Friday, August 26, 2011

A Deep Soul Story

Have a listen.

"Bad Girl Pt. 1 & 2." by Lee Moses

Almost two years ago now I was living in Toronto and training to be a voice teacher at York University. In October, all the students are given a week off for Canadian Thanksgiving. (For real, Canada!?) So I thought to myself, "Hey, I might as well get out of town and see some sights!" So I made arrangements for my cat, packed a bag, and hopped a train to New York to hang with my homie Mark in Brooklyn. I was looking forward to catching up with him.

He meets me at Penn Station and hits me with the obligatory bear hug. Even though the guy probably weighs about the same at a six-foot pile of feathers, you better be in shape when he decides to show you some love. We took the L train back to his spot in Bushwick and stayed up way too late making cynical and ironic jokes about music and politics. At the time he was living with both his girlfriend and another one of our LSU buddies, and I'm sure we kept them awake far too long.

Over the next week, we explored a variety of interesting New York things. The stand-out day was seeing the American Museum of Natural History. For many years I've seen pictures of the exhibits in that building and it was an incredible experience to actually stand next to them. Dinosaurs are effin' cool, especially those giant T-Rex skulls. It was also around this time when I began my interest in the work of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the head of the museum's astrophysics wing the Hayden Planetarium. That was a really good day.

Nevertheless, some where along the course of the week Mark says to me, "You've got to hear this guy I just found." Now, usually when Mark says something like this to me I don't take the suggestion lightly. I can only remember two or three times during the course of our seven-year friendship when he's made musical or artistic recommendations; he's a critical cat. The time before this, we ended up seeing these guys. (Be sure to turn you speakers up all the way!)

I believe the first Lee Moses track Mark played for me was "Free At Last", and it was immediately apparent to me I would rest very little before I found every bit of his music I possibly could. He soared over the track with discordant radiance and inspired abrasion, erupting with soul. I simply could take my ears off his music. Next, we heard his immense version "Hey Joe", (by far the best version I know other than Hendrix) then took off into "Bad Girl Pt. 1 & 2". I believe the first impulses I had were feelings of jealousy and frustration, because I could remember very few of my theatrical performances in which I embodied that much need and urgency. This guy was putting everything he was on these records.

I eventually found a link to download his album which is about the only way anyone can get it. It's apparently out of print, so buying a hard copy is going to be difficult and expensive. If you'd like to know more about Lee Moses, this is always a good place to start. If you're interested in exploring other deep soul artists, I've found no better site than Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven. Although Lee isn't on there (He should be!) there's plenty there to discover.


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