FEATURE . __
Battle 3 Barry ite. walrus ol
Lenny Henry as Theophilus P. Wildebeeste, pope of grape.
s v \ 4" t, i» ‘C - _ AlexanderO'Neal. needing youtonight. Well. right nOW. actually.
! his error illustrates the sheer humane force behind the musical form. Spirituality comes . first. and the physical exertions are simply a means to a defined end. A form which began
' as a repudiation of society's enforced physical labours in the slave's narrative song
I now uses the idea of physical strain as a sexual innuendo. To uplift the soul. the body
I has to become involved. The soul song.
l languidly composingitselfthen rhythmically
building up to a sweat-sodden climax.
mimics the act of love-making to a tee. Look at Alexander ()‘Neal‘s face when he‘s hitting those high notes. Where have you seen that expression before?
respective 'sexiness'. So who‘s the stereotype? . Tom Jones’ co-manager insists that ‘we don't want to encourage the cartoon-like aspect of Tom’s character'. but it's in the cartoon-like escape from harsh reality that a considerable part ofthe appeal
reality. extremely sophisticated and calculated: the reassuring. pleading. syrupy tones: the ‘baby-talk’ mode of address preferred in the soul song: ()‘Neal‘s
designer suits. in their way as lavish and luxurious (and daft) as White‘s flared tux and Jones The Voice‘s medallion. As the silk ofthis art form lies.
kerchiefmops and soothes the troubled 5 Ultimately. it‘s the healing pmwr “How.
i performer's brow. so the soul song wants to : maybe an elevated passion after all —
i mop your troubles away. These men are engaged with on a sexual. physical level.
big-daddy father figures and the image. that soul music as rendered by ()‘Neal and which has become an archetype. has to fit — co. relies upon for enduring appeal and witness the outcry (almost wholly from the effect. Sexual l lealing is itself a metaphor — black community) when Bowie became the not about sex parse. but about making love first white artist to star on US television‘s as a way of restoring and resurrecting the
Soul Train. The face didn‘t fit. and we are all spirit. So convinced was Barry White of soul
more C0mf0rtilblc With SICFCOI}'PCS- 11121 music‘s redemptive power that he spent part ‘ Comic Relic/phone poll. Tom Jones only of the 70s believing himself to be the son of just pipped Theo Wildebeeste to the post (30d (check out his album sleeve notes for Alexander () '.\'ca/p/ays I/n' Play/muse. Edinburgh on Friday 5.
when Viewers were asked to vote on proof). White was mistaken (we hope) but
._._ . - ..- ..-_._ . .__.. _ ._ ,_ ,, _J The List 5 — is April 1991-11