The Shingaling

The Shingaling, like the term “boogaloo,” refers to two separate (but related) mid-’60s pop phenomena.

There’s the “shingaling” synonomous with Latin Soul – jazzed-up guajiras and mambos with an R&B kick, sung in English and Spanish by younger Nuyoricans. Possibly more familiar, though, is the “shingaling,” the peculiar evolution of ’60s soul dance music shortly before the polyrhythmic funk of “Cold Sweat”-era James Brown changed everything. It sustained a tradition of dancefloor lyrics, though it was arguably more sophisticated than the R&B styles that preceded it. It had big, jazzy horn riffs, it looked good in mod suits and it had a walloping beat. And, most of all, it was just crazy danceable.

1. Gene Waiters, Shake and Shingaling (part 1) (Fairmount)
All the requisite ingredients are here: the horns, the titantic drum fill, the lyrics about keeping “it” moving. Spiced with guitar and some churning organ, “Shake and Shingaling” is the essence of shingaling soul.

“Shake and Shingaling” absolutely brims with the confidence that comes from being part of the New Breed, that elite, vague club that once carried a great deal of currency, even if only in the lyrics of contemporary ’60s soul music.

2. Carl Holmes and the Commanders, Soul Dance No. 3 (Blackjack)
Carl Holmes – talented guitarist, screamer, and a kind of tightly wound version of Wilson Pickett – here conjures the transcendent 1966 blare of American dancefloor mojo.

Carl Holmes led various R&B and soul combos throughout the the 1960s and ’70s, and toured the Mid-Atlantic extensively, including my old stomping grounds south-central Pennsylvania. (See the fantastic Funky 16 Corners for more info on Carl Holmes.)

3. Bobby Sax, Sock It (DePlace)
1969’s “Sock It” is, even for the style, exceptional.  Monumental slabs of echo, horns and drums are its component parts.  Sound bleeds from its every channel.

The Washington DC-based saxophonist and vocalist Bobby “Sax” Hughes’s discography extends well into the ’70s, and includes a number of other hard-edged soul and R&B 45s, though none with quite the same heart-pounding tempo or needle-in-the-red volume levels as “Sock It.”

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8 Responses to The Shingaling

  1. Blanca says:

    This week’s selection reminds me of the Soul Jazz cd -gasp!- Saturday Night Fish Fry: New Orleans Soul & Funk. In any case, I’ll take a scoop of that “discoteque nougat”!

  2. Blanca says:

    This week’s selection reminds me of the Soul Jazz cd -gasp!- Saturday Night Fish Fry: New Orleans Soul & Funk. In any case, I’ll take a scoop of that “discoteque nougat”!

  3. Indeed! A lot of the stuff from that comp. is from the same era (ca. ’65-’67), though it has its own subtle-but-distinct N.O. flavor, too.

  4. Anonymous says:

    bobby sax… that’s an ear bleeder

    speedy gonzalez

  5. You’re telling me, Speedy. Hard to convince people that it’s *not* the turntable that’s distorting.

  6. DJ TRS says:

    That Soul Dance No.3 is killer and I think the handwritten label is one of a number of things that added the authenticity and creativity that is currently lacking in today’s bloated and untalented music industry. Rock on!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well sheee’it! Soul dance is now on rotation!

  8. David says:

    I know it’s about two years after the fact, but it needs to be said: “Sock It” is two-minutes of the purest form of kick-ass anyone needs to hear!

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