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While this weekend’s Sharon Jones and the Dapkings shows have attracted the attention of this paper, the Washington Post’s Going Out Gurus, and NBC4’s online self-proclaimed music snob, listeners to Saturday blues and soul programming on WPFW and to quiet storm sounds on WHUR are hearing about a different soul show. The Mother’s Day Soul Jam Saturday night at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro features five classic ‘70s era soul acts—the Stylistics, Dramatics, The Manhattans, The Chi-Lites, and Cuba Gooding, Sr. & the Main Ingredient. I have seen them all in recent years at such locations as Constitution Hall, Fort Dupont, the Showplace Arena or Carter Barron, and my fave is the Stylistics.
Only two of the current members of this Philly combo may be original members, but in recent live appearances they still brilliantly captured the original outfit’s high notes lead with backing harmony technique. Expect the current incarnation to smoothly step back and forth onstage in cleverly choreographed fashion and wow the audience with versions of such r’n’b hits of theirs as “Stop, Look, Listen (to Your Heart),” “Break Up to Make Up,” and “Betcha by Golly Wow.” Their brightly colored, matching throwback suits will help capture the past as well. While it may not be like hearing them in 1970, seeing them live even this many years later helps add to my appreciation of what they accomplished. Less raucous than the late ’60s feel Sharon Jones goes for, but it still sounds good.
“Mother’s Day Soul Jam” Saturday May 9 at 8 p.m. at the Showplace Arena,14900 Pennsylvania Ave, Upper Marlboro, MD