Happy Valentine's Day! The Lost Radicals team is still basking in the love of everyone who has supported us during our first few months of existence. Lately, we've been hard at work on a new collection of T-shirts inspired by a long-lost soul singer from the early 70's whose sultry voice was only matched by her revolutionary style. Unfortunately, like many of her European contemporaries, this artist's work is not available to stream. However, while researching this musical era, we rediscovered an abundance of songs that we felt would make the perfect playlist for Valentine's Day (or any day).
During the cultural and political changes from 1969 to the late 70's, soul singers expressed a new found determination and point of view — and their audience responded enthusiastically. Upbeat 60's dance hits like Baby Love and Dancing in the Street gave way to the lush loneliness of To Love Somebody, the bleak reality of Street Life and the assertive female empowerment of Diana Ross ordering her lover to Surrender. With vivid vocals that floated above sensual grooves and rolling drum riffs, black women stepped up to sing truthfully about their lives. The soul genre became so successful and pervasive that it began to influence — and be influenced by — funk, pop, and psychedelia. Then, around the same time Tina was divorcing Ike, Studio 54 opened it's doors and authentic soul faded into the background to be replaced by the"four on the floor" beats and syrupy strings of disco.
Of course soul never disappeared. As with any timeless music, several of these early tracks feature hooks that were sampled years later or have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with new audiences. The drum breaks from Think (About It) were lifted directly for It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock. In 1996, Lauryn Hill and The Fugees introduced a stripped-down and funked-up Killing Me Softly to a neo-soul generation. Les Fleur was recently featured in Paul Thomas Anderson's 2014 film adaptation of Inherent Vice, and during the ending of the 2019 horror film Us. Today, artists like Yola, Michael Kiwanuka and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are honoring soul singers of the past while taking the genre in new directions.
We promise some sexy and soulful shirts are on the horizon. In the meantime, uncork a bottle of Blue Nun or shake up a Tequila Sunrise and ease into this curated mix of hidden gems and classic hits.