Our Top 10 Songs By Underrated Soul Legends

Categories: Artists We Love

Great soul songs conjure hazy images of smoke-filled clubs, sweaty suit-and-tied horn sections shuffling through dodgy choreography, and singers so viscerally passionate you're afraid for their blood pressure. While groups like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have revived the genre, dusty stacks of record store vinyl (and the web) still contain more than six decades of emotional, evocative, energizing soul songs that have been all but ignored since the dawn of disco. These tracks are just a sample of artists that never got the attention they deserved, or were quickly forgotten after a moment in the spotlight.

Marva Whitney, "Unwind Yourself"
It's My Thing (1969)

Ironically, samples of Marva Whitney's "Unwind Yourself" have been 'unwound' by other artists so often that the song has its own reference page. Whitney was a featured vocalist in the James Brown Revue, and It's My Thing was produced by Brown and backed by his touring band, the JB's. It's My Thing is a fantastic James Brown record in disguise, featuring a female vocal arguably greater than the Godfather himself.

Charles Bradley, "The World (Is Going Up in Flames)"
Live KEXP Performance (2011)

Charles Bradley is the ultimate late bloomer--his first record, titled No Time For Dreaming (Daptone), was released in 2011 when Bradley was 62 years old. A small-time club performer for years, Bradley and his backing band The Extraordinaires performed at the Doheny Blues festival in Dana Point this weekend and will tour the world through early 2015.

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