The Rich, Dark, Psychedelic 70s Soul of Norman FeelsThe Rich, Dark, Psychedelic 70s Soul of Norman Feels

Inspiration

The Rich, Dark, Psychedelic 70s Soul of Norman Feels

Despite his 1973 self-titled debut turning into a sought-after funk/soul record, little is known about Norman Feels. But his legacy lives on through sampling by the likes of No I.D., 88-Keys, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, and Mobb Deep’s Havoc.

By

Tracklib

·

July 20, 2022

“Behind Norman's floating (and extremely soulful) voice hides a dark and almost psychedelic instrumentation that makes this album particularly unique,” the liner notes of a reissue of Norman Feels’ 1973 debut record explain. The album was originally released on Just Sunshine Records, home to the late Betty Davis, The Fabulous Rhinestones, jazz-fusion band Stuff, and The Voices of East Harlem.

The music on the sophomore album Where or When in 1974 was slightly less heavy and dark. All music was arranged by David Van dePitte, aside from two covers on the album: “Where or When” by songwriting duo Rodgers & Hart and “Till You Come Back to Me” by Stevie Wonder. Arranger and bass player Van dePitte was most known for his work for Motown Records during the 60s and 70s and for his arrangements on Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Production duties on Where or When were handled by Sal Scaltro, who managed The Voices of East Harlem in the early 70s; the Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield produced gospel/soul vocal group as sampled by Kanye WestHudson Mohawke, among others.

norman feels vinyl record photography

"[On 'Where or When,'] fans of Norman’s debut will also hear the rich instrumentation and that dark psychedelic feeling they came to love…"

—Tidal Waves Music (liner notes for the 2020 reissue of 'Where or When')

“Next to Norman Feels’ fascinating writing skills and trademark voice [on Where or When] you’ll find intriguing (and at times scary) themes about love, obsession, sadness…all wrapped in a looming, jazzy atmosphere complete with sharp lyrics (touching on subjects that were pretty controversial at the time),” writes Tidal Waves Music. “Fans of Norman’s debut will also hear the rich instrumentation and that dark psychedelic feeling they came to love…”

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