Having purchased this slab of stone classic 60s soul for a quid at the Wincheap Bootfair, I wondered to myself, “Could I be a soul man?” I certainly like the music and the style, so it’s a definite possibility. Are any Thrifty Vinyl readers Soul Men or Queens of Soul? But how to find out? A series of questions, then, to determine…are you a soul man/queen of soul (delete as appropriate).
1. Have you sung in church since you “was knee-high to a grasshopper”?
2. Is your father a Reverend or have you become a reverend having renounced previous wicked ways?
3. Has a jealous lover poured hot grits over your naked prostrate body while you were having a bath?
4. Have you ever eaten grits?
5. Do you know what grits are?
6. Have you ever been obliged to enter the building in which you were performing through the service entrance (for racist reasons, not just to avoid fans)?
7. Is your skin the color of mochachino or darker before using Fake Bake or a visit to the tanning salon?
8. Do you pronounce the word “Chitlins” or “Chitterlings”?
9. Have you ever used a “Chitlin’ Circuit” to repair your car’s electrics?
10. Has a 60s rock god guitarist, frequently capable of overplaying, performed tastefully and beautifully on one of your records?
11. Are your producers Jewish atheists?
12. Is there a significant discrepancy between the amount of pure love and devotion you express in song and the number of wives/husbands you’ve had/cheated on?
13. Do you have a trademark grunt or squeal?
14. Did your cover of an uptempo Beatles or Stones song feature a parping horn section?
15. As the 70s progressed, did you lose your touch commercially, resulting in a series of increasingly desperate makeovers designed (but failing) to make you seem relevant, culminating in endless “comeback” albums which were either condescendingly hailed as a “return to form” or unmercifully derided as a “pale imitations of past glories”, finally settling in for popular, but artistically bankrupt duet albums, American songbook covers albums or appearances on other people’s duet albums.
16. At this point in history, do you have more Best of compilations than actual studio albums?
17. Does your lavish, career-spanning CD box-set have a) Soul Man or Queen of Soul somewhere in its title or subtitle; b) discs 4, 5 and 6 that no-one listens to; c) an Lp-sized booklet featuring a slavering essay by a former Rolling Stone editor, an incomprehensible introduction by a white 60s rock legend and an anally retentive discography?
18. Do a large number of the current crop of annoying pint-sized TV talent show poppets cite you as a “huge influence” on their soul-less histrionic caturwauling?
So, how did you do? Alas, I failed and am only a vacuous pop star. Still, at least I didn’t shoot my wife causing my musical partner to never speak to me again though we still perform together.