Old School Soul Music Come Alive at the Greek Theatre

Peaches & Herb perform at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles during the 70s Soul Jame concert. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
Peaches & Herb perform at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles during the 70s Soul Jam concert. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

LOS ANGELES-Good music never fades away. Old-fashion harmonious singing by groups like the Stylistics can’t be replaced. All those slick dance steps performed on stage by the Intruders is hard to duplicate. Collaborative duets with the musical pedigree of Peaches & Herb are a rarity these days.  And you can’t substitute the driving funk Rolls Royce used to produce.

Old school music is all about romance and over-the-top serenading. It reminds us all about the love and the possibility of love. It is something about that kind of music that brings us back down memory lane and reminisce about “Wishing on a Star”  and  think about how “Everybody Plays The Fool.”  It gets you thinking about how “I’m Stone in Love With You” and makes you recall that “We Go a Long Way Back.”

This kind of music is something that can’t get out of your system as the 70s Soul Jam concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles illustrated. It never get old. It get only gets better with time. Well, time has certainly passed on the likes of Barbara Lewis, the Intruders, Bloodstone, Peaches & Herb, Rolls Royce and the Stylistics.

Today’s generation of music lovers tend to go the way of the uptempo techno and the cool breeze of hip hop and rap music. It is a classic clash of different styles and different forms of music. Universally, music is music. But sitting under the fading sunset amid a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic old-school music lovers, listening to the sounds of the 70s era recall a time when romance took precedent over sex.

It was a musical period when you could imagine what it felt like to love and be in love rather than listening to lyrics that leaves little or nothing to the imagination. Those singers didn’t  sing about driving the car straight into the garage.  They had lyrical conversations about parking the car, opening the door for your significant other and treating her like a lady.

Cuba Gooding Sr. and The Main Ingredients were part of the 70s Soul Jam. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman
Cuba Gooding Sr. and The Main Ingredient were part of the 70s Soul Jam. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman

The very first time I listened to Lewis’ hit ballad “Baby, I’m Yours,” I was hooked on its lyrical journey of giving yourself to somebody else. Actually that particular song, which Lewis performed at the end of her set, is as endearing of a love song as there has ever been.

Speaking of sets, all the acts on the show’s billing couldn’t really unleash all of their songs they may have wanted to as time constraints limited the performers. With the exception of the the Stylistics, all the other performers were on short time increments to do their thing on stage. The groups made it work, giving those in attendance a show worth their money.

Lewis tantalized the crowd by flipping off her shoes before launching into “Baby, I” Yours” and earning a  standing ovation.

The Intruders, best known for their mega single,”Cowboys to Girls,” came on the stage with their orange mellon suits on and moved with impeccable precision as the group belted out some of their best hits. Peaches & Herb gave everyone a much slower performance, dialing down their energy to sing songs such as “Reunited.” Peaches &  Herb may have slowed it down, but Cuba Gooding Sr. and The Main Ingredient picked it right back up.

Gooding is like the energizer bunny that won’t stop. After watching the senior Gooding light up the Greek Theatre with his boisterous and demonstrative antics, it is easy to see the similarities between himself and his Academy Award-winning son, Cuba Gooding Jr. After listening  to Bloodstone, Rolls Royce and Brenton Wood, the audience sat in eager anticipation for the the Stylistics to hit the stage to close out the show.

They didn’t disappoint. Going through their long string of hits, including “Hurry up This Way Again,”You Are Everything,”Betcha By Golly, Wow” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” the Stylistics gave a show that made you want to curl up under the one you love and concede to an evening of romantic thoughts and pleasure. That’s what old school music does.

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