What's Up: Got a call from Terry Wright on Friday a week ago. He wanted to know about some possible performing dates in my
area and was I familiar with his latest music. Turns out he was in Raleigh NC for the 9th Annual Blues Festival so I'm like
'you playing right in my backyard tonight'. Unfortunately due to recent health
issues I could not be there. Hated to miss it too with a lineup that included
Bigg Robb, Theodis Ealey, Sir Charles, Nelson Curry, Calvin Richardson and Pokey Bear. Anyway, we discussed Terry's latest
album of the phone, You're Just Standing In
A Good Man's Way, which I did review in the October 2015 edition of the Corner. I stated at that time that it was
one of the best albums of the year, which the current Top 30 Southern Soul/R&B Chart supports, with it sitting at #15.
The very talented Wright, who hails from Memphis, is just getting warmed up - expect much more great music from him in the
upcoming years!!..........speaking of albums, It is time for me to play big catch up on some of the latest releases, even
stretching back a few months to try to get a couple of those not yet reviewed. Here we go...and expect more next month!
A former Gospel group drummer from Texarkana, Texas, Avail Hollywood is one of
the leaders of the current Southern Soul young guns, further verified by his first album title in the genre in 2009, The Young Gunn Of Southern Soul. He followed this one up with more
successful album releases: Drinking Again
Road (2012), Rehab (2014) and Wasted
Confessions (2015). Each drop has had at least two or more singles to gain significant chart and airplay action. As
I have said in the past, Avail Hollywood's style is to get to the heart of the matter, coming hard bringin' grown folkz music with swag! Writing all of his own
material, Avail has also gained quite a reputation as a producer, which you may see in some of the credits as Christopher
Estell, which is Avail's birth name.
Avail's latest, Old Skool Kinda Girl, just dropped in January. Hmm, Avail looks almost stoic in his album cover picture,
very distinguished! The title track as well as Twenty Five And Up are already receiving some bump. Standing Here Knocking, you know the storyline, is my early fave out
of the nine tracks. Hollywood always applies testimonials to his work, heartfelt pleas telling it like it is. Hit Me Up On Facebook speaks to current everyday occurrences, the way
the world turns. All original compositions, all the time, you have to admire that kind of persistence that has led to his
success. Hip balladry with a funk describes Tight
Jeans groove lines. I'm Sorry Baby
dramatizes the way it too often can end up (as in real life!). This is
yet another album that definitely hits the mark for the unique stylings of Avail Hollywood!
Big G is a long time radio DJ and recording artist on his own Stone River label
from Richmond, Virginia. With his latest release, I count eighteen albums plus a holiday CD issued since 1999, and my count
may be off a little one way or the other! The G Man crafts primarily original
compositions into warbling tunes that resonate with his tenor to baritone ranging voice.
He has had multiple albums on the charts at the same time - a good example is 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. Many of G's singles make for good club and/or house party selections while entertaining the crowds.
Eleven tracks make up Big G's latest entitled Satisfaction Guaranteed.
G Man's mid range vocals are his trademark along with consistent rhythm tracks. The material as we said is pretty much all
original compositions - no deviation from that standard here. Big G has been criticized in the past for all of his work emulating
the same sound, which may have cost him airplay at times across the genre - I find his output however to be smooth and refreshing.
I Found You appears to be the lead
cut so far from the new album - it is charting here and would work at the beach as well.
The title track is a frenetic uptempo mover with a theme of expectations
of prowess. Work That Thang is the
prelude narrative building up to the title cut! Grown
Folks Night and Cross That Bridge are
definite club joints that can pick up the pace of a slow night. My next choice for a charter will likely be Someone Who Knows. Mid-tempo sets of a more somber mood describe You & Me and Tear Drops. Once again,
Big G keeps it rollin' steady, continuing on building a solid reputation toward what will eventually be his legacy!
Rue Davis has been a mainstay in the Southern Soul arena for over 20 years, with
double digit albums to his credit across multiple labels. When I hear his name mentioned, I always think of one key Davis
tune - the phenomenal I'm In Love With The
Girl Next Door , which spent 59 weeks on the Rhythm 'n' Beach Top 40 charts across two years, finishing at #17 in
1995 and at #15 in 1996. He is a tremendous talent, a little bit Johnnie Taylor, a little Al Green, with a straight ahead
mellow but extremely soulful delivery, all the while teetering on the edge of major stardom. Also too often overlooked is
his vast song writing skills and producing, penning tunes for dozens of artists over the years.
Woman is Rue's latest offering on the 1 Stop Graphics label. The title track is the type of bawdy Southern Soul groove that
meets chart expectations, both here at the Corner and on many others. I'm Looking For The Real Thing has chart potential as well. Several of the original tunes on the album seem
to me to be a retrospective of what the Rue Davis message was over the years. The Love of My Life, Can I Hold On To Your Hand, A Woman Needs Love and When I Was Sad are primarily slows and way down lows that are dead on serious
tracks, a couple of which had versions released on earlier albums. Give The Children A Chance and Forgive Them, which were previous single releases,
get even more serious - Rue is down home soulful and real, religious and humble in his phrasing. Would love to see more recognition in the genre going forward for this multi-talented artist!
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. But wait
a minute, Charles was singing in nightclubs in Chicago back in the '60's, cutting his first single in 1964. Just how old IS
Charles Wilson, LOL? 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 more recent 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 and using Blues
labels such as Delmark and Severn when the need arises. Awards along the way include twice receiving the Blues Foundation's
Best Soul/Blues Album of the Year. With two albums released in 2015 (Best Side Of Me and Sweet &
Sour Blues), Mr. Wilson is speeding up instead of slowing down!!
The centerpiece of the latest, Southern Soul Jook Joint, is the six minutes and change remix
and latest iteration of I Dance Better,
this one featuring the vocals of the late great Mel Waiters. Back It Up is a strong jam that was featured as Let Me See You Back It Up on the recent Club Southern Soul 4, nothing wrong with that - it is #2 on our Top 45 this month! Another minute was added
to the rowdy and previously released Plummer
Man, which was a bonafide hit. Ride
Your Body Tonight has also seen the light of day as a single release. Remixes
are included of Think About What You Got (2012
CD title release) and This Bed Ain't Big Enough.
I'm diggin' the straight ahead romps of the new and fresh Another Man Will and Jook Joint, both with potential future charting capability. Turn the lights way
down low when listening to If You Don't Want
Me and Outside Love Affair,
both are new Wilson catalog adds. With a renewed focus on down home Blues of late, Charles Wilson keeps on riding high on
the music trail, as he has for the last 50+ years!
Pokey Bear, un huh!! Pullin' from down deep in Louisiana, Pokey became the rage
last year over more than one iteration of the single My Sidepiece. Replies and follow-ups have abounded from the explosion of this tune. Pokey's first album in
Southern Soul, the highly successful Josephine
Son Pokey, came about in 2013. Soul Dog had it wrong when writing about Pokey in the May 2014 edition of the Corner,
saying it was doubtful that this Pokey was the same as the rapper known as Big Pokey out of Houston who debuted back in the
early '90's and has turned out a whole boatload of tunes over the years. Well Dog, Louisiana sure ain't that far from Houston
and it turns out that the two Pokeys are one in the same! Soul music is a new canvas and Pokey Bear brought a fresh paintbrush!
Pokey's latest album release, Mr. It Ain't Fair, dropped in January. It features twelve tracks with a smorgasbord of guest artists doing
accompaniments including Mystikal, Geno, Lacee', Coldrank, Cupid and more. Cupid and Pokey also collaborated on a single not
on this album that is hot right now entitled Cornbread
And Greens. From this album perspective, One
Night Stand was an advance single release early last year and Good Foot was another early drop last fall. Two slow to mid-tempo jams with an old school Soul feel include
I'm In Love and We Belong Together. The jumpin' If It Ain't The Blues and one of my money shot groove picks, If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It, were also on last year's Beat Flippa's
I Got The Blues Volume 1 compilation.
My other slam banger pick from this album has to be Let Me Be Your Pokeybear. This bad boy is in the #1 slot on the
Top 30 Southern Soul/R&B Chart albums for March - I'm certainly down with it!!
West aka Miss Mini
Soul Dog’s Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul Hits
$ - new entry
1. Ole School Style - Miss Mini
2. (Let Me See You) Back It Up
- Charles Wilson
3. Let's Get It Started - Lady
4. True Love - Carolina Soul Band
5. You Can Get It - Toia Jones
6. Knock Down Inn - Lomax
7. Big Hip Woman - Rue Davis
8. Cornbread & Greens - Cupid
9. A Man's World - Shay Denise
10. I Had To Tell Somebody - LJ Echols
11. I Want Me A Country Girl - Terry Wright
12. Old School Jam - Willie Clayton
13. Get Loose - CoCo Wade
14. Ohhh Baby - Till 1
15. Coke Bottle Frame - Nelson Curry
16. My Main Squeeze - Ghetto Cowboy
17. My Time To Shine - Shirley Jones
18. Mississippi Delta - Theodis Ealey
19. When She Said Goodbye - Tucka
20. Trail Ride - Jaye Hammer
21. Pop It Baby - Donnie Ray
22. Give My Love 2 U - Ms Yanni
23. Little Bit - Rob Hewz
24. Mississippi Folks - OB Buchana
25. Double Dealer - Ms. Jody
26. Stand By Man - Mr. Sam
27. Cheatin' Is The Only Way To Go - Sonny Mack $
28. Cancel Him - LaRose Jackson
29. Standing Here Knocking - Avail Hollywood $
30. Right Kind Of Woman - Andre' Lee
31. Drop That Thang - J Red
32. Dancin' -
Klass Band Brotherhood
33. Steps To Love - Sweet Angel
34. Zydeco With Me - Jeter Jones
35. I Found You - Big G
36. We Gone Party - J Wonn
37. He Put A Rockin' Chair On Me - LeAundra Lively
38. You Gotta Let It Go - Carl Marshall w/ Gary Brown
39. Make Her Feel It - Tony Tatum
40. Candy Lover - Mys. Niki
41. I Will - Black Diamond
42. That's My Baby - Superior Band with Miss Rebekah $
43. We Jukin' - Nelson Curry with Jerone Da Entertainer
44. If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It - Pokey Bear
45. Love On The Dance Floor - Lady Di $