I love finding new music styles to explore and share with you. And during a recent visit to one of my favourite record shops I was introduced to a genre called ‘yacht soul’. Many of you will be familiar with the ‘yacht rock’ music style, but like myself you may not have encountered yacht soul yet.
So, let’s have a look at this style and see if I can inspire you to add some to your DJ music library.
The record shop I visited has a pair of Technics turntables and a mixer set up for DJs and customers to play the vinyl they own or have just bought. This ensures visitors hear an eclectic mix of music and, on the day of my visit, there was a DJ playing a selection of tracks that really caught my ear. The songs he played were familiar but they were cover versions performed by huge recording artists and produced with a soulful vibe.
After his short set I spoke with the DJ and he kindly introduced me to the world of yacht soul. Whilst he played a solid mixture of songs from this genre, I was particularly interested in the cover versions: tracks like ‘You Might Need Somebody’ by Turley Richards, ‘What A Fool Believes’ by Aretha Franklin, ‘Summer Breeze’ by Main Ingredient and ‘Everywhere’ by Chaka Khan, the latter a stunning version of the Fleetwood Mac classic. (The latter is one of my favourite tracks performed by one of my favourite singers – perfect!)
Yacht soul differs slightly from yacht rock in that the sound is more soulful, with lighter disco elements, and features artists who are known for that style of music, including Kool & The Gang, Pointer Sisters, Sly & The Family Stone, and George McRae. There are also brilliant tracks from artists like Wings, Blondie and Toto that fit perfectly into the yacht soul vibe thanks to their soul-disco sound.
I’ve personally enjoyed adding a selection of yacht soul tracks to the early part of my sets, mixing up tracks with other styles including lounge and bar grooves, soul sessions and other mid-tempo tracks, creating a stylish DJ set for my guests ahead of the main party.
Yacht soul is infectious to the ear and I’m sure you and your audiences will enjoy hearing some of this unique genre as part of your sets this summer and beyond!
1 \\ Once I Had A Love (aka the Disco Song) – Blondie
2 \\ Minute By Minute – Peabo Bryson
3 \\ God Only Knows – Betty Everett
4 \\ What A Fool Believes – Aretha Franklin
5 \\ This Is It (pt.2) – Millie Jackson
6 \\ Takin' It To The Streets – Quincy Jones, Gwen Guthrie, Luther Vandross
7 \\ Everywhere – Chaka Khan
8 \\ You Don't Have To Change – Kool & the Gang
9 \\ Summer Breeze – Main Ingredient
10 \\ You Can Have It All – George McRae
11 \\ Let 'Em In – Billy Paul
12 \\ Lazy Nina – Greg Phillinganes
13 \\ Dirty Work – Pointer Sisters
14 \\ It's Gonna Be Lonely – Prince
15 \\ You Can't Change That – Raydio
16 \\ You Might Need Somebody – Turley Richards
17 \\ You Belong To Me – Carly Simon
18 \\ Ha Haa, He Hee – Sly & the Family Stone
19 \\ Georgy Porgy (Disco Version) – Toto with Cheryl Lynn
20 \\ Arrow Through Me – Wings
You can legally download all of these tracks from:
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 114, Pages 70-71.