TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing’s musical landscape
|By Rich Tupica|
Real rhythm & blues and soul music is extinct, with only vinyl fossils left to prove it was here. Since soul legend Otis Redding died in a plane crash in 1967, there are music lovers who, to this day, wonder, “What if he had lived?”
Redding was such a brilliant songwriter and innovator in the genre that people not only mourn the loss of his life, but recognize that each of his albums showed progression. He had more to offer.
More than 40 years later, things have changed. The music I love has morphed into a genre that barely, if at all, reflects the passion created in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
No offense, but if Usher, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown all crashed into the sea, it would be a tragic day, but I doubt people would be wondering what brilliant songs they could have written had they not plunged into the water. These new R&B artists don’t have the postmortem “What If” factor.
These new school celebrities are pop singers. Yes, they are talented vocalists, but it takes more than that to be R&B (which means rhythm & blues). Do you hear any trace of blues in current radio “R&B” music? I sure as hell don’t.
This argument may seem like much ado about nothing. But if you sit down and listen to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” a song recorded three days before Redding’s death, you will hear a 26-yearold man who was passionate about R&B and who respected the elements that made his music what is: soulful.
Skate or die
A ton of local bands are coming together in Grand Ledge on Saturday, May 9, to benefit Fitzgerald Skate Park. The show will be outside of the Red Salamander, a home beer and wine making store in Grand Ledge. The park is in shambles, and cash is needed to get it ready for summer, so it’s a good opportunity to support local skaters and rock bands.