I often enjoy Splice's musical commentary, and in particular the conversation starters that were Claire Taylor's and Zach Kaufmann's recent attempts to assist our readership in their amorous endeavors. But much as I appreciated the pair of Make-Out Playlists provided earlier this week in the abstract, concretely I couldn't help feeling a bit left out. Making out is fine for 50s greasers and adolescents necking at the point, but for those of us interested in that activity more intimately involving the part of the body Ghostface Killah once referred to as “sugar walls,” it doesn't quite do it.
To be honest, I was hesitant to write this article as I don't like the idea of masses of people being granted access to my hidden treasure trove of aural erotic inducements, but I felt like someone needs to speak for those masses of people who like to ball, and moreover, who like balling to a funky beat.
The following are not songs to make out to. They are not songs to hold hands to, they are not songs to picnic on a Sunday afternoon to, they are not songs to stroll down a moonlit beach to. These are songs to fuck to—you’ve been warned.
Also, it's a long playlist, because I'm a stud of a man.
"I Love The Way You Love Me" – Little Beaver
Start off with some heat. This 3:12 of Tabasco has been covered by a diverse crew of soul artists, mostly female (including this excellent rendition by the miraculous Betty Wright) but for my Euro the original from Miami-based Little Beaver is the best. Just be cool, we're only on 1 of 12.
"Make It Good To Me" – Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings
Really this entire list could be populated entirely by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, just Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings straight down the line. The justification of a woman throwing aside prudent judgment for an evening of physical intimacy with her philandering man, this track is the perfect musical encapsulation of the moment when one decides to go ahead and make a mistake. Interesting side note, Jones is a 300-pound 50 year-old ex-bus driver. But it's easy to forget that when you're listening.
"So Far To Go" – Common/J Dilla featuring Common and D'Angelo
There are a lot of hip hop tracks about screwing your bitch, but tragically few about making love to your lady—one of the stand outs is this ferocious effort from J Dilla's posthumous release The Shining. Containing the second-best verse ever ripped over a beat from Donuts (The first is Ghostface Killah's phenomenal performance on ("Whip You With A Strap," but that song is more appropriate to play while, well, beating your children) Common not only reminds us we used to love him but also lays down a track so lascivious it fought it's way onto a playlist properly reserved exclusively for soul and funk:
Let go and let me live inside you
what your mouth don't say baby your thighs do.
"Am-A-Do" – Bob Marley
A reminder of why Bob Marley is one of the singular musical talents in modern history, despite the best efforts of the washed out granola-eating hippies to steal him. If ever there was a more perfect paean to the possibility of sex leading to world peace and perfect happiness, my ears have not heard it.
"Be Real Black For Me" – Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
All right, I'll admit it—I love black women. I'm not ashamed. I'll scream it loud. But even if your tastes run more towards the melanin-challenged, you can't go wrong with this classic duet by legendary soul artists Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. From the opening riff (flipped famously for the beat from Scarface's "On My Block") to the silk-smooth vocals, this track functions as an anthem not only for my brothers and sisters of African descent, but for anyone who has ever glorified in the unique qualities of a lover's body. Although I will admit that it works better for my brothers and sisters of African descent.
"Maybe" – The Three Degrees
The raw passion of Helen Scott's vocal eruption during the last third of the track is uncanny, but more so is the three-and-a-half-minute spoken-word intro (ingeniously flipped by Dilla for "Hi"). Pause for a moment and catch your breath. You'll need it for the latter half of the list.
"Honey Dove" – Lee Fields and The Expressions
Don't play this song twice in a row or your head might explode. I'm serious. Be careful. North Carolina-based Soul King Lee Fields (one of the many good things coming off of the Truth And Soul label) has been helping people get down since the 70s and rocking an immaculate Jheri curl for the same length of time.
"Please, Please, Please" – James Brown
There's everyone else and then there's James Brown, who manages to will pop perfection out of inaudible grunts, half-words and the rhythmic hammering of repeating staccato syllables. Hold onto the bedframe.
"No Love As Sweet As Yours" – Johnny Jones
I grabbed this 7" on a whim once and thus can provide no information on the artist behind this musical Viagra, but you won't need a backstory once the vocals kick in.
"The Love I Need" – Ruby Andrews
Ruby Andrews is probably the most talented artist to ever be seduced by the siren's call of Scientology (and I'm aware of Beck's unfortunate penchant for alien-lizard ghosts.) Her vocals combine breathlessness and power so ingeniously it's a wonder she isn't more widely known.
"What A Man" – Linda Lyndell
Aretha's is the definitive, but personally I prefer this version by blue-eyes Soul Diva Linda Lyndell. A women's celebration of the extraordinary prowess of her lover, it echoes in the background every time I enter a room.
"Queen Bee" – Taj Mahal
If you made it this far you deserve something to cuddle to. Let this master of American roots music lull you and your baby off to dreamland with this syrup-sweet classic.
And that's more or less it folks. Toss it on your iPod, hit repeat if you're feeling really frisky and make sure to name any children after me.