Southern Soul Corner March 2015

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Corner Talk:  It has been a somewhat slow month for new individual single tunes coming our way in Southern Soul. Some recently distributed singles are either advances from forthcoming albums or follow-ups from albums already released. There are, however, a few new and notable cuts........Fresh off his Greatest Hits Volume 1, the incomparable El' Willie gives us a tremendously heartfelt version of the James Brown classic Try Me......... Atlanta's Heart 2 Heart Band has been successfully recording and entertaining for several years. Their most recent single released in February is called Do You Like To Party?.......Following up on the recent Cowgirl single, in vogue Mississippi producer Big Yayo drops The Remix, Baby. Can't find it out there so far! Ditto for Columbus Toy's latest, I'm Gone................Ricky White's new album  At His Best Vol 1 is on the way later this month. The first single to be released in advance has been Booty Clap............


Avail Hollywood's new album, Wasted, should be dropped any day now. The advance singles have been the title track as well as Left Cheek Right Cheek.....Former Motown staff writer and producer Michael B. Sutton has a new smooth Soul track entitled Slow Dancin' ...............Mr. X aka Mark Safford continues to be the hot ticket at Sound Mindz Records. I Gotta Walk,  Goodtime and Doing The Watusi have all been big charters here at SSC over the last year. X keeps on coming with his latest, mid tempo jams When We're Making Love and Roll It Slow............A couple of enhanced versions of previously released singles just out - Theodis Ealey's Pop That Middle and At Least I Tried by Jimmy 100% Sterling..............Atlanta based producer Bruce Billups has worked with many Southern Soul artists including Theodis Ealey, Black Zack, and Cupid. His latest effort is a collaboration with Lebrado called Let's Party. Bruce also has one right now featuring Yanni that is charting called Ooo Wee...........


The albums are coming steadily now, at least from the male vocalist point of view. We have reviews on five new CDs here this month. Didn't get to Jr. Blu's new one yet, him being a fairly new artist, we wanted to give it a little more time and consideration.



Sir Jonathan Burton is one of those real music guys - an excellent singer, instrumentalist, writer, arranger and producer. The new Jersey native honed his chops spending several years in Detroit while sharing studio and stage gigs with such artists as The Manhattans, Chairmen of the Board, Regina Belle, Drifters, Parliament and Cameo, among others. We have come to expect superior musical production from Sir Jonathan Burton and he continues to deliver on those expectations. Sir JB is a seasoned veteran when it comes crafting lyrics and matching them with just the right rhythm tracks. He has blown up the Southern Soul market in the last five years with four previous hot album releases at CDS, plus a holiday release this past season. Too Much Booty Shakin'?  Not hardly, Sir JB keeps it coming with fresh material every time out.

Sir Jonathan tells me this latest album on the CDS label,  New Swing Soul,  is different and far ranging from anything he has done in the past. Even though I am not claiming to have a musical ear, the more I listen to the tunes, the more I understand what he is saying. The title track definitely has a new feel to it, as does Southern Soul Showdown and Southern Soul Got A New Swing. I'm Your Party Man, My Baby Can't Dance (But I Love Her Any How) and Can't Touch This (Remix) set a frenetic pace, dancers for the young and young at heart! My favorite may be The Hole Inside The Hole In The Wall, which captivates a  bluesy old school soulful sound. The story unwound in Mind Your Business is relevant for so many folks these days. Lower that drama threshold!! Sir JB now resides in Charlotte, NC, right in the heart of Beach music country in which he is well known, so Beachosity is certainly a fitting tune for the album. Not a bad track on the release, it is another success story for this veteran performer.

Knowing Sir JB pretty well, it is no secret that he is a big bundle of energy and enthusiasm with an infectious personality that lights up a room. He goes where the action is and the shows are no matter how far. Check out the poster above  - Sir Jonathan Burton will be the headliner on April 4th for a Pre-Easter show at the Bogulusa, Louisiana Event Center. He is crowd favorite on the live show circuit for sure!




Cinncinati, Ohio's Bigg Robb casts a long shadow when it comes to influencing a certain style in the evolution of Soul music. Several years ago, he successfully brought his syncopated funky rhythm production to Southern Soul which has paved the way for many of the more innovative young artists. I remember well back about 2002 asking "who is this guy trying to break into Southern Soul and what DJ's are playing his music?" I soon, however, got in the groove, digging what he was puttin' down - seems like a long time ago now. Robb is another one of those high demand production mix masters at combining and arranging rhythms with lyrics. His album combination of 8 Tracks N 45's followed by Blues, Soul & Old School put him over the top in 2007 - the big man was voted Southern Soul Artist of the Year.


Robb's latest, Showtime, on his own Over 25 Sound label, doesn't deviate from what we have to come to expect from his releases. There is a welcome track and a short promo cut. In between, however, is some of Robb's finest work to date. Good Good (already charting here at SSC) and Please Don't Judge Me have been the most recent advance tunes to the DJ's. We Can Do It has a distinctive dance beat that would work at North Myrtle Beach!  And the tunes about food! Blues And BBQ, which features the Queen, Ms. Denise LaSalle, and talkin' about a love that's  Hotter Than Fish Grease! Aw right! Party tunes abound with the extended mix of Sugar Shack as well as Turn It Up.  Same thing for Fill It Up and Getting It In, both of which were advance singles and rock the house! It wouldn't be a signature Bigg Robb album without a few slower tempo touch and feel grooves - the title track, Keri's Song, Singing The Blues and Good Love Remix, which features Mz. Jackson,  all fill the bill. Fourteen music cuts in all, the lady Problem Solvas sound better than ever and the album is without a doubt definitive Bigg Robb!


Finally, a new CD release from one of the ladies of Southern Soul! And from one of the best in the genre at that! Most folks do not realize that Atlanta native Pat Cooley has been in the music business for right at forty years. Her early career included gigs while looking to be discovered by singing in Atlanta nightclubs. This led to a job with Clarence Carter and eventually becoming his opening act. Pat's diversified career included a stint with a Country & Western band that travelled abroad, entertaining U.S. troups in places like Turkey, Greece, Beirut, Italy and Spain. Cooley's 1987 debut album, Double Talk, was also one of the first Soul/Blues releases on the Atlanta based Ichiban Records label.  I really caught on to Pat's music with her release of Real Thing on her own L&L label in 2006. The title track plus I Ain't Going Where You Go and Ooo Wee definitely got my attention. Older Woman Younger Man, which was actually on a Bigg Robb produced compilation,  quickly followed for Pat as one of the top songs in the genre for 2007. What is also distinctive about Pat Cooley is that she writes or co-writes 95 plus percent of the songs she releases.


At Her Best is a composite roll-up of Pat's outstanding work over the last ten years as one of the strongest female vocalists in Southern Soul. All of the thirteen tracks were either previous hits or, in the case of the enhanced Hold Still, are going to be big. For the Carolina Beach music fans, there is also a Steppers/Shag version of the song. Chronologically, the charters here include  I Ain't Going Where You Go, Boy Toy, Be A Man, Dirt Road Double Wide, No Mess, Bring It Baby, Paying The Cost To Be The Boss and Shake That Belly. The sleeper here to me is Talking To You, which was actually the title track of Pat's album release in 2012. Another really good cut is I Don't Need You No More, which is, if I am not mistaken, previously unreleased. The Atlanta songstress continues to impress as one of the true divas of R&B and Soul music!




If you go all the way back to 1991, you will find veteran singer Charles Wilson's first recognized album in the Southern Soul arena, Blues In The Key Of C, on the Ichiban Records label.  The same melodic, almost pleading at times vocals that were there back then are present in his work today.  What is amazing is that at that point in his career, Charles had already logged over twenty five years in the business, A Chicago native and the nephew of the legendary Little Milton, Wilson was heavily immersed in the '60's/'70's Windy City Soul scene. His Southern Soul journey has included several years on the Ecko label and more recently at CDS, with his own Wilson Records occasionally in the mix. Awards along the way include twice receiving the Blues Foundation's Best Soul/Blues Album of the Year.     


Best Side Of Me is Wilson's latest album is just off the press in February. The advance single Misssissippi Boy Part 2 featuring young gun J Wonn leads off the release.  I'm liking the uptempo jump of Just To Be With Her, Gitty Yup (plus the (Remix) and Hold It N Da Road. Mid tempo grooves are prevelant in the drop with Can We Swing Around, which is a little more upbeat (now that I listen to it 2 or 3 times!), likely being the strongest track. Additional shuffles include Old Man Wrong (no matter how hard he tries to do right!), Can We Talk About It, Untie My Hands and Can You Help Me. Ten tunes all told, it is most certainly vintage Charles Wilson! 


Carl Marshall has probably done more arranging and producing in the last several years than he has focusing on his own recordings. His output has included albums for Stan Mosley, Charles Wilson, TJ Hooker-Taylor, Cicero Blake, Nellie 'Tiger' Travis and Chuck Roberson, among others. In fact, Carl was voted Best Producer by the Blues Critic Readers Poll for both 2009 and 2010. His song Good Loving Will Make You Cry, released in 2006, became somewhat of a Southern Soul anthem as it stayed at the forefront for years. Carl's diverse musical background includes growing up in New Orleans and playing in a band that included Aaron and Cyril Neville. Carl is the original 'Soul Dog', the moniker he went by for a time in the mid '70's.


Just released in February is Carl's latest on CDS Records, Love Brings You Back To Me. Gotta love the lead-off track and advance single called Cheating Town. You can guess what that one is about! The Walk, Ladies Know Your Worth and Wind It Up will serve as a good club steppers and/or line dancers. The same can be said (at a little slower pace for us old folks) for Laughing And Stepping, which features Rue Davis. The Marshall smoothness  comes out strong on I Wanna Know (What Kind Of Love You Got) and I'm Tired Of Missing You.   The album concludes with a telltale story on From The Church To The Motel. Excellent album end to end for one of Southern Soul's most talented personalities!


One of the most underrated male singers in American Soul music history has to be a guy by the name of Lou Ragland. Lou was born in Cleveland in 1942, growing up with destined to be performers such as the Womack Brothers, Edwin Starr and Sonny Turner. He became an accomplished vocalist, songwriter and guitarist, playing bass for the O'Jays in the late '60's. Lou launched his own band, Hot Chocolate (no, not the U.K. version that released Play That Funky Music, but a U.S. version), which later became Seven Miles High. He has owned several record  labels over the years while touring the country and abroad, becoming very popular in Europe. Although a  major hit single has pretty much eluded Lou throughout  his entire career, he has continued to write, record, produce and perform for what is now almost fifty years. His best work was compiled into a 3 CD anthology released in 2012 entitled I Travel Alone. If you are a fan of 60's/70's Soul music, it is well worth checking out!


Soul Dog’s Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul Hits

          March/April 2015


       @ - new entry


1.    Bootleg Whiskey - Grady Champion                                  @       

2.    Big Boy Stuff - Sheba Potts-Wright                                                   

3.    Next Time -   Lil' Jimmie                          

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

5.    Can We Start Our Love All Over - Donnie Ray                   @

6.    Hold Still - Pat Cooley                                                           

7.    I Wanna Kiss You  - Brenda Williams                                     

8.    Good Good  - Bigg Robb

9.    I  Need Your Sugar - Larome Powers            

10.Sweet It Be - Wilson Meadows                                           @

11.Sugah Sugah - Leon McMullen

12.Roll With It Baby - Geno Wesley

13.I'm Here For You - Big Cynthia                                         

14.This Is A Blues Club - Jaye Hammer                                  @

15.Put It On Ya - Mr. David                                                       

16.You Got To Be A Freaker - Miz B                                       @

17.Roll It - Cool Ricky Blues                                                       

18.Handy Man - Uvee Hayes                                                     @ 

19.Southern Soul Showdown - Sir Jonathan Burton                @

20.In This Club Tonight - Adrena                                                     

21.Move Baby Move - Nathaniel Kimble                                 @

22.Lady Soul Slide  - Lady Soul w/ TK Soul                             

23.Can't Stop Me - Miss Mini                                                                   

24.Backdoored (By A Man Named Jody) - Donnell Sullivan   @

25.Gotta Get My Groove On - Willie Hill                                        

26.Take My Wife Back - OB Buchana                                     @ 

27.Rock It Baby - Rob Hewz                                                    @

28.She's Been Good  - Jr. Blu                                                        

29.Stick To Your Drink - Mel Waiters                                     @

30.Time 2 Party - Solomon Thompson                                            

31.Doing The Watusi - Mr. X                                                             

32.Dark Side Of Love - Calvin Richardson                              @

33.Whose Foolin' Who - Billy 'Soul' Bonds                               @

34.Cold Feet - Nellie 'Tiger' Travis

35.I'll Play The Blues For You - Raine                                          

36.Who Doo Woman - Val McKnight                                    @ 

37.Down Home People  - Stevie J                                           @

38.Yellow Ribbon - Big G                                                       @

39.Loveline - Alex                                                                                 

40.I Feel Good - Urban Mystic                     

41.Please Let Me Hold You - Lomax                                      @

42.When It's Good It's Good - Certified Slim                           @

43.I Do - Mi'el                                                                           @

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

45.Ooo Wee - Yanni/Bruce Billups                                          @





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