R&B Dreams, Wake Up It Is Time To Sing!

by Homer Hill

It did not matter what time it was there was one thing for sure the music would be playing in my room!  Went to sleep with the sweet sounds or R&B and woke up to them.  Back in the early 70’s in the Summertime the record companies would release new albums.  I remember being in my room laying on my bed with the window up and a box fan in the window attempting to keep me cool as my feet rested on the window sill listening to the newly released album by the Temptations singing ‘Just My Imagination’ with my eyes closed.  There was a certain kind of bliss I was feeling, and at the age 11 that was a great thing.  I knew the world was large and full of opportunities to experience different aspects of life.  Through music I would exchange my realities for fantasies, oh what a wonderful world I lived in Temptations in the morning and the Bar Kays at night!  You see music is one of those things that can follow you all of your life, and help to determine how you perceive the world.

At an early age I fell in love with R&B music because it offered me messages of hope and love, and it soothed me with its melodic and soulful sounds.  So many iconic soul artists from the R&B genre built the foundation for many of the contemporary genres of today such as Pop Music, Hip Hop, and Neo-Soul.  Do you believe Michael Jackson would have been as prolific without the musing of James Brown?  Do you believe Chris Brown would have found the acclaim he has without him being compared to Michael Jackson?  What about Sam Smith of Joss Stone utilizing the soulful intonations of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and other soul masters?  Tell me can Rhianna believe that she could be outrageous without the blessings of Grace Jones and Tina Turner that preceded her?  When Robin Thicke and Pharrell were embroiled in the copyright infringement controversy over Marvin Gayes iconic song ‘Got To Give It Up’ I knew immediately that Marvin’s family would win the lawsuit, because replicating R&B is not the same as creating soul music.  Basically, true R&B listeners know what real heart rendering soul sounds like, and what copied soul sounds like!

So, much of today’s R&B has been diluted with sound effects and voice defects.  Many R&B artists of today are afraid to sing out for fear of being discovered as perpetrators.  But, there are some R&B artists out there today that are singing their collective butts off, like Leela James, Luke James, Anthony Hamilton, and others to name a few.  They may not be considered to be ‘A’ list artists monetarily, but in terms of respecting and creating the essence of R&B they are considered to be ‘A+++’ artists.  As an adult today I can still listen to sweet delectable R&B in the Summertime with my feet propped up on the window sill in my bedroom with the window down and the central air keeping me cool and comfortable as I fall into a sweet R&B fantasy of non stop music.