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Daryl Hall and John Oates -
Our Kind of Soul is my kind of soul too.
Growing up listening to Daryl Hall and John Oates taught me everything I ever really needed to know about the power of soul. Through their famed rock and soul sound, I gradually found my own way to the Temptations, the Spinners, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Barry White and some of the other greats whose songs the duo make their own right here.
Daryl Hall & John Oates didn’t make their good name as soul purists. Instead they blended the soulful sounds they grew up with in Philadelphia together with rock, pop, folk and anything else that resonated with them. But Daryl and John would be the first to say that at the musical core, you will always find a deep and undying passion for great soul music. Their love for the soulful sounds that first inspired them always came across loud and clear wherever they happen to be on the musical map at any given time.
Now with the altogether stunning Our Kind of Soul -
“Soul is what’s inside of you,” he told me finally. “It’s the best stuff in there.”
That was plenty good enough for me. Then a few days later, coming home from a ball game, out of nowhere he asked to elaborate. “Daddy,” he told me. “I think soul is what keeps you alive.”Informed of this definition. Daryl Hall lets out a warm laugh. “Out of the mouths of babes,” Hall says. Yes, and out of the mouths of Daryl Hall and John Oates comes true, enduring, living soul music. This is, without question, their kind of soul. And now thankfully, it’s all of ours too. David Wild 2004
OUR KIND OF SOUL: TRACK BY TRACK BY DARYL HALL
LET LOVE TAKE CONTROL: From the start we knew Our Kind of Soul would be albums about making old songs feel new again. But we also wanted to include a few new originals too. John Oates, Billy Mann and I wrote “Let Love Take Control” -
STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE: I read in the liner notes for the Four Tops box set something I’d always suspected – that the great Motown songwriting team Holland, Dozier, Holland were being influenced by people like Dylan around the time that they wrote this masterpiece. “Standing in the Shadows of Love” was sort of their version of a Bob Dylan song. You can hear that the way Levi Stubbs sort of shouted the melody instead of singing it. So I said to T Bone Wolk -
I’LL BE AROUND: The original “I’ll Be Around” showcased the amazing Spinners and the whole ensemble of TSOP – The Sound of Philadelphia. But we had to make the song sound like us because there wasn’t much else there in the Bahamas to work with really. We set up a studio in my workshop -
USED TA BE MY GIRL:We love the music of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and the amazing records they did with the O’Jays. And I always liked “Used Ta Be My Girl” as a song, but for me it wasn’t one of Philly Soul’s greatest arrangements. That’s one where I liked the song more than the record. So again we decided to really put our stamp on the song. Our version here is a lot different – it’s a lot funkier if I do say so myself. Throughout the album, we strip everything down to what works for us. That’s only right because I know just about every classic soul song from Philly started with a bunch of guys who got in a room and jammed things out. In our own way, that’s what we did all over Our Kind of Soul. We spent years and years experimenting and developing and trying to expand on a sound, but weren’t quite sure what it was. We were too far inside it. But in the Nineties, because we stopped for a time, we had the ability to step out of ourselves, look at ourselves objectively, and really know what it is we do that is unique.
SOUL VIOLINS– I wrote “Soul Violins” and instantly knew it would make sense on this album. This is a real soul song, and like a lot of my favorites, it came out of a real experience. Basically I hadn’t seen my girlfriend in a while. We were going through a rough patch -
I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU: Dan Hartman said he wrote that song for us. Back in those days, we weren’t really doing covers, and happily Dan had a really big hit with himself. On “I Can’t Dream About You,” I think Dan was channeling us both us and the Temptations – that was around the time when John and I did were doing our big Apollo show with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks -
DON’T TURN YOUR BACK ON ME: This was another deeply felt song that came out of the same separation situation that inspired “Soul Violins.” Sometimes you write the best songs when you’re feeling the most vulnerable. “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me Baby” was inspired by an emotion not unlike “Every time You Go Away.” As a song, I really love the way the verse is sort of murky and very intimate. Then the chorus hits you and suddenly it’s really different. It’s like the heavens open into a soaring emotional cry. “Something about the song reminds me of the sound of David Ruffin -
FADING AWAY:What a great song, and to think that it was never a hit. “Fading Away” is an old Smokey Robinson song that became a B-
NEITHER ONE OF US (WANTS TO BE THE FIRST TO SAY GOODBYE): Obviously, Gladys Knight did a fantastic job on that song, but as much as I might love the Pips, I always thought that their arrangement was just a little bit jive on that particular record. That’s an amazing song that I always thought that I could sing and bring a different sort of poignancy to it. I wanted to break “Neither One Of Us” down to its most raw emotion. For me, doing it that way steps the song up a few notches, and this was already one hell of a song written by Jim Weatherly, who was responsible for a number of their biggest hits. We listened to that track after we cut it, and frankly, we started crying. It’s a very powerful, soulful song.
AFTER THE DANCE:I’ve always felt challenged by “After The Dance” because the background harmonies Marvin Gaye did there were so unique and so intricate they’re as important -
ROCK STEADY:That song truly does rock steady. The groove of the thing is just amazing. We wanted to see if we could make that into a man’s song because it’s quite rightly so identified with the great Aretha Franklin. By changing the key of the song, it really gives everything such a cool vibe. I cannot wait to play “Rock Steady” live. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from the soulful women singers, all the way back to my early days when I was listening to gospel music. I love strong singing – it doesn’t even matter if it was a man or a woman, rock, soul or gospel.
LOVE TKO:That’s always been one of my favorites. That’s an amazing song Teddy Pendergrass had a huge hit with and I love the Womack team’s writing. Yes, I have been called “Teddy Bear” in my day too, but for different reasons. When we got back from recording in the Bahamas, we did a few finishing touches in upstate New York. One of the guys we had in overdubbing was Bobby Eli who played guitar on so many great Philly records. I put that track up for Bobby and he started playing the original guitar part that he did. So now Bobby’s on “Love TKO” twice. I’ve been singing that one live in my solo shows for a few years now. That song’s just got something deep going on, and we like to go deep.
WATCHA SEE IS WATCHA GET: For me, “Watcha See Is Watcha Get” is just of those great songs that sound great every time you hear it. The Dramatics had a big hit with it originally, and John did a really great job on singing it. That makes sense because the way I see it the song is absolutely perfect for John. That song is John. With John Oates, what you see is what you get.
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