As one-time Drifter Roy G Hemmings says, there’s a very good reason soul music is called soul music.
“It’s comes straight from the heart,” says Roy who brings his Dictionary Of Soul show to Chichester’s Real Ale And Jazz Festival this summer.
“It’s music from the soul. It’s as simple as that.”
Roy, the longest-serving former member of The Drifters, is regarded as one of soul’s great showmen; and he’ll be giving it his all in Chichester.
“I was with The Drifters for 15 years. It was a fantastic time. We went to the White House when President Clinton was there. It was absolutely amazing. He is a great guy. I personally like the guy. He’s got a great personality. We went to the White House in 95 and then we did a fund-raiser for him the following year.”
Everywhere, the music gets a great response: “The background was the rock and roll era, and The Drifters songs were songs that people grew up with, and the songs grew up with people. You look at the subject matter, and it’s just the same - people feel it.
“Soul is about the way it is sung. It’s about the feeling that the guys put into the song. Otis Redding is one of my all-time favourites. He has got that pleading in his voice, and then you come up to date with The Temptations and other bands. That’s what soul music is about. It has got to come from the heart.”
For the Dictionary Of Soul show, Roy draws on his Drifters past, but also ranges much more widely.
Roy enjoyed major success when he signed a recording deal with Magnet Records in the mid- 70s with the JALN Band, one of the first bands to storm the British charts with the dance record Disco Music, I Like It, produced by Pete Waterman.
Expect some of it to feature in Chichester. Expect too songs made famous by stars including James Brown, Jackie Wilson, The O-Jays, and other soul legends.
Higher and Higher, My Girl, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, Under the Boardwalk, Stand By Me, Save the Last Dance for Me, and Love Train will be among the numbers.
“The show is full of timeless songs.”
This year’s line-up for the Real Ale And Jazz Festival in Priory Park is
The evenings 7-11pm: Friday, July 1 - ASWAD with The Selecter; Saturday, July 2 - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel with Alvin Stardust as support; Friday, July 8 - The Dictionary Of Soul featuring Sing Baby Sing; and Saturday, July 9 - The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The afternoons 1-5pm: Saturday, July 2 - The Jazz Smugglers with Turnaround; and Satuday, July 9 - King Pie with Turnaround. The programme for the RPO will include Holst’s I Vow to Thee, My Country, Suppé’s Light Cavalry Overture, Parry’s Jerusalem, Verdi’s La Traviata, Sempre libera, Arne’s Rule Britannia, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1. Conductor: Stephen Bell. Soprano: Rebecca Bottone.
Tickets are available on http://www.chichester-rajf.com. The organisers have got tickets they are happy to give away to charities for use as raffle prizes. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.