Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Eddie & Ernie - Thanks For Yesterday

Among other things, one of the biggest things lacking in modern R&B music is the absence of male duos. Although in the '60s Sam & Dave were the most commercially successful, there were a great many acts that recorded great material, albeit with less fame. Edgar Campbell and Ernie Johnson hit with "Time Waits For No One" in the early '60s and then spent the rest of the decade recording unheralded but awesome soul records for Eastern, Chess, Revue, Columbia, Buddah and other labels as a duet, one-off singles as solo artists (Ernie's "In These Very Tender Moments" appears on Episode #14 of the podcast), and as frontmen for the band Phoenix Express. The two men had an uncanny sense of harmony and attack, and their material, which ranged from uptown soul to deep balladry, was consistently top-notch. In a perfect world, they would've been as big as Sam & Dave. Fortunately for us soul fans, however, the late Dave Godin championed the duo and, through his Deep Soul Treasures series on Kent and the Kent comp Lost Friends, he got almost all of their material on CD for us to enjoy.

I picked today's selection in connection with today being Valentine's Day. Love is definitely a common theme in lots of soul music, but the lyrics of "Thanks For Yesterday" reflect the strongest type of love there is, the kind that sympathetically reaches out when one is in a vale of sorrow, feeling all is lost. "I wanna thank you, baby, for your love throughout the years, but especially for yesterday, when you wiped away all my tears." That's serious stuff, and Eddie & Ernie sing it that way. Listen to this one and then think of how your special someone reached out to you that way. Call them up and thank them.

(If you are looking for something less heavy as a Valentine's soul selection, do go over to this Soul Sides post featuring The Brothers of Soul's "A Lifetime," which is a very tasty piece of mid-tempo soul.)

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