Southern Soul Corner March 2016

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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 (2011),  Country 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.

The 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.


Big Hip 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!!




                                   Catrese West  aka  Miss Mini



 Soul Dog’s Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul Hits

                                           March/April 2016


       $ - 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 Audrey   

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 w/ Pokey   

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                             $





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