(“The soulful one”)
Soul Records was formed in early 1964 by Berry Gordy Jr as an outlet for the harder-edged, even jazz-tinged R&B music which had started to attract the epithet “soul music”, and endowed with an excellently obvious name which nobody else had apparently bothered to copyright. Soul was never considered one of Motown’s most prestigious imprints (like the “big three” of Tamla, Motown and Gordy), but in reality the label put out some of the best material in the Motown catalogue, and was every bit the equal of the “big three” except perhaps in terms of profile and marketing muscle.
With the demise of Workshop Jazz, the Motown stable lacked a suitable imprint to release records with limited pop appeal; Soul provided the perfect opportunity, while also racking up a roster of excellent artists who could have succeeded on any of the “big three”. This heady mix meant the label went on to enduring fame as the home of Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jimmy Ruffin, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Shorty Long, the Originals, and a number of instrumental releases by the Motown house band the Funk Brothers. Soul is also the home of perhaps the greatest of all Motown singles, Frank Wilson’s Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), albeit a single that was never actually released.
The first release on Soul was Shorty Long’s Devil With The Blue Dress in March 1964. The label went on to be one of Motown’s longest-lived imprints, only grinding to a halt in 1976 and releasing a trickle of singles before finally closing down during the heyday of disco in 1978. The last release on Soul Records was Major Lance’s I Never Thought I’d Be Losing You, released in April that year.
Here’s a list of the Soul Records singles that have been covered on Motown Junkies so far.
SOUL RECORDS: SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY (1964-65)
- SHORTY LONG: Devil With The Blue Dress (7) / Wind It Up (5) (Soul S 35001, March 1964)
- JIMMY RUFFIN: Since I’ve Lost You (6) / I Want Her Love (5) (Soul S 35002, July 1964)
- JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS: Satan’s Blues (7) / Monkey Jump (3) (Soul S 35003, August 1964)
- SAMMY WARD: Bread Winner (8) / You’ve Got To Change (6) (Soul S 35004, August 1964)
- SHORTY LONG: It’s A Crying Shame (The Way You Treat A Good Man Like Me) (8) / Out To Get You (5) (Soul S 35005, August 1964)
- EARL VAN DYKE: Soul Stomp (6) / Hot ‘n’ Tot (7) (Soul S 35006, September 1964)
- THE MERCED BLUE NOTES: Do The Pig (4) / Thompin’ (5) (Soul S 35007, unreleased)
- JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS: Shotgun (9) / Hot Cha (3) (Soul S 35008, January 1965)
- EARL VAN DYKE & THE SOUL BROTHERS: All For You (5) / Too Many Fish In The Sea (3) (Soul S 35009, unreleased)
- THE HIT PACK: Never Say No To Your Baby (7) / Let’s Dance (4) (Soul S 35010, March 1965)
- THE FREEMAN BROTHERS: My Baby (3) / Beautiful Brown Eyes (4) (Soul S 35011, March 1965)
- JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS: Do The Boomerang (9) / Tune Up (8) (Soul S 35012, May 1965)
- JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS: Shake And Fingerpop (7) / Cleo’s Back (7) (Soul S 35013, July 1965)
(Click a song title to read a full review of that side. NB: The coloured numbers after each title indicate the highly subjective mark out of ten I gave that song on the day I happened to write about it. They weren’t intended to be taken too seriously.)