Vintage Varietals: 20 R&B Jams To Slow Your Roll : All Songs Considered Kool & the Gang, Chaka Khan and Roberta Flack all know: a slinky, slow groove is essential to keeping your cool.
NPR logo Vintage Varietals: 20 R&B Jams To Slow Your Roll

Vintage Varietals: 20 R&B Jams To Slow Your Roll

This playlist knows that a slinky, slow groove is essential to keeping your cool

These mid-'70s R&B jams lay low and hide in the shade. Eslah Attar & Samantha Clark/NPR hide caption

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Eslah Attar & Samantha Clark/NPR

These mid-'70s R&B jams lay low and hide in the shade.

Eslah Attar & Samantha Clark/NPR

Summer heat is a challenge to keeping your cool: it's hard to slow down and not lose your rhythm, your temper, your style. When the temperature crawls up, and the humidity just kinda hangs there, you need music that can help you hang in there with it, not fight it. Ambient music is no match for the heat — groove is essential.

So open a fine vintage roséwave varietal: mid-'70s R&B, the music made at the birth of the blush wine. Every important band of the era found room between thundering funk and disco to record songs that lay low and hide in the shade, all while sustaining a slinky, slow groove. These 20 tracks are packed with flutes, strings, Moogs, and Fender Rhodes electric pianos, but the bands restrain themselves, take their time. If you hurry in this heat, you might get hurt. Conserve your energy so you can pounce when it's time.