My love for British music and fashion is well known. I had a “mod” band in Kalamazoo, Michigan in the mid-90s, for heaven’s sake. I also have a deep passion for garage rock and early R&B and that passion was sparked by a video I saw while working at Blockbuster Video. We had a VHS tape of the British musical variety show called Ready, Steady, Go! These clips in particular set my world on fire. It’s two of the best soul voices in rock and roll on the same stage: Otis Redding and Eric Burdon of The Animals.
As awesome as these clips are they do pose some interesting questions. How is it that these British kids can so effortlessly and without a hint of self-consciousness affect a musical style and approach so foreign to them? In other words, how can these white kids get away with acting black? And make no mistake, they’re doing it and doing it justice. Is it because blacks do not make up the predominant minority in Britain and therefore there’s less racial strife? Is it because there’s little to no guilt associated with slavery and segregation (unlikely given the “No blacks, No Irish, No Dogs” signs adorning pubs at times)? Or are they just so cool that it simply doesn’t matter? They FEEL it.
I don’t know but these clips of Otis, Eric and fellow British soulman Chris Farlowe should be enough to get you through this cold December afternoon. Shake!
Watch Part 2 starring Otis below…