Corner Talk: Music comes to DJs in several different
ways these days. The good ol' U.S. Mail still delivers a few hardcopy CD singles and albums, but nowhere to the level of say
ten years ago. The computer network has replaced much of the CDs sent in the regular mail method, MP3s of new tunes are in
the queue pretty much daily of my email account. Facebook chats with artists and/or distributors can result in MP3s being
transported within the conversation. I don't tweet but I would guess that music can be sent via Twitter as well...........
Hardcopy in the mail this past month includes an album from Larome Powers
entitled Stepping Out and the latest
compilation in an ongoing series from Ecko Records, Blues Mix 14: Total Soul Blues. Both albums are reviewed by our team in this column..........a hardcopy single
I am cycling back on (in other words, we miss a few!) comes from one of my favorite Southern Soul artists. Tighten Up by Wilson Meadows was in the mail a few months back - it
is strong!.............Singles in the email include: Li'l Jimmie follows up the strong performance of She Was Twerkin' with a new smokin' groover called Next Time...........Leon McMullen had a year ending Top 25 hit on our
Beachmusic45.com chart with Midnight Rendevous
in 2008. Sugah Sugah is his
latest bangin' jam...........a new cool duet with Willie Clayton and Bobby Warren is entitled Blues Is Here To Stay. We will review Willie's just released Untamable album in next month's column as well as Nathaniel Kimble's
brand new Still Here release. Also
coming next month, our final Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul chart for 2014.........
Co-founder and original member Earl Young has revitalized '70's Disco group
The Trammps with a new jam Get Your Lovin'........Another
artist from back in the day, Lou Ragland, whose fifty year career has included leading the American version of Hot Chocolate,
has a polished 2014 single release of Don't
Listen To The Words...........Jumpin' Gene Anderson aka The Poo Poo Man has somewhat quietly had a presence in Blues/Southern
Soul for several years. His latest single is
Fill 'Em Up Last Call, don't close me out Mr. bartender, I want to do the Ricky White Shuffle!........Previous hits for Soul songstress Adrena include Cheating On The Backstreet, Footloose and
He Won't Leave His Wife. Her latest
is about to be released, a party jam called In
The Club Tonight.......New on the scene is Angelo Remo'n with the earlier this year release of the ten track album
Blaq Soul. Foxxy Lady appears to be
the hot track emerging from the drop.........A young artist from Brooklyn named Angel Sent first got our attention back in
2010 with the release of her Sugar Daddy album.
She currently has a new single, I'm Not Sleeping
By Myself Tonight, being distributed by Tony Gideon's Sound Mindz Records..........
Southern Soul folks are still shocked by the sudden death of Floyd Taylor earlier this
year. CDS Records is keeping his memory alive by re-distributing I Like The Way, which is a feature track on the new Bout It Bout It: All Of Me Deluxe roll-up of some of Floyd's best.........singles previously released on albums
that are coming to the forefront include: Down
Home People by Stevie J is from his 2013 Unstoppable
album release. Latest push
for Avail Hollywood is Kiss My Southern Soul
(now there's a concept!) from his Rehab
album, which dropped in May of this year.....We reviewed Vel Omarr's Ain't No Telling in last month's column, with the title track making our Smokin' Top 45. Another track on
the album making the radio show rotation is Al's Sugar Shack, which actually was first released on Vel's 2008 How Can I Make You Mine album......
Big G in da house!! The long time radio DJ and Stone River Records recording
artist from Richmond, Virginia has been releasing strong music in this genre since 1999. The G Man crafts primarily original
compositions into warbling tunes that resonate with his tenor to baritone ranging voice. I have lost count of the number of
Big G albums we've seen over the last fifteen years, but it has to be approaching twenty or more. June 2013's edition of the
Top 40 Southern Soul/R&B Albums Chart found Last
Pay Check hanging in at #37 while Nothin'
But A Party, Vol. II was sitting at #24 and his Midnight Love, Vol. II entered the chart at #40. From my perspective, among his best tracks to date have been Hot Loving, Old School, Thank You Girl, Get It On, I Need Your Love, Love On The Run,
Walk Away, All About Me, Being With You, Southern Soul Blues, I Can Do It, Chillin'
Ribbon is the latest drop from the big man, twelve cuts of classic soulful Big G. The title track is a solid uptempo mover
with a flowing rhythm track, as is Something's
Telling Me, Straight To The Point, Do What It Do and Party Tyme. Last Pay Check (The Comeback) is the answer song
to the 2012 hit Last Pay Check - it
is not Big G on lead vocals, however, but one of his key band members, the talented Lady TJ. Stay With Me is a moving soulful ballad the subject of which is a confessional
with regard to a relationship with a married woman. Every Day Lady might be the hidden gem of the whole album. Next month's entry into our Smokin' Top 45 is a
toss up, there are several candidates here. Also included on the album is a new
mix of previous 2009 hit I Can Do It and
a more upbeat remix of long time staple Don't
Leave Me Girl. Another successful outing here for Richmond's Big Man of
Soul/bluesman Grady Champion was raised on a farm in rural Mississippi,
with singing in the church his first real exposure to music. After a move to Florida and a series of occupational tries, Grady
recorded and released his own album, deciding to try to make it as a performer. Becoming more proficient on harmonica, guitar,
singing and songwriting, Champion signed on with Shanachie Records in 1999, releasing his first album on the label, Payin' For My Sins, thirteen tracks most of which Grady penned or co-wrote. His 2001 follow-up, 2 Days Short Of A Week, contained more Champion written tunes, several of which were not lacking in social
commentary, such as Policeman Blues
and Children Of The Corn. Grady Champion's
first significant crossover in Southern Soul came from his 2011 Dreamin' album on GSM Records. Make
That Monkey Jump was the juke joint favorite that took off for the club and radio jocks. 2013's Tough Times Don't Last on the Grady Shady Music label was the outstanding
Hot in Southern Soul over the last several weeks has been Champion's powerful tune
entitled South Side. Released in advance
of his new album, it has rocketed up the charts. Bootleg
Whiskey was released in early September, eleven tracks of quality Blues, Boogie and Soul. The title track has a nice
dance groove accented by Grady's gritty and somewhat gravely vocals, in keeping with his singing style. I'm liking the Blues
harmonica juke joint jump of Beg, Borrow, Steal
as well as Home Alone. Also like the cool lyrics in the straight up shuffle of Mr. Right. Here We Go Ya'll has a rockin' Cajun feel to it. Dont' Waste My Time, Ten Dollars and Who Dat are true smoky barroom Blues numbers. Grady's powerful vocal talent is evident throughout the release
- not a bad song on the entire album!
Tupelo, Mississippi native Larome Powers has had many years of experience composing and producing music. Entering the business in the '70's, he was a staff writer for Don Davis at
Groovesville Productions before forming his own company. Larome wrote hits for such stars as Johnnie Taylor, The Dramatics
and Harvey Scales. He also penned longtime Southern Soul artist Jesse James signature song, I Can Do Bad By Myself. Larome produced Kenne' Wayne's Southern Soul
debut album Old Fashion Love in 1996,
a release previously proclaimed one of the best in the genre of the '90's.
Larome's solo recording debut was Somebody's Chasin' My Cat on the Blues Club International label in 2003. Leading
to a contract with Malaco Records subsidiary Waldoxy, resulted in the release of his first single hit, Shake And Shimmy. It was included on his debut album on the label,
What's Life Without Love, in 2006.
Another explosive track from the CD later featured on the 2007 601 Music compilation Simply Soul was I Feel Like Cheatin'. Larome did not really record again until 2011, releasing the single I'm Knockin', which did extremely well on the charts.
Larome's latest album release on Waldoxy, which has the goods to really propel him into the Southern Soul spotlight. The advance
track What's The Name Of That Thang has
already rocked the charts. Another potential hit (at least here at the Corner) is the smokin' I Need Your Sugar. I am also partial to the solid groove of Blues Shack, the old school soulfulness of If You Want Some Love and the smooth poetic If You Cheat On Your Woman. A good mix of slow to mid-tempo jams and
upbeat slices, this album truly showcases the somewhat yet fully undiscovered super
vocal talent of Larome Powers.
Ecko Records keeps the heat turned up with yet another in their ongoing
series of compilations with Blues Mix 14 Total
Soul Blues. As always, there are strong unreleased tracks (remixes do count as new) like dance grooves from two of
the label's brightest stars, Ms. Jody (Ms.
Jody's Boogie Slide (Club Mix)) and O.B. Buchana (O.B. Shuffle (Remix)). Another new upbeat potential hit that I am digging is Southern Soul Blues Fest by John Cummings. It has the same outdoor
''I'm gonna party and I ain't gonna stop'' feel as the Mel Waiters' 2001 hit Ice Chest. Big John comes through with a another new one, the mid-tempo shuffle Good Love.
A couple more unreleased uptempo tracks are included from Sonny Mack, It Ain't What's In Your Pocket and Dig A Little Deeper. The latter was written by Sonny and previously
recorded as well as becoming a hit for rising star Jaye Hammer in 2013. Sonny puts a little different twist on the same tune.
Jaye's previously released jams Any Kind Of
Party and I'm A Booty Freak are
rewound here. O.B.'s Private Party and
Donnie Ray's She's A Real Hot Lady are
also worth the recycle. One of Ecko's former superstars and still huge in Southern Soul, Ms. Barbara Carr's 2003 If The Lord Keeps The Thought Of You Out Of My Head gets a reprise
as well. (Shhh, it's a secret, Barbara is coming back to Ecko, new music from her will be coming early next year). Closing
out the compilation is another former hitmaker seldom heard from these days, Rick Lawson on I'm Your Man In The Streets. Twelve jams inclusive, good party music
from the flagship label in today's Southern Soul.