK #39 in '66
Phil Upchurch was the guitarist along with organist Cornell Muldrow.
Tune was first recorded as CAN'T SIT DOWN by The Bim Bam Boos on Dasher in '59.
A later vocal version of YOU CAN'T SIT DOWN was a #3 Pop & #10 R&B single in '63 by The Dovells.
"If you enjoyed this week's edition of The Door To Yesterday,
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