We all love Eric Clapton's leading riff in Sunshine of Your Love. And Hendrix did a passable cover too. But have you heard the version with no guitars?
Probably not, but let me tell you, your life has been all the poorer as a result -- Until now. Ralph 'Soul' Jackson's version of Sunshine Of Your Love the 1968 Cream hit, released a year later by Atlantic Records, the same label as Cream, shows how much raw energy and musical power can be translated from rock to soul with no loss.
How I came across this vinyl treasure is another story in itself.
Red Kelly, a blogger and soul music collector, took it upon himself to start ripping his old vinyl singles and putting them up on his blog because he knew they'd never make it to CD and most music fans would never get to hear them. He has several blogs dedicated to this passionate hobby, with "The B Side" being a treasure of lost vinyl (you guessed it) B-sides and "The Soul Detective" featuring stories and compilations of music by long-lost artists that he tracks down.
I stumbled across this in March when the Wall Street Journal (of all places) wrote about how bloggers are reviving obscure music.
Check out the sweet guitar sounds of James Hines, soul detective case number three. Hines, Born in Flushing, NY, was near-blind and worked as an auto mechanic and musician who produced some great tracks like "Can't Think Of Nothing (Blank Mind)" that would inspire any guitarist today. Or how about Roy "C" who had a string of hits like "Open Letter To The President," which stand up today better than the reputation of the Vietnam-era president he was writing to.
For anyone looking to flush out their musical knowledge, Red Kelly's web sites are a fantastic encyclopedia of songs, pictures, articles and obscure facts about great musicians. There's also a huge library of streaming music files (complete with scratchy vinyl sounds) and podcasts of songs for which copyrights have expired and which you will likely only ever see again in a Louisiana garage sale.
Also check out Roy C's open letter to the president and a preview of Chase Thompson's documentary film on YouTube.