Friday Random Ten: Blue-Eyed Soul Week

White guys don’t get nearly enough credit for their contributions to Africa America. I’m mostly being serious.

We all know – or should know – about John Brown. But what about Henry Moscowitz? Branch Rickey? The white guys who broke bread with Malcolm X in Mecca? Ronald Reagan? Jerry Heller?

And President Jimmy Carter, who had the good sense to designate June as Black Music Month. Probably because it’s a good month for a barbecue.

So to honor all of the contributions of our Caucasian brothers and sisters to the genre of “black music,” we’re starting off small like Carter G. Woodson.

A week today. A month tomorrow.

Because behind every good black man or woman, is a white man or woman who’s coming up with all the ideas, calling all the shots and making all the money.

Let’s go:

1. “They Don’t Know” by Jon B (Blackink)

2. “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers (Shani-o)

3. “I’ll be Watching You” by The Police (Belleisa)

4. “Shake Your Rump” by Beastie Boys (Jamelle)

5. “Open Your Eyes” by Bobby Caldwell (slb)

6. “Today” by Tom Scott (G.D.)

7. “Holding Back The Years” by Simply Red (Blackink)

8. “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai (Shani-o)

9. “Natural Woman” by Carole King (Belleisa)

10. “Informer” by Snow (Jamelle)

Who else should get a ticket onto the honorary Soul Train?

Submissions, criticism and/or effusive praise all should go in the usual place. Enjoy the weekend.


Joel Anderson —blackink —  writes about sports, politics, crime, courts, and other issues far beyond his competence at BuzzFeed. He has worked at media outlets in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Atlanta and contributed to a number of publications, including The Root and The American Prospect, among many others.
  • Hall & Oates –“Sara Smile”

  • Val

    Bobby Caldwell: What you Won’t do for Love
    Amy Winehouse: Rehab, You Know I’m No Good,
    Hall & Oates: I Can’t Go For That, She’s Gone
    Teena Marie: Square Biz, Behind The Groove
    Robin Thicke: Lost Without You

  • MikeCee

    I must live in a closet. I had no idea Bobby Caldwell is white.

    • Val

      A lot of people didn’t/ don’t know Caldwell is White. In fact his record company initially hid the fact that he was White because they thought it would help get him airplay on R&B stations. One of the things they did was only putting a silhouette of him on his album cover.

      • wow. this is news to me as well.

  • No Dusty Springfield, Teena Marie or the Average White Band? Hmm…

    And Matisyahu > Snow any day of the week, I’m just sayin’….

    • I gotta agree with Michael in LA. Also, I gotta throw in some love for Annie Lennox (in the Eurythmics or solo) and Van Morrison.

    • blackink

      We talked over Teena Marie AND Michael McDonald but no one was willing to sponsor them this week. But Lisa Stansfield got damn close to cracking the top 10.

      • Robin Thicke. Also too.

    • April

      Snow over Teena Marie, Lisa Stansfield, Dusty Springfield, and Michael McDonald? -10.

      • blackink

        Jamelle has some obligations to fulfill for that pick. We’ll leave it at that.

  • Mudiwa

    Uuuum, Michael McDonald! Y’all just don’t know.

  • mimikota

    It never dawned on me that Bobby was white. Wow.

  • K

    Jamie Lidell. Don’t sleep!

  • Eric Clapton in any number of stages of his career, from work with the Yardbirds through his intense engagement with some of Hendrix’s work (including the cover of Little Wing recorded just before Hendrix’s death) and, of course, in his solo career, the release of his Bob Marley cover of “I Shot the Sherriff,” which I recall being derided as a ripoff (and as I was living in London at the time, and had already received a more-than-double shot of Marley, believed it to be so), but at the same time brought Marley’s music to a lot of people.

    • blackink

      On wikipedia, of all places, I saw Eric Clapton mentioned under the category of “blue-eyed soul” artists and kind of did a double-take. But of course, that has more to do with my own unfamiliarity with his work than whether it was the right call.

      Point being, I should probably make myself more familiar with his work.

  • Nobody was willing to stand up for Teena Marie but Lisa… Stansfield almost made the list?

    *shakes head, opens mouth to speak, realizes he is an oldhead, closes mouth*

  • There is no way that Lady T is not on this list. By the way, saw her at a no-frills benefit concert in Los Angeles a few months back. She still sounds great. Also, several peeps have mentioned AWB out of Scotland. They get my nod. School Boy Crush is one of the greatest “blue-eyed” jams of all time. kzs

    • blackink

      Teena Marie “still sounds great”? C’mon, now. Really?

      • Really tho’. Bet you can’t hold a note :O)

      • Yeah, she still does. She has regular gigs in the LA area and puts on a hellva show. Don’t sleep…

  • LaJane Galt

    David Bowie – Young Americans
    Michael McDonald

  • Seth

    If you want to know where it all started, you have to go back to the 40’s with Johnny Otis. As bandleader, the man practically invented modern R&B with his revolving crew of young singers and musicians (Charles Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, Jackie Wilson, Hank Ballard, and many others). Born in Oakland, but headlining the biggest clubs in South Central Los Angeles, he is married to a Black woman and their son, Shuggie Otis, was the original writer and performer of the classic “Strawberry Letter 23.” He is the original and ultimate Blue-Eyed Soul artists. I’m also partial to Jon B.