17 November 2003
Do you like good music?
That sweet soul music?
Said Otis Redding in the liner notes of Arthur Conley's first album (Atco 33-215, 1967):
Arthur Conley is an original. Some people say he has a sound like Sam Cooke. That's partly true but Arthur doesn't try to imitate anyone, he's his own man. He's dynamic and he's an incredible showman.
Of course, Otis wanted Arthur to succeed; Redding produced that album, including its big hit "Sweet Soul Music". And that "sound like Sam Cooke" may be an oblique reference to the fact that "Sweet Soul Music" is basically an update of Sam's "Yeah Man" except that Sam keeps it sweet, while Arthur kicks out the jams.
Arthur Conley picked up eight more pop and R&B chart singles over the next three years, and eventually moved to Europe, where interest in American soul has never quite waned.
It was intestinal cancer that finally felled Arthur today. He was 57.
One used to be the Shotgun