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Southern Soul Corner June 2015

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Corner Talk:  Soul star extraordinaire Sir Jonathan Burton tells me he has moved his base of operations from Charlotte, NC down closer to the coast to the Brunswick County boomtown of Leland, NC. In keeping with that, check out the poster above for a big Sir JB show there on July 11th that includes a tribute to the late Mel Waiters.

 

This month there is new album ground to cover, so I am jumping right in - we will pick back up on hot singles in full force in July's edition. I did want to mention one that is gonna be hot, it just came out from my friend Jimmy 100% Sterling entitled If You Were Me What Would You Do? Most of the albums reviewed this time around are from male artists, but we did have one female come to the forefront. The Duchess Juressa McBride just released an album that further emphasizes her talent in the genre. More to come from the ladies in future months for sure. Not available to us at press time were new albums from Jody Sticker, Tyree Neal, Bobby Conerly, David Brinston and Charles Wilson. Many additional reviews to come.

 


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All artists, promoters, label execs, DJs, fans etc. that follow Southern Soul realize what a loss has occurred in the genre with the recent passing of Mel Waiters. The Texas native has been one of the major male artist influences in the Southern Soul arena for 20 years. From his first albums in the mid-'90's on Serious Sounds through his many releases on Waldoxy to current works on his own Brittney label, Mel has been a solidifying force in the industry with a continuous list of hit tunes. He specialized in self-composed material, charters like Got My Whiskey, Hole In The Wall, Swing Out, Ice Chest, Smaller The Club, Throw Back Days and Friday Night Fish Fry. More recent Waiters produced hits Everything's Going Up, I Ain't Gone Do It ,  Got No Curfew, My Check Is Spent and Pouring Salt  rocked the charts for months at a time. Mel Waiters was voted the 2010 Best Southern Soul/R&B Album (I Ain't Gone Do It) and 2011 Record Producer of the Year by the readers of Blues Critic and the 2010 Southern Soul Artist of the Year by the Blues Critic staff. It is ironic that Mel combined with the late Floyd Taylor on the monster hit It's On Me just prior to Floyd's passing in early 2014.


 


Mel's latest (and unfortunately his last) release on the Brittney label, True Love, embodies traditional Waiters compositions with the complimentary rhythm tracking. Stick To Your Drink was the advance single already charting here as well as on many DJ lists. Going Out Tonight will likely be our next tune from the album to hit the chart - it has a strong radio groove. Shake A Plenty and Contact have that classic 'hole in the wall' club sound that made Mel famous. The theme of the title track as well as Southern Soul Love and Not Suppose To Love You cast aside a man's nefarious ways to get serious about true romance. 11 tracks in all, another great album but it also sadly stirs the emotion of a farewell chapter for an outstanding career that has concluded much too soon. May the music of Mel Waiters live on forever!



   

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What do we know about The Duchess Jureesa McBride? Well, she is a small town Mississippi native that grew up listening to Blues, R&B, Gospel, and Soul music. She began writing songs along with poetry at the age of 9, also spending time traveling with a young people's theater group.  Jureesa's entrance to Southern Soul occurred in 2013 with the release of her first album, the critically acclaimed (I'm A Woman First (Tales Of The Duchess). Charting tunes included Did I Lay It On You Right?  and the now famous Put Your Cookie In My Milk, which was actually first released as a single in 2012 under the title Cookies N Milk.  The closing tune, Can Still Make It, is a passion filled anthem about survival against the odds.


Listening to the tunes on the just released Personal Love Vendetta, you get the feeling that The Duchess may have lived many of the lyrics, from the title track all the way to the hard licks in the closing tune, Blues Woman. There is a gritty soulful touch of emotion in each of the 6 tracks. Both Karma (She'll Take Care Of You) and It Be's That Way Sometimes are extended length tracks about the man doing wrong! She Got The Baby, well, you get the picture! I'm also liking Just Move as a radio rotation tune. What we have here is an emerging female star in Southern Soul who is in it to stay!



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Castro Coleman, aka Mr. Sipp "The Mississippi Blues Child", hails from the small town of McComb, MS. He took to music right away as a child, beginning to play the guitar at the age of 6. With hard work and perseverance, Castro has honed his craft not only as a vocalist but also as a songwriter, musician, composer, producer and entertainer. Castro has contributed to and provided studio work for over 50 national recordings, particularly in the Gospel arena. His credits include working with The Williams Brothers, True Believers, Dottie Peoples, Jackson Southernaires, Tim Rogers & The Fellas and Alabama Boys. He has won several recent awards for his efforts, including the 2014 International Blues Challenge Winner by way of The Vicksburg Blues Society, the 2014 Gibson Best Guitarist Award Winner and the 2014 Jus' Blues Bobby Rush Entertainers Award.


As Mr. Sipp, his transition to Blues music has been a smooth one. He released It's My Guitar in 2013, eleven tunes that emphasizes instrumentation, upbeat rhythm tracks and original lyrics. Sipp also provided guitar work on last year's smash album Bootleg Whiskey from Grady Champion. His latest album release, The Mississippi Blues Child, is part of his new moniker. Like Grady, Mr. Sipp is billed as a Blues artist but has enough Soul licks in his music to be part of this genre as well.   I immediately picked up on V.I.P, a sensual tune with a solid groove. Another one that is off the chain is Hold It In The Road, which will eventually chart here at the Corner. Also an awesome joint is Nobody's Bisness (What I Do With My Check). Try telling that to the lady of the house! I hear some strains of Keb Mo in Sipp's Jump The Broom. Both Hole In My Heart and What Is Love slow the tempo way down and get serious with the phrasing. 14 tracks in all, this is really good stuff ya'll from a relatively new artist to Southern Soul who is young enough to make a real difference in the future of the music!  


 

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From a Southern Soul perspective, Mr. David aka David Jones has carved out a niche for himself over the last several years.  The Aiken, SC native began his career as a rapper, dropping an album recorded in Atlanta under the name of Pressha in the late '90's. His long time mentor was a promoter/producer named Tony Mercedes, who was impressed by what he saw from David as a young teenager. David moved over to Southern Soul, releasing Jody Is Back on Mercedes' private label in 2004. Both Shoo Da Wop, featuring Sir Charles Jones,  and Slide On were charting hits for the album. David's follow up album, Southern Soul Singer, was again released on the Mercedes label but was picked up for distribution by Malaco subsidiary Waldoxy Records. Scoring hits with Jody's Creepin' and Where U Want Me To Put It, Mr. David signed a contract with Waldoxy. Me Loving You, all original self-composed material, was released on the label in 2008, yielding chart busters with the title track as well as the robust down home jam Fatback and Collard Greens and a strong dance cut with Southern Soul Roll.


 


Mr. David's latest from Waldoxy, Put It On Ya, rolls up several of his single releases in recent years in addition to some new material. Once again all Mr. David originals, the title track was an advance single issued earlier this year - it is currently sitting at #5 here on the Southern Soul Smokin' Top 45. Mr. Right Now was a big 2013 single release that stayed on our chart for several months as well. Soul Skool, which is a killer groove, has been somewhat of a mystery. We first received the single via email sometime in mid-2012 - it made the Smokin' Top 45 in July of that year. It evidently was not officially released at that time as there seemed to be multiple follow on release dates for the song. I felt at the time that this one would have a strong crossover to Beach music. Previously released single Make Love Last jumps off as a dance groove. The likewise upbeat Turn Up was actually a November 2013 drop that retreats back to David's Pressha rapper roots. Will You Be My Valentine is a smoothie that also had a 2013 single release date.  Delta Dream Girl is a slow and low nostalgic tune intended to take you back in the day.  Also gotta like Shirt She Use To Sleep In. 10 tracks in all, Mr. David is an established talent that continues to make a strong impact in the Soul and Blues world.



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Earl Duke is another performing artist that has been under the radar the last few years. The Louisiana native's entry into the Southern Soul arena came about in 2004 with his first album, Down For You, released on the New Orleans based Mardi Gras label. I'm Down For You was a huge song heard every day for months in the American Blues Network radio rotation. Mr. Fix It and Let Me Fix It also received airplay acclaim. Duke also had a solid tune that same year entitled Salt In My Sugar Bowl, which never appeared on one of his albums, but was on a Charles Wilson compilation. Earl's 2007 Mardi Gras follow-up album, Somebody's Gettin' It, broke through on the radio with the title track, Truck Driver, Southern Soul and I Got What You Want. Moving over to CDS Records, Earl dropped Turn It Up in 2010. We Made It Do What It Do and Bounce Bounce Bounce were the significant singles from the release.


 

Just released on Music Access, Keep The Faith is a 10 track collection that reprises Earl's biggest hit, Down For You. Just One Lifetime is a nice tribute tune to the late J. Blackfoot. Mr. Jody has definite hit potential - I could see it charting here for us in the near future. Twerkin' is the thing right now and Earl complies to the trend with Twerk Sumpthin. The setting for I'm Feeling Myself is gettin' up on the floor at the dance club  -  a remix of the tune is also included in the package. Earl turns out a funky version of the Wilson Pickett classic Green Grass. The slow and mellow A Woman's Needs was also previously released on the early 2014 CDS Southern Soul Smashes 4 compilation. It is good to see Earl Duke back in the game keepin' on and keeping the faith!  

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Blues with a whole lotta Soul would describe the stylings of Texas native Caron 'Sugaray' Rayford. He is a big guy with a very big voice who was a featured vocalist on the award winning Mannish Boys album Double Dynamite in 2012. This led to Sugaray's 2013 album release, Dangerous, consisting of 14 tracks of a combination of covers and original material. Some big name artists contributed to the album, including the Fabulous Thunderbird's Kim Wilson and Sugar Ray Norcia. There is a mixture of down home slide guitar and harmonica tracks together with progressive grooves such as Two Times Sugar, Stuck For A Buck and the rockin' Keep Your Woman At Home. Sugaray now calls Southern California home, spending several years in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles. He has fronted his own band for the last 5 years.


 


The success of Dangerous has led to the just released Rayford follow up entitled Southside, containing 9 boisterous Sugarray tunes. The title track, not the same song as the 2014 Grady Champion hit, does fit the Southern Soul mold. So does All I Think About, which would be a huge smash in a live festival venue. Live To Love Again is a straight ahead Soul filled groove that is a good candidate for our July chart. Call Off  The Mission has some Robert Cray sounding licks in it.  Rayford reverts back to his skill in traditional old style Blues on Take It To The Bank, Texas Bluesman and the slow and low Take Away These Blues. I like Sugaray's style and predict more good things in the future for his promising career!


 


 




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