Final repost (for now) from the always insightful History is Made at Night blog.
‘The extent to which the music is integrated with the literal meaning in soul is apparent in some of its basic stylistic conventions, the call and response structure, for instance, where a phrase from the lead vocalist – which may not even take a verbal shape – is as often echoed by the band as by other singers. Or the distinctive use of melisma – the concentration of several notes into one syllable – by soul performers. The effect of this technique is often to give the impression that the singer is none too sure that the words exist which could adequately convey the power of what he is feeling. When Jackie Wilson packs more than twenty notes into the word “for” in his version “Danny Boy“, the literal meaning of the song is virtually superseded’ (Ian Hoare, Mighty mights spade and whitey: soul lyrics and black-white crosscurrents, in The Soul Book, edited by Ian Hoare, London: 1975)
Check out the closing bars of this song for the example given – 20 notes for the word ‘for’:
- Jackie Wilson: “To Be Loved” (davidjmarkowitzmusic.wordpress.com)
- Oversouling (schott.blogs.nytimes.com)
- JACKIE WILSON – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me)”HIGHER AND HIGHER” (joetroiano.wordpress.com)