Eric Burdon said that his only motive at the height of the Animals success was ‘getting his point across’. He had something to say; something more important than chart success, girls or popularity.
Having something to say, and needing to say it, seems to be the cornerstone of the great soul singers; it produces an intensity that leads to great work. It’s this intensity that can also lead to personal and relationship challenges (Simone, Gaye, Joe Cocker, etc.).
But where, exactly, does this point, and the subsequent intensity, come from? Does a soul artist sing about experiences which have happened to them, or do they subconsciously create them (“all kill their inspiration and sing about their grief”).
Daniel James, seems like a man with something to say; strip back the Fugazi/ White Stripes sound of Leopold and you are left with a soul man and a hammond organ- not too unlike Burdon infact. James spends his evening staring at the crowd just as much as they stare at him- but he holds the gaze- this is unlike any frontman I’ve seen before. He’s looking for something. He’s wanting to connect. He’s wanting to get his point across.
Being present in a room when someone is telling the truth, a truth that perhaps isn’t comfortable, gives you chills. This is chilling stuff.
This man has serious soul. I just hope he’s careful with it.