Tuesday 23 June 2015

John Blair's Mystical Soul in 1971 [no download, but check this outrageously good track]

Mostly again consisting of cover versions of songs that really didn't need to be stolen, such as The Beatles' Golden Slumbers (one of my favourite lullabies to sing to my children, god bless McCartney) and Ooh Child, that anthem of black resistance of the sixties, there is one self-penned song that just knocked me over like a baseball bat when I heard it, recalling the best soulful singers like Bill Withers, the reverend Al Green, etc., called Sometimes a Man:

There are two more tracks he composed on side b which are distinctly inferior.  What was the setting for this wonderful composition, his apology to his girlfriend for a mistake of infidelity?  I don't know, but as a true artist must, he created out of pain and soul a piece of utter beauty that every human being in the world should hear.  I hate to get into details when the actual melody combined with the heartfelt lyrics are so gorgeous, but notice how artfully the acoustic guitar adds arpeggiated interest in the right channel with the rhodes piano on the left, at least until the string section overcrowds the sound.

Quickly, from discogs, a bit about this man:

Violinist & guitarist born November 8th 1943 Toledo, Ohio. Dr. John Blair grew up in California and began taking violin lessons as a child, graduating with honors from Lincoln High School in San Diego in 1961. Blair became a heavy academic, holding degrees from Eastman and Curtis conservatories. He even founded a school (The Universal Natural System). He is most known for inventing the Vitar, an acoustic combination of violin and guitar. He was featured on many jazz funk in the early 70's and released a few sought after psych-funk releases on Mercury, Columbia and CTI. 
During the 80's he disappeared off the map never to return. 
He died June 3rd 2006 of Heart failure in New York, NY.

RIP John, I wish your song could live forever since it is not allowed for us humans...


  1. Mystical Soul indeed! What a song - it just wraps itself around you and you can feel the aching sense of loss and longing down to your bones. When you compare this to the insipid, bland synthetic dross that passes for vocalists these days, you can't help but feel you have woken up on a different planet.

    I found some good info and anecdotes in the comments about the man over here:


    The only rip I could find of the 1976 Southern Love album by him was on a long defunct blog, though the great disco/funk blog Beat Electric posted a 12 inch he released in the early eighties, produced by Roy Ayers (the instrumental track is the superior side, sadly, in my opinion) but well worth checking out (also the blog post has some interesting info):


    He actually sounds like a really interesting human being - singer, academic, musical instrumental inventor - exactly the kind of person the planet should be taking their inspiration from instead of the tired parade of simulated human beings, the media call 'celebrities' these days.

    Brilliant post, Julian, from the first bars of the track, I just knew it was going to be one of those incredibly special songs.

    1. It's fantastic to know someone actually agrees with me-- about the music,
      and I totally agree with everything you said about him as a person.

  2. wow brought all his stuff in the 70s didnt know about this one thanks for sharing this one