Song of the Day: Marlena Shaw, “California Soul”


“California Soul” was originally composed by Ashford & Simpson in 1967 and first released by The Fifth Dimension. However, it is arguably best known as one of Marlena Shaw’s most enduring hits. It was included on The Spice of Life from 1969. This was the vocalist’s final album for Cadet Records, after which she made the move to Blue Note Records. This version benefits from the work of Cadet’s genius house producers/arrangers and has shown a long-lasting influence. For example, it has been sampled in electronic music and hip-hop by such artists as DJ Shadow and Gang Starr. It has also been used in numerous commercials for various brands and in 2013, it appeared in the Grand Theft Auto V video game, played by the in-game radio station The Lowdown 91.1.

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