Getting dinner together this evening a story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” caught my ear. It was the mention of the 1970s and 1980s hit music duo Daryl Hall and John Oates that first got my attention, but then the story about the Philadelphia variant of soul music kept me interested, including an interpretation of the Bee Gees’ 1979 “Too Much Love.”
I have never considered myself much of a fan of soul, but I love a good song and a certain economy of expression in rhythm and blues and, as it turns out, soul, a sensibility John and Daryl – which, it appears, they inherited from others in the Philadephia music scene of the 1960s – brought to some of the music my friends and I would sing at the top of our lungs, driving around late at night with all the car windows open. For all my harder rock leanings, there’s nothing to beat the pure sing-ability of the music we cruised on to on hot, muggy nights (and cold winter nights, too, still with all the windows open). Simon & Garfunkel, Seals & Crofts, England Dan & John Ford Coley, The Blues Brothers, and even the occasional Hall & Oates.
Silly New England white boys. We had no idea what we were connecting with. Well, most of us, anyway. Me included.