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Southern Soul Corner September 2014

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Corner Talk: There has not been quite as many new Soul singles as usual popping up in my email over the past month. From an album perspective, we are seeing several sets of  'second time around' material being re-issued, which is perfectly fine, gives those who missed the songs originally another shot at hearing (and buying) them. Case(s) in point: Charles Wilson's 2 On 1: Pay Myself First & That Girl Belongs To Me, a combined two album set covering what was previously released in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Stan Mosley has 2 On 1: Man Up & I'm Comin' Back, which were releases in 2008 and 2009, with 20 solid tracks. Outstanding songwriter and producer Carl Marshall is out there with 27 tunes in  Songs People Love The Most, Volume 1 & 2,  previously released in 2006 and 2011............'Greatest Hits' type releases are hot right now as well. We reviewed The Best Of Carl Sims here at the Corner last month and (see below) we are reviewing David Brinston's Ecko Records Two Way Love Affair & Other Hits this month. Also see the review on Jim Bennett's Southern Soul Highway: The Essential Jim Bennett which contains 14 of his best works. Another couple that were  just released: Tucka, right on the heels of his recent drop of Groove City comes Tucka's Greatest Hits  and the late great Floyd Taylor's 'Bout It 'Bout It: All Of Me Deluxe with 12 of his best plus 5 previously unreleased tunes......

 

A few new singles of note that are jumpin' off are definitely worth talking about. Nellie 'Tiger' Travis - we just reviewed her latest album Nellie Sings The Blues  in last month's Corner. Her new single, however, was not on the album. The Floyd Hamberlin written Cold Feet explodes with Ms. Tiger singing it!!............Nelson Curry from North Augusta, SC is the front man for the highly successful outfit known as Klass Band Brotherhood. He has also ventured out to sing with other individuals as well as recording some on his own. Nelson's latest drop is entitled Love On Me, a sure fire hit for tha Sugaa Shack Man!..........Just received a new single from a group known as the Just Right Band. Their groove is entitled  I Want More, with both radio and club mix versions included...........The title track plus another tune was in the email just this past week from Richmond, VA's Big G. Yellow Ribbon is the big man's latest album, dropped in late August, it contains 12 tracks - we will do a review on it in next month's edition.............

 

Back in our May edition, we talked about a singer from way down south by the name of Pokey. Well, two of his songs are hooked up on a funky trail ride album with some cats known at the Louisiana Blues Brothas. Their release of Love On The Bayou features 14 tracks with guest appearances from Tucka, J-Wonn and Tyree Neal as well as Pokey.........With his advance single, Southside, rising on the charts, Grady Champion's latest album that includes the hit track, titled Bootleg Whiskey, had a September 2nd scheduled release date and should now be available ...........There is a new young gun out of Chicago with a true voice making some noise in the genre. Theo Huff released his first album, Now Is The Time, in June of this year.........Veteran Soul man Willie Clayton has a forthcoming album, Untamable, scheduled for release the first week of October,  which is planned to be all new material.............

 

It is always sad to note the passing of another of our fine artists in Southern Soul. Such is the case with Joe 'Poonanny' Burns, who passed on August 27th. The Alabama native worked for many years as a drummer and club manager, eventually taking the stage as a Blues comedian. His first recorded music was the album Poonanny Be Still on the Waldoxy label in 1993. Four more successful albums followed on the label before he branched out on his own independent release. Poonanny will be forever remembered for his ribald lyrics that would put a smile on listeners faces!

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I first caught up with Vel Omarr's stellar music while sampling his late '90's release of Rhythms & The Blues. It took me back to that original sound of mellow '60's Soul. Not surprising, the Mississippi born and Chicago raised young man always loved the music of the late Sam Cooke. Much like Sam, once grown, Vel left the Windy City for California to pursue his dream of becoming an entertainer. He eventually joined legendary R&B / DooWop group The Robins, as their second tenor lead singer. He later signed on with  Brenton Wood as the opening act for Wood's Sweet Old School Revue and in 2003, he joined The Olympics as one of their lead singers. Vel has shared the stage with many well known artists such as Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Penquins, The Coasters, Gene Chandler, The Flamingos, James Brown, Etta James, Little Richard, Al Wilson, Barbara Lynn and Brenda Holloway.

Vel's solo work has included the  independently released album in 2001 titled Vel Omarr Sings Sam Cooke & More, a fitting tribute on which he does sound very close to the legendary Cooke. Omarr's 2008 How Can I Make You Mine album was a collection of pure Soul with killer tunes such at the title track as well as That's All That Matters To Me and Feels Like Love. Vel's 2012 The Greatest Song I Ever Sang album was well received in Southern Soul. Both I'll Be There For Ya and Everybody Dancin' spent considerable time on the charts. Still My Love Grows also gained some recognition as the bluesier side of Vel.   

Vel's latest album is titled Ain't No Telling as released by Double Beat Records. The title track is a hamonica Blues groove that first hits me as being a little out of character but turns into a powerful vocal number. Ditto for  Big Leg Baby as well.  There is thoughtful expression in The Power Of Your Love and That's All That Matters (To Me). These songs are set at a tempo where you can clearly hear Vel's outstanding voice and think about the fact that the words have meaning. My Telephone Keeps On Ringing and It's My Pleasure makes me think of a high end Jazz club with sultry female background singers. Livin' In The Ghetto has the Funk vibes to do some steppin'! The boogie in Al's Sugar Shack strikes me as almost more of a '60's Soul representation than a Blues number. Nine cuts all told including a holiday tune,  the album is resplendent with variety across mutiple styles and ranges for one of the awesome voices in today's Soul music arena!

   

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Although Uvee Hayes is not a household name in the world of Southern Soul, she has been practicing her craft as an accomplished vocalist for many years. Hailing from the St. Louis area, Uvee has crossed genre boundaries many times since 1984, when she began recording on the independent Mission Park label. A public school psychological examiner by day, she is a music stylist by night. My first recognition of Uvee in the Southern Soul arena was from her Play Something Pretty album, released on the CDS label in 2009. The title track, a moving duet with the legendary Otis Clay, is without a doubt one of the best songs I have ever heard. That signature album was quickly followed up by Southern Soul Blues Sisters, with songs from Uvee as well as fellow St. Louis vocalist Barbara Carr, and featuring Blues soulman Roy Roberts. Uvee later teamed up with Otis once again on the splendid Luther Ingram classic Steal Away To The Hideaway, which will send chills up your spine!

 

Uvee's latest release, In The Mood, is not so much Southern Soul as it is what I would call 'timeless' Soul. It represents a fusion of Jazz, Blues and Soul in a finite collection of, as the title aptly states, moods. From the upbeat jams of You Make Me Happy and Handy Man to the mid-tempo Grooving and Ordinary as well as the slow and low A Woman's Got To Do, Heartbreaker and As Soon As The Feeling's Over, the album serves to capture the essence of Uvee's range and rapture in her resonating voice. She fittingly closes the set with a remix of Party Party Party, a tune she has previously recorded and performed over the years. Uvee's determination to bring robust originality and feeling to the recordings is clearly evident in this package.  I would readily nominate this collection for Female Solo Album of the Year!!

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We stated this a few months back, David Brinston may very well be one of the hardest working performers in Southern Soul. The Mississippi native burst on the scene almost 20 years ago with a monster hit entitled Hit And Run.   It was the title track of his first release in the genre - his most recent, some 14 albums later was Back On Track in March of this year. In between, he recorded on the Ecko label from 2007 to 2010, releasing 4 stellar albums and a re-issue of an earlier release during that time frame. In his long career, Brinston has also recorded on the Jomar, R&B, Susie Q, Waldoxy and Delta Down labels. An accomplished songwriter as well as performer,  Brinston composes much of his own material.

 

Two Way Love Affair And Other Hits is the Memphis based label's twelve track synopsis of Brinston's best work during his association with Ecko. All are either high energy tunes or mid to uptempo shuffles. The title cut was of course a major hit as was Dirty Woman, the original of which featured the now departed J. Blackfoot.  Also reaching the charts were: After Party, You've Got Something I Want (duet with Ms. Jody), Beat It Up and Here I Go Again .....and along about here is where I jumped off the train, LOL! All the tunes on this collection are strong but I would have thought two that were big on the Beach music side (which is always a focus genre whenever Ecko records and releases an album) would have been included, namely I Just Love Women and Bus Stop. A couple of others that I remember seeing on the Southern Soul charts  are Hard Working Woman and Too Many Women. (Definitely alot of Brinston tunes with either Woman or Women in the titles, a valid reason not to include them all). Just my opinion of course, John Ward and Larry Chambers at Ecko know best!

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Maryland native Jim Bennett has been involved with music practically his entire life. During his youth he played various wind instruments such as the trumpet, trombone and tuba, later getting interested in learning to play the guitar. Jim's first formal foray into the professional ranks was with a group he formed known as The Family Reunion Band. The opportunity then arose to branch out and work with  more seasoned performers. During that time, he had the good fortune to back up groups and artists such as Sonny Till and the Orioles, The Manhattans, Roy C, Millie Jackson, Lee Fields, Clarence Carter and others. Jim along with frequent singing partner Lady Mary spent time in the '90's as members of  Hardway Connection before doing their own record as a duet in 1999. In the 15 years that has followed, Jim has released more that a dozen albums, either on his own Ja Ben label or with CDS subsidiary Aviara Music.

The most recent Southern Soul Highway - The Essential Jim Bennett, released by CDS Records, is intended to showcase some of his best work. The biggest hits are here - The Body Roll, Slap It Slap It Tap It Tap It and My Dear. One of my personal faves is the even tempo track, You Can Use Me Up. Strong grooves are also there on She Laid A Freak On Me and Southern Soul Highway. The lament of Jody Got It All is a familiar story that never gets old in Southern Soul! Jim always does a good job on party jams - to that end, I am surprised that Take It To The Dance Floor and I'm Ready To Party were not included. Bennett, who has a rich and powerful voice, does bear a resemblance to the late great Marvin Sease as several songs here demonstrate. Overall, a solid representation of a Soul music veteran who continues to work hard at his craft.

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In our January 2013 edition of Southern Soul Corner, we did a special salute to all  the female solo artists who have persevered in this business and also mentioned several that unfortunately gave up on it after a short period of time. In our March 2014 issue we began profiling some of the outstanding lady artists who did indeed leave the genre beginning with Queen Isabella, An-Jay, Lorraine Turner, Jewel J and the late Tina Diamond. Here are two more that we regret are no longer a part of Southern Soul.

Theresa Calhoun, aka Tazz appeared on the scene in 2005 with a hot new release called It's All Good on the New Orleans based Mardi Gras Records label. Even though this effervescent lady singer did not really set out to be a Southern Soul artist, her style immediately lent itself to the genre.  A couple of bonafide down South juke joint hits arose from the album -   the steppin' Stroke It Easy and (Ain't Gonna Bump No More With No) Broke Down Man. Remixes of both killer tunes were also included on the album. Sadly, that was the last we heard from Tazz in the world of Southern Soul.

What happened to a young singer named Renea Mitchell? In 2006, she was part of an upcoming group of female artists in Southern Soul that included Betty Padgett, Ms. Jody, Nellie' Tiger' Travis and Little Kim Stewart. Renea's initial album was The Road Of Love on Jomar Records, which she delivered with both energy and emotion and was by all measures a success. The sub-title was Serious Southern Soul and it was definitely that. The Carl Sims classic Seventeen Days Of Loving came on strong with a woman's point of view. Dirty Women  was another track that received plenty of play. Sad to say, another example of a promising artist whose stay in the genre was much too short.

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Soul Dog’s Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul Hits

                                            September/October 2014

 

         & - new entry

 

1.                 Born To Sing Southern Soul Blues -  Sir Jonathan Burton  

2.                 She Was Twerkin' - Lil' Jimmie

3.                 Dancin' With My Baby - Miss Rebekah

4.                 South Side - Grady Champion

5.                 Ladies Gotta Get That Money - Gwen White

6.                 Blues Is Alright - Klass  Band Brotherhood

7.                 We Do We - Ves featuring Kenne' Wayne                &

8.                  Gonna Party - LGB  

9.                  Hammer's Juke Joint Shack - Jaye Hammer            &  

10.             Jus Fell In Love - Ms. Charli'

11.             True To Me - Vick Allen                                                   

12.             I Lost My Baby On Facebook - Jesse James             &

13.             Goodtime – Mr. X     

14.             The Other Shoe – Lola 

15.              Love On Me - Nelson Curry                                    &   

16.              What One Man Won't Do – Stephanie Pickett                                      

17.               I'm Gonna Stand By You – Ms. Jody

18.             You're Welcome To The Party - OB Buchana         &

19.              Cold Feet - Nellie 'Tiger' Travis                                & 

20.              Rock Me -  Miss Lady Blues                          

21.               Same Woman – Donnie Ray with Jaye Hammer           

22.              If You Got A Good Woman -  Roy C                       &

23.              Don't Know Where You At – Lacee  

24.               Ain't No Telling - Vel Omarr                                    & 

25.               Can You Handle It? - Betty Padgett                   

26.               Got To Give It Up – Jimmy 100% Sterling

27.               You Make Me Happy - Uvee Hayes                       &

28.                Roll It Roll It – Gentry Jones w/ Mr. Sam

29.                Lone Ranger - Willie P                                            &

30.                Beware, She's After Your Man - Candi  Staton

31.                To The Moon And Back  - Cupid        

32.                Come Get It - Rita Monroe aka Lady E                  &

33.                Cat Daddy – Billy 'Soul'  Bonds                                      

34.                How Come The Dog Ain't Barking  - Simeo          &

35.                I Can Be Your Dream Girl - Lady Audrey                                   

36.               Old School Girl – Blind Ricky McCants                                 

37.               NightTime Lover - J-Wonn                                      &     

38.                I Sing The Blues – Patrick Henry                           

39.               Keep Knockin' - Anita Love                                     &

40.               Grey Goose & Cranberry Juice - Vince Hutchinson      

41.               You're Right For Me - Willie White                         &

42.               Hey You - JJ Thames

43.               Give Me That Love – J. Diamond Washington             

44.               Ain't Nobody Got Time - Karen Wolfe w/ Nelson Curry    

45.               Can I Spend Some Money On You – Chuck Strong   

Archives:

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

 


 


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