Educating Peter # 20

November 4, 2012

Michael’s suggestion this week is unusual for two reasons:

1) it’s an Australian song (something Michael hadn’t suggest until now); and

2) I know it very well.

The song is “Soul Kind Of Feeling” by the Dynamic Hepnotics. Being a straight-up soul song, it was so unlike anything else on Australian radio in 1984 that I remembered hearing it and wondering why on Earth it would be seen anywhere near the charts. This little bit o’ soul was so unfashionable in the mid-80s that it sounded like a novelty song in amongst all the New Romantic synth pop, glam metal, moody Gothic mopers etc.

I also thought at the time that for a soul song, it was pretty wet. (Muscle Shoals it ain’t.)

When “Soul Kind Of Feeling” went up and up the charts and planted itself at number five, I came to the conclusion: “Yep – people must think it’s a novelty song.”

And when Michael told me that this week’s song is “Soul Kind Of Feeling” I immediately remembered the horn riff and the vocal melody. (Once those two tunes are in your head, they don’t go away in a hurry – even if, like me, you haven’t heard the song in about 30 years.)

Even now, before I press “play” and write some inane comments about the song, those two tunes are still sitting in my head, and I can hear them very clearly.

Dynamic Hepnotics – “Soul Kind Of Feeling (1984)

A Note About The Video Before I Get To The Song:

When I had a quick look at the beginning of the video for “Soul Kind Of Feeling”, almost everything in it reminded me of Dexy’s Midnight Runners‘ “Geno“:

I guess it was the jackets, sunglasses, horn section, syncopated rhythm, and both bands playing in small spaces.

But that’s distracting me from the song itself. (Trivia: One of my report cards from school was very accurate. The teacher had written: “Peter is easily distracted.” If Malcolm wasn’t my middle name, I’d go for “Easily Distracted”)

0:00-0:09 – Yep. It’s as wet as I remembered it. (It’s not the grittiest bit of soul I’ve ever heard.)

0:09-0:15 – Ah, there’s the horn riff. It’s exactly as catchy as it was 28 years ago. It’s now going to be stuck in my head all day. Gah!

0:15-0:20 – This will be stuck in my head too. Gah!

0:15-0:20 (continued) – And probably the backing singers the way they sing “Sooooouuul – Yeah!”

0:20-0:23 – And back to that catchy horn riff. This band sure knows how to pummel you with a couple of catchy tunes.

0:23-0:30 – More of the same. Vocals, horns, catchiness.

0:30-0:46 – The rhythm section is continuing what it’s been playing all along (I wonder if the drummer and bass player were bored when they recorded their parts for the song), but the singer and the horn section are doing something different (and not as catchy). The vocals in this section are reminding me of how not-very-soul this soul song is. Maybe it’s a little unfair of me to compare “Soul Kind Of Feeling” to the entire recorded output of Atlantic Records, but as I’m listening to the song that’s what I’m thinking of.

0:46-1:01 – Back to the catchy vocals ‘n’ horns. Pummel, boys, pummel!

0:46-1:01 (Part 2) – You know, there’s really not much more to this song than those two catchy tunes.

1:01-1:17 – This is the different part of the song again. If I remember correctly, there’ll be a middle eight coming up soon.

1:17-1:47 – There it is.

1:47-1:49 – At the end of that enjoyable middle eight is a good drum fill. No, it’s more than that. It’s an unbelievably good drum fill.

1:49-2:05 – Back to the main part of the song. Catchy, catchy, catchy, catchy.

2:05-2:20 – Oh, another middle eight. I’d forgotten about this one. I think it fits in well at this point in the song, with its insistent rhythms and the singer promising it will “take you higher, higher, higher”.

2:20-2:36 – Back to the main part of the song – Again. This song doesn’t let up.

2:36-2:40 – A little instrumental interlude with bongos. Why not?

2:40-3:54 – And a cruise to the end of the song, featuring extemporisation from the singer. He’s “moving with the beat” a few times, and then asking pertinent, soul-related question such as “Can you feel it baby”, “Don’t it feel alright now” etc before launching to some falsetto wailings as the song fades relaxedly.

Footnote and Question:

I was conversing with a friend the other day (Hi, Stephen!), and I told him that my favourite British singer (not having the initials P.McC. or J.L.) is Paul Carrack. I then mentioned “Don’t Shed A Tear” as an example of Paul’s singing:

This leads me to the following question:

Why doesn’t someone suggest “Don’t Shed A Tear” for Educating Peter?

I think it’s a great song, and I am more than willing to say how great it is analyse it impartially.

And then I could mention Paul’s singing in Ace‘s sublime “How Long“:

And then I could mention Paul singing “How Long” on one of those morning television programs:

Is anyone willing to suggest “Don’t Shed A Tear”?

Or is that cheating, because it’s a song the suggester didn’t think of themselves?