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May 12, 2011


So it's that time of the week again, yes Thursday and that means I'm back with another installment of Throwback Thursday. Now last week I promised you a bona-fide soul classic and that's exactly what I'm going to give you, although OneHD kind of stole my thunder a bit with this one when it started running this song as the backing track for it's Sons of Anarchy promo's (A very dope show which you should check out if you haven't already seen it). Of course the song I speak of is none other than Marlena Shaw - "California Soul". Now I can already hear all the music nuts out there saying "...but Marlena Shaw wasn't the first person to record this song, it's a cover!" Well to those people I say, this is my Throwback Thursday and I'll choose whoever the hell I want. Only joking, of course I'm aware that she wasn't the first to record this song (The 5th Dimension and Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell did it first), but Marlena Shaw's version is most definitely my favourite, so she gets the nod. This song has been a bit of a lost soul gem to many people unless you listen to a lot of late 60's/early 70's soul music. Even I only heard it for the first time around 6 years ago when someone decided to use it as the backing track for a longboarding video I was watching on YouTube. Needless to say as soon as I heard it I had to find out who that divine voice belonged to. It's just the perfect laidback soul track and it reminds me of summer for some reason, sitting out on the back porch as the sun goes down while cracking an ice cold beer. You can't help but feel good when listening to this song, plus Marlena is a pretty happening lady and that opening violin riff gets me everytime. Anyway enough of me waffling on, check out the video below with stream/download of the song + a Diplo Remix after the jump along with the videos of "The 5th Dimension" and "Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell" versions so you can judge for yourself which one you like the most.

DOWNLOAD: Marlena Shaw - California Soul

DOWNLOAD: Marlena Shaw - California Soul (Diplo Remix)

California Soul appeared on Marlena's debut album entitled "The Spice of Life". If you like what you've heard click through below to purchase the album on iTunes. Otherwise I can highly recommend the Marlena Shaw - "Anthology" album which compiles all her greatest hits.

BUY: Marlena Shaw - The Spice of Life

As I promised earlier I have included the videos of the other earlier/alternate versions of California Soul below. The 5th Dimension were the first to record the song in 1968 followed by Motown duo Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell in 1969. Now I'm not saying by any means that I don't like these versions I just heard the Marlena Shaw recording first and it's my favourite, and that's purely a personal decision. So check out the other two versions below and decide for yourself -

As well as being good singers The 5th Dimension also had some pretty sweet synchronised dance moves, so make sure you check out the group performing California Soul live over on YouTube.

Stay tuned for next weeks edition of Throwback Thursday (yes, you counted right #5) because we will be featuring another bona-fide classic from 1970 which just happens to be one of my favourite soul/funk tracks of all time. As a clue, I'll tell you that this song was sampled by Just Blaze for one of Kanye West's well known singles. Now you might be thinking that doesn't really narrow it down a great deal because Kanye's earlier albums were full of samples, but there's enough information in there to work it out, in fact I've probably given away too much. If you think you know what the song is post it in the comments section below, otherwise you'll have to wait until next Thursday to find out, THROWBACK!

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