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Something For the Kids

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Midnight Star : Curious
taken from the album “Planetary Invasion” on Solar (1984)

Imagination : So Good, So Right
taken from the album “Body Talk” on MCA (1981)

Someday I’ll have children. Not soon, but eventually. And someday those children of mine will reach an age when, if but slowly, they awaken to the world of soul music. Perhaps they’ll be listening to the radio in friend’s car one day and hear those first plucked strings of Love and Happiness, or maybe they’ll be seduced in a record store by Sam Cooke’s alluring smile, enough to pick up Night Beat and give it a listen.

If my future progeny inherit even a shadow of my love for R&B, they’ll be hooked from that day forward. Chances are they’ll want to know more about this universe of groove… At which point, noticing the tens of thousands of records (let’s be optimistic here: this is years from now) that their father has lying around the house, my child may come to me and say, ‘Father, tell me what you know about this thing called Soul Music.’

I could begin with the obvious choices. Marvin. Ray. Stevie. Curtis. Babyface. But no, I must remind myself, I will save those for later; those musical monoliths will be discovered in due course. I will begin my story elsewhere, in the least likely of places: A land of twinkling synthesizers and flaring purple outfits. A land of blips and beeps and drum machines. A land where superstars were defined both by the length of their jeri-curl and their instrumental intro’s. Where all roads lead to glorious, candle-lit, very slow sex. This is 80’s soul.

Midnight Star is a clear favorite. Purveyors of “Midas Touch” and “No Parking On The Dancefloor“-quality jams, the Calloway brothers hit (harder still?) with the subtler, drop-them-panties anthem that was later sampled to great effect by Kurious Jorge (an essential early-Nineties one-album wonder who has since dropped into obscurity). There is an element of cheesiness that pervades many of the masterworks of this genre, but don’t be fooled—these are certified bullets. The kind of tune that registers on such a satisfying gut level, that I have actually seen grown white men weep on a dancefloor when Curious drops.

Lesser known Imagination can hang with the best of them. A European, Eighties-era funk/soul outfit? Unheard of, right? (No, Boney-M doesn’t count.) If the three solid minutes of slow-building electro-instrumental introduction (think Kano) don’t have you and your girl in a compromised position on your parents’ couch then you’ll certainly find yourself there by the time the hauntingly simple chorus hits. And it is Oh-so-good, Oh-so-right.

For added effect, drop the two, back to back in a set. They mix perfectly and will very likely induce massive group ejaculation.

With a little fatherly advice like this, it’s safe to say my kids are gonna get laid. A lot.