Sunday, July 31, 2011

Soulful Strut

Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to "The Soul Show Review" when Cassie dusted off an old favorite of mine and played it; "Soulful Strut" by "The Young-Holt Unlimited." As the unmistakable horn and piano riffs filled the air, I thought about the impact this one song had on the music industry across the years.

Soulful Strut was written by Eugene Record, the front man for "The Chi-Lites" and Sonny Sanders as a vocal "Am I The Same Girl" for Eugene's wife Barbara Acklin, who recorded it in 1968. But when the song was presented to Carl Davis, the producer at Brusnwick Records,he removed her voice from the track, replaced it with a piano solo by Floyd Morris, and released the resultant track in November 1968 as "Soulful Strut" credited to Young-Holt Unlimited; it became a #3 hit in the United States and went to #1 in Canada. Ironically, neither Eldee Young nor Red Holt is believed to have played on the track, which rather is the work of session players identified only as the Brunswick Studio Band.

Acklin's version was released in February 1969 and reached #33 on the R&B chart crossing over to #79 on the Pop chart. Dusty Springfield, who had heard Acklin's version, recorded "Am I The Same Girl" at Philips Studios "Marble Arch" in August 1969. However it was not a big hit for her either. The vocal version of "Am I the Same Girl" finally had success as a 1992 remake by Swing Out Sister, whose lead vocalist Corinne Drewery has acknowledged Dusty Springfield as a major influence. Recorded for the Get in Touch with Yourself album and released as the lead single, "Am I the Same Girl" gave Swing Out Sister their highest UK chart ranking since their inaugural hits back in 1986 and 1987.

Fast-forward to 2005: Joss Stone used the Young-Holt version as a starting point for her song "Don't Cha Wanna Ride" and accordingly credited the composers of "Am I the Same Girl" as co-composers of her song. In recent years, "Soulful Strut" has become one of the most played songs at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. That same year, Martha Stewart began to use the Swing Out Sister version in her promo commercials for her show Martha on NBC television in America and then as the opening introduction theme song of the show. Each show starts with the song playing over a montage of images and photos of Martha Stewart growing up.

This is just one example of how music from the Baby Boomer's time reaches out across the years to the generations that follow. Every time I hear any version, I am transported back to those sweet years early in my career! Oh MY!

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