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Southern Soul Corner January 2015

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Corner Talk:  There were eleven editions of this column published in 2014 - we did take December off and focused our radio show as well as promotional efforts on the holidays. We will continue to strive to bring our readers the most up to date information on the Southern Soul genre that we can possibly gather with each passing month. We here at Southern Soul Corner wish all the artists, promoters, fans and readers a very safe and happy 2015!

 

 

2014 In Review: Established artists in Southern Soul kept on keeping on in 2014, while some new faces also emerged. A ton of albums were released in the genre during the year and we did reviews on as many as we could here at SSC. Veteran male artists that dropped albums included TK Soul, Willie Clayton, Big G, Sir Jonathan Burton, Sir Charles Jones, OB Buchana, Carl Sims, Vel Omarr,  Roy C, Tucka, Grady Champion, Jaye Hammer, David Brinston, Bobby Rush, Rue Davis, Larome Powers, Avail Hollywood, Nathaniel Kimble, Wilson Meadows, John Cummings, Calvin Richardson, Chuck Roberson and Patrick Henry. The ladies in Southern Soul were somewhat under represented in album releases this past year with drops from Nellie 'Tiger' Travis, Sheba Potts-Wright, Candi Staton, Lacee and Uvee Hayes. The deluxe edition with four additional tracks of Ms. Jody's November 2013 It's All About Me album came out in January of 2014.

 

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Emerging artists releasing full albums included J Wonn, Theo Huff, Louisiana Blues Brothas, Solomon Thompson, JJ Thames , Lewis (Raw) Shaw, Donnell Sullivan, Big Ro Williams, Jr. Blu and Xavie Shorts.  J Wonn and his producer Big Yayo, both in Jackson, Mississippi, the heart of Southern Soul, are certainly making a strong indentation in the market. Their I Got This Record single was one of the biggest songs of late 2013 and well into this past year. I would have to say from this column's standpoint, the tune that had the most impact on me in 2014 was the Floyd Taylor/Mel Waiters duet of It's On Me. Not only was it a simply awesome groove, it had a special significance as unfortunately we lost Floyd during the year.

 

Other artists having big years: Nelson Curry, with Klass Band Brotherhood, had a solo hit tune as well as recording duets with Karen Wolfe, Joe Nice and Peaches Jones. Several tracks from Sir Charles Jones' Portrait Of A Balladeer album got major burn. Ditto for TK Soul's Life After Love release. The diminutive Lil'  Jimmie blew up with smokers on on She Was Twerkin' and Next Time. Grady Champion's South Side was just a huge hit.The song that was highly anticipated and finally came ended the year at #1 here on our final Smokin' Top 45 chart - I Lost My Baby On Facebook by veteran Jesse James. The young guns are also definitely holding their own - Tucka, Avail Hollywood and Simeo as well as the old dogs - Bigg Robb, Sir Jonathan, Theodis, Wilson and Willie C, along with many others. Although I know it sounds like a broken record but the reigning queen on the Southern Soul side continues to be Ms. Jody. Much brilliance, however, was displayed in 2014 by ladies such as Stephanie McDee, LGB, Anita Love, Jureesa McBride, Lacee, Nellie 'Tiger' Travis and Uvee Hayes, among several others. Forty-five plus year performing veteran Candi Staton released a strong album, her first in Soul music in many years.  The late 2014 drop of Sheba Potts-Wright's I Came To Get Down! album should prove to be blockbuster in 2015. 

 

We can count on Ecko Records to give us compilations every year and 2014 was no exception. Blues Mix numbers 13, 14 and 15 (the latter just out, fully reviewed below) came out of the Memphis based studio with a multitude of solid tracks. Artists past and present are showcased - OB Buchana, Ms. Jody, Carl Sims, Donnie Ray, Sheba Potts-Wright, Sonny Mack, John Cummings, Jaye Hammer, Barbara Carr and Rick Lawson. CDS Records also did a fine job on compilations -  Ricky White Presents: Combination 2 gave us songs from TK Soul, Jerry L, Stephanie Pickett, Betty Padgett, Nathaniel Kimble and Gwen White, among others. The label's Southern Soul Smashes 4 featured Blind Ricky McCants, Floyd Taylor, Uvee Hayes, Patrick Henry, Ricky White, Luther Lackey, Charles Wilson, Stan Mosley and Jim Bennett. Independent Hot Spot Records Volume 3 of their compilation series dropped in late 2013. Some charting tracks that emerged from it came from Pat Brown, RB & Company, Angel Faye Russell and Willie B.

 

From the viewpoint here in the Carolinas, we are always looking for songs originating in Southern Soul music that fill the floor up in the Beach clubs.  The big winners out of the genre from 2014 have to be Swing It from Lomax, The Rock and Still Strokin'  by Ms. Jody, Let's Go Dancin' from OB Buchana, Back In The Day Cafe from Andre Lee, Shuckin' And Jivin' by Jaye Hammer and Dancing With My Baby by Miss Rebekah.

   

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Jimmy Ruffin  1936 - 2014

  

During the year, we lost some outstanding Soul music veterans in Floyd Taylor, Eddie Holloway, Bobby Womack, Joe 'Poonanny' Burns, Don Davis, Jo Jo Benson, Blue Lovett, Teenie Hodges and the guy that kept us all informed in Southern Soul, Funky Larry Jones. Motown legend as well as the older brother of former Temptation David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin passed in November. Another significant loss was New Orleans native record producer Cosimo Matassa at the age of 88  - this music pioneer opened his recording studio way back in 1945, producing some of the earliest works of such greats as Lloyd Price, Fats Domino, Lee Dorsey, Professor Longhair and Little Richard.

 

 

Where are we heading in 2015:  Album drops will be tradionally slow the first couple of months as the year kicks off in Southern Soul. We continually see new artists dropping singles into the market in hopes of generating a big hit. That is certainly not a bad thing, it should help to keep the competition level at a higher standard and the industry growing. I heard a term just the other day that perhaps Southern Soul is evolving to, 'New Swing Soul'. As the younger artists (and those that aspire to be young!) add a more contemporary sound with each passing year, a little hip-hop/rap in a Southern Soul jam has also become a more common practice as well.

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The flow of new singles has certainly cranked up in recent weeks with the major emphasis on dance grooves. Alright by me, most folks know that I tend to favor upbeat tunes. Cowgirl is an electrifying jam from Big Yayo that features J Wonn and T-Baby as the Mississippi connection continues to roll out potential hits. TK Soul introduces a new dance track as well as the artist, Lady Soul with the Lady Soul Slide. An artist going by Big Al down San Antonio way has a dance sensation with his version of the Southern Soul Slide. Relative newcomer Solomon Thompson is on the scene with Time 2 Party. The song was actually on his 2014 debut album History. Cool Ricky Blues has a boogie down track with Roll It. I'm really liking Mobile, Alabama native Geno Wesley's hot biscuit called Roll With It, Baby. How about Urban Mystic? Who? Out of Florida, check out this new one, Feel Good. The swangin' I'm On Fire by JB Hendricks has been out awhile and hot in the Louisiana area. Newcomer Catrese West aka Miss Mini says You Can't Stop Me from dancing! Lots of new house party music out there for sure!

 

More recent stand up grooves include Mad Love and  I Wanna Kiss You from Brenda Williams. Remember Gina Brown's 2010 dancer entitled G-Slide?  She is back with a rapping overdub on the mid-tempo Can't Stop. Veteran diva Mz. Pat Cooley gives up the mellow sounds of Hold Still, which is the advance tune to her new album coming shortly. Bigg Robb hits the streets with a cool joint called Good Good.  Karen Wolfe drops a new one, talking about her B.O.B (Battery Operated Boyfriend, LHM!).  Who did the original Mississippi Boy several years back?   Written by Floyd Hamberlin, it was on a Charles Wilson album but wasn't the artist named Will T? Wilson returns with Mississippi Boy Part 2, featuring J Wonn and produced by Big Yayo. Larome Powers, fresh off his successful 2014 Stepping Out album, lights us up with Casino Blues. Lomax follows up the success of his Life's Lessons album with a new single entitled Please Let Me Hold You. Andre Lee just released a slow groove entitled Tell Me What You Need and Mr. David is back with Put It On Ya. Big Cynthia has been cranking it up in Southern Soul for going on eighteen years. Lovin' her new baby mama drama single, I'm Here For You.

 

He is without a doubt a SSC fave, but we finally have to let go (LOL)  of Vick Allen's 2012 Soul Music album after charting and/or playing regularly since it's release Party All Our Blues Away, Crazy For You,  True To Me,  Have A Good Time and the title track. Same thing happened in the industry on Vick's 2009 Truth Be Told album, where no less than six cuts got widespread airplay. But wait, late breaking news, just a got a new single distribution on Vick - My Baby's Phone, but wasn't that also included on Soul Music?

 

Several new grooves are appearing on our bi-monthly Smokin' Top 45 as we kick off 2015. All the songs dropped from the previous chart have ridden the wave at least four months, some as many as six and beyond. We do get a little ahead of the curve at times on charting tunes, so there may be a tendency to drop a song before it has completed it's cycle in the genre. That does not necessarily mean the song has been completely dropped from our radio rotation. We do strive to review every new song in the genre that is available at chart time before making placement decisions.

 

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The new Blues Mix 15 CD was in my mailbox just last week, courtesy of Memphis mainstay Ecko Records. It is the latest in a long line of the Soul and Blues compilation series from the label that began with Volume 1 in late 2010. The fifteen volumes have covered quite a bit of ground. In addition to current label frontrunners Donnie Ray, Ms. Jody, Jaye Hammer, OB Buchana, Sheba Potts-Wright and John Cummings, there have been songs from previous label stalwarts such as Barbara Carr, Charles Wilson, Rick Lawson, Denise LaSalle, Bill Coday, Carl Sims, Quinn Golden, Lee Shot Williams, David Brinston and Chuck Roberson. Also, songs have been included by artists who, over the labels' twenty year history, have come in the studio to record a few tunes or maybe an album or two. That list includes Earl Gaines, Sweet Angel, Luther Lackey, Jewel J,  Gerod Rayborn, Ms. Genii, Sonny Mack, Mr. Sam, Mystery Man, Sir Ced and Lorraine Turner.

 

Blues Mix 15 is no exception to the above stated direction. There is a track here from the first artist to be recorded on Ecko back in early 1995, the late great Ollie Nightengale. Another great one that has since passed, Lee Shot Williams Juke Joint Slide (Club Remix) is included. Songs from current label favorites: Ms. Jody (My Cat Smells A Rat),  OB Buchana (Take My Wife Back), Donnie Ray with the answer song to OB (I Can't Take Your Wife Back) and Sheba-Potts Wright (The Right Stuff).

 

Artists/songs here not known as regulars on Ecko include Be There, a duet from the late Floyd Taylor and Big Poppa G, was on the latter's 2014 I Believe album. Memphis based newcomer Mz. B lets loose with two ribald jams, You Got To Be A Freaker and  I'd Rather Wait Until He's Hittin' It. Club joint Who Doo Woman comes from Val McKnight's 2011 Red Hot Lover album.  Down home Blues is the signature sound on Art Benton's You Doin' The Same Thing. Lakeland, Tennessee native Bertha Payne is a veteran recording artist and performer that has had several albums over the last ten years. Southern Soul Party is her rousing track contribution here. Twelve tracks, with eight being previously unreleased on Ecko, make up this consistently fine mix from what has become the cornerstone label in Southern Soul.

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Soul Dog’s Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul Hits

January/February 2015

 

       $ - new entry

 

1.      I'm Gonna Tighten Up - Wilson Meadows                         

2.      Cold Feet - Nellie 'Tiger' Travis              

3.      Loveline - Alex                                                                    

4.      I Didn't Come To Sit Down - Sheba Potts-Wright 

5.      Hammer's Juke Joint Shack - Jaye Hammer           

6.      I Lost My Baby On Facebook - Jesse James           

7.      In This Club Tonight - Adrena                                           

8.      You're Welcome To The Party - OB Buchana    

9.      Love On Me - Nelson Curry 

10.   Roll With It Baby  - Geno Wesley                     $ 

11.   Annie Mae's Cafe Swing Out Song - Stephanie McDee     

12.   We Do We - Ves featuring Kenne' Wayne          

13.   U Got Me Walking - Nathaniel Kimble                             

14.   She Was Twerkin' - Lil' Jimmie

15.   I Wanna Kiss You  - Brenda Williams            $  

16.   South Side - Grady Champion              

17.   Ms. Jody's Boogie Slide - Ms. Jody                                         

18.   It's A Good Thing I Met You - Theo Huff      $

19.   Next Time -   Lil' Jimmie 

20.   Swing Out - Donnell & RJ                                                

21.   You Make Me Happy - Uvee Hayes

22.   Sugah Sugah - Leon McMullen

23.   Good Good  - Bigg Robb                             $        

24.   I'm Looking For The Real Thang - Rue Davis                    

25.   I Need Your Sugar - Larome Powers                                

26.   Lady Soul Slide  - Lady Soul w/ TK Soul    $      

27.   Gotta Get My Groove On - Willie Hill                           

28.   Jus Fell In Love - Ms. Charli'

29.   Doing The Watusi - Mr. X                                                       

30.   Can't Stop Me - Miss Mini                           $  

31.   NightTime Lover - J-Wonn

32.   Keep Knockin' - Anita Love           

33.   Something's Telling Me - Big G                                     

34.   I'm Here For You - Big Cynthia                  $                           

35.   How Come The Dog Ain't Barking  - Simeo                 

36.   Put It On Ya - Mr. David                            $         

37.   Hold Still - Pat Cooley                               $

38.   Big Boy Stuff - Sheba Potts-Wright           $   

39.   Blues Is Here To Stay - Willie Clayton/Bobby Warren

40.   Come Get It - Rita Monroe aka Lady E                                    

41.   She's Been Good  - Jr. Blu                           $    

42.   Roll It - Cool Ricky Blues                           $

43.   I'll Play The Blues For You - Raine             $

44.   Time 2 Party - Solomon Thompson             $   

45.   I Feel Good - Urban Mystic                         $                           

 

 

Archives:

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

 

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