Former Major General Michael Harrison: Rhythm and Blues

Former Major General Michael Harrison is transitioning from the military life to civilian life. He spent thirty-four years as a soldier in the United States Army before retiring from active duty in October of 2014.

As he weighs his options in the private sector, where he says his ideal job would be as an Executive Coach in a large, International firm, he is taking advantage of the opportunity to spend more time with his family. That is something that has been in short supply during his thirty-four years of honorable military service, when he was often away on training exercises or deployed. He is also catching up on his reading, watching as much football as he can, and enjoying listening to his favorite music; in particular rhythm and blues (Motown especially 60s-80s), gospel, and country music.

That period, as he knows, was one of the most active and inventive times in American popular music, and it spawned some of the great music of the modern era. Nowadays, the term “rhythm and blues” means most African American urban music, but Former Major General Michael Harrison has an affinity for the “60s-80s classics. No rhythm and blues collection would be complete, he says, without recordings by the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, the Dells, Four Tops, Manhattans, James Brown, Larry Graham, Etta James, Aaron Neville, and many songs by Marvin Gaye. I am also a big fan of the gospel greats such as The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, The Harmonizing Four, The Consolers, Elvis Presley (yes, he sang gospel), Candi Staton’s gospel renditions.

And then there is the music of such icons as Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Smoky Robinson, and the Johnny Taylor.

Music scholars often say that rhythm and blues was forged from the southern blues music brought north and blended with more sophisticated urban jazz. But Former Major General Michael Harrison just knows great music when he hears it.

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