"California Soul" Performed by The Fifth Dimension (1968), Marlena Shaw (1969) & Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell (1969)

November 20, 2008


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The 5th Dimension – California Soul (1969 Charted #49 R&B & #25 Pop)

Recorded in 1968 for their “Stone Soul Picnic” album on Buddah records, “California Soul” was the third hit single released from the LP after “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness”. This classic set charted #10 R&B and #21 Pop and showcased the fabulous harmonies of the group.

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Marlena Shaw – California Soul (1969)

Jazz vocalist Marlena Shaw covered this Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson song for her 1969 “Spice of Life” LP on the Cadet label. I could find no record of the song or the album charting but BOTH the song and the LP are classic IMHO. Don’t you think so too?

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Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – California Soul (1969)

This Motown cover is from the duo’s third and final LP “Easy.”  It’s highest rating was only #184 on Billboard’s pop album chart but I still love this set and the “CS” cover.

It wasn’t until very recently that I learned that, since this LP was completed during Miss Terrell’s illness, some of the vocals on some of the songs were sung by Valerie Simpson. Upon closer listening I can hear the difference, but nevertheless I like the entire album and this song is definitely blessed with the Motown sound.

Please enjoy the music and then vote on which you prefer below.

sondanyr2

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Filed under:Buddah,Cadet,California Soul,Marlena Shaw,Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell,Motown Covers Pop,Motown/Tamla,Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson,Pop/Jazz,Pop/R&B,Sixties,The 5th Dimension

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carl November 23, 2008 at 10:02 am

Sondan,

First of all, let me say that I Love your blog, passion, musical knowledge, selections and personal tidbits. It makes all of us old school lovers proud and I appreciate you educating all of us as you entertain us as well.

I enjoyed the “California Soul” triple play and learned a few things as well. It felt good to hear, reflect and appreciate the varying versions, all classic in their own way. My vote goes for the 5th dimension, but I feel somewhat guilty passing on Marvin & Tammi!

Keep up the excellent work!

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2 sondan November 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm

OMG Carl,

I am humbled and thankful for your compliments. I started out doing this for me and am both somewhat surprised and really thrilled that other OSMLs out there understand and appreciate where I am coming from.

Your blog “Grown Folks Music” looks smashing as well. This is one of the best parts of blogging — having other bloggers that share the passion for music find me and vice versa.

Luckily there is a holiday weekend coming up. I plan to catch up on my blog reading on “Black Friday.” Between work,the blog, and other life issues, I have not had as much time to read other music blogs as I would like. But yours is going to be high on my list along with some of the other great bloggers I have met here and I shall be adding you to my blogroll as well. I really, really liked what I saw on my first (albeit short) visit and am I am so honored to be on your blogroll.

I am going to wait a while before I reveal my favorite version of “California Soul.” Wanting to hear more reader opinions.

Thank you for checking in and my wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving go out to you and your loved ones. Be sure to give thanks for the oldies and all of the artists responsible for their creation!

SonDan

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3 AdR November 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm

The original version is lacking, and for good reason, probably: it was the b-side to the Neil-Diamondesque single Window shopping by The Messengers, 1967.
A great single in its own right, but a strange choice for the Motown label it was (R. Dean Taylor had written the a-side, which explains I suppose).

Of these “black” versions I prefer Marlena Shaw´s, can be no doubt about that!
Nice to be back here, btw… :-)

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4 AdR November 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Just to be sure, with Neil-Diamondesque I mean the Neil Diamond of 1967, not the IMO unbearable crooner of later days…

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