In the midst of this blisteringly hot summer, we're steeped in nostalgia for 1969. We landed on the moon, a bunch of hippies descended on Woodstock and it was a transcendent year for music. But the creative breakthroughs of the year often get lost in a haze of clichés. If we look back through roséwave-colored glasses, however, we can hear a sweet mélange of soul, proto-funk, jazz, rock and Latin music that makes for a laid-back, old-school party soundtrack. It's what Booker T. and the MG's called "Soul Clap '69."
Motown's glow was dimming, but the hits were still coming. Titans like Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick were experimenting across genre. A whole new generation of soul music stars were emerging — like Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes and Donny Hathaway — and you can hear the first whiff of Philly Soul from The Emotions and The Chi-Lites. In the center of it all is a rock-soul utopia that was finding a mainstream audience: Sly & The Family Stone, Santana and The Allman Brothers Band. It's a vintage mix and, like our Friends of Distinction, "we can dig it."