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Southern Soul Corner Feb 12

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Southern Soul Corner

       With The Soul Dog 

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Corner Talk:  Bustin' loose this month is a song straight outta Montreal, Canada by a soulful duet that just makes listening to it a chilling experience. Big Party was previously recorded in 1964 as the initial release of Barbara and the Browns. First issued on the independent Wil Mo label, the song was quickly picked up by '60's Memphis powerhouse Stax Records. Michelle Sweeney and Kenny Hamilton have now brought new life to this 47 year old tune with a version that just resonates with pure down home Southern Soul. If you close your eyes, the mid-tempo beat and smoky lyrics take you back to another place in time. Expect this one to move up the charts in a big way!

 

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Ms. Jody's latest release on Ecko Records, Ms. Jody's In The House,  is her 7th album on the label and likely the best to date! It has already received award nominations and critical acclaim from the industry. Her previously  released duet with David Brinston, Something I Want, (included here) has climbed the charts in recent weeks. She testifies hard on the travails of life with When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Anymore, on both a radio and an extended version.  Lovin' the upbeat jammin' on Come A Little Closer, Just A Little Bit Won't Get It, Southern Soul Dip (line dance) and I Did It. Slow tunes really highlight Ms. Jody's ability to not just go with the song flow but really demonstrate singing talent – Let Me Be Your Shoulder and I Never Knew Good Love Could Hurt So Bad are no exception. This is a quality product front to back.  Some credit has to be given to the excellent songwriters at Ecko – John Ward, Raymond Moore, Joanne Delapaz and Gerod Rayborn who create outstanding material for Ms. Jody to record. But they can't sing it for her – she is doing a stellar job of that all on her own!

Classic Soul and R&B Holiday Compilations

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Sonny Mack is a journeyman guitarist that got his start playing with veteran bluesman Bobby Rush. That matriculated into gigs with Koko Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Lee Shot Williams, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, B.B. King, Little Milton and the list continues. Going For Gold is his inaugural release on the Ecko label and believe me it is a good one. The album consists of 14 tracks, all either written or co-written by William Norris. Playing Catch Up, Midnight Man, Let Me Change My Mind and It's Saturday Night are the tracks that caught my ear. Tight vocals and soul of the blues is dominant throughout the album. It is an auspicious beginning for Sonny in this market, who is sure to be heard from for a long while.

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I am digging Richmond, Virginia's Big G on his September, 2011 release of All About Me on the Stone River Records label. Several tunes have been getting radio and club play including the lead off album track entitled Get It On.  Personal favorites are Walk Away, Chillin', Have A Good Time and Bad Self. I am an upbeat tempo fan but the big man also brings the mail on the slower and mid-tempo cuts like My Special Prayer, Love Me Right and So Long. G also incorporated Beach music into the mix with one appropriately titled Myrtle Beach.  All the tunes, including the title track,  have that classic Big G vocal groove that has made him so popular on the circuit.  The G Man is a disciple of Roy C, getting his start as the opening act for Roy in the late 90's (not a bad mentor to have!!). He has also doubled as a Radio DJ in the Richmond area for several years. This is another solid release for Big G – keepin' it real with original material!

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Much props are certainly in order for the recently recognized artists who received 2011 ''Best Of'' Awards from Daddy B. Nice's Corner, one of the most comprehensive of all websites devoted to Soul music. Among the winners were a few of this column's recent favorites:  Best Out-a Left Field Song, Jealous Wo-Man, Yes I Am by LGB, Best Cover Song, Gone On Part 2 (A Tribute To Marvin Sease) by Larry Shannon Hargrove, Best Club (Uptempo Song), Too Much Booty Shakin' by Sir Jonathan Burton, Best Debut G-Slide by Gina Brown and Best Ballad, In Love By Yourself by Charles 'Big Daddy' Stallings.  Congratulations to all the winners across the 15 different categories!!

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We lost another monumental R&B/Blues/Soul artist on Friday, January 20th. Jamesetta Hawkins, better known to the music world as Etta James, fell victim to her recent battle with leukemia. Ironically, the man who discovered her and put her to work travelling and performing with his band, Johnny Otis, also passed away the same week in January. Etta's long career spanned more than 50 years, she had 27 albums hit the Billboard charts, received 2 Grammy Awards and pretty much redefined what female Blues singing was all about. She signed with Chess Records in 1960, not long before the label was turning the corner to emerge from the harder core Blues of the '50's, taking on a more sophisticated Blues mix blended with the R&B/Soul sound evolving in the '60's. Etta fit the bill perfectly, soaring with hit tunes such as Something's Got A Hold Of Me, Tell Mama, All I Could Do Was Cry, I'd Rather Go Blind, Security, Pushover, Pay Back, Stop The Wedding and the immortal At Last. She became legendary over the years in all music circles and was elected to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Although Etta battled personal demons most of her long career she continued to persevere. Her last album of original material, entitled The Dreamer, was released in November of 2011 on the Verve Forecast label. Etta's influence in music will live on for many years to come.                           

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Veteran soulster Clay Hammond has a hot new track (Wife, Woman, Hootchie) that is beginning to get breakout air and club play. This comes 52 years after Clay recorded his very first single. Following a two year gig with The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Clay released The Perfect Couple on the Tag label in 1959. Many relatively unknown singles followed over the next 30 years (some that were recorded but went un-released until much later), squeezed in between a 7 year gig as the lead singer of The Rivingtons and a stint with one of the Drifters groups. Clay may have been first known as a songwriter, penning Part Time Love, initially recorded by Little Johnny Taylor in 1962 followed by another 100 or so versions over the last 40 years. Check out the Kent UK release of Southern Soul Brothers, which contains 16 Hammond written and recorded tunes from the '60's. Classic Soul at its best!!

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There are so many fine individuals working hard to make it in the Southern Soul arena. I always like to spotlight up and coming songs from artists that may not have yet received the attention of the fans and/or the radio and club DJs.  Here is yet another list of tunes from said artists that definitely could be on the rise. When you get the opportunity, check these songs out as well as others from this group of talented performers.

 

Lady Audrey – Big Girls Swang

J.B. HendricksI Wanna Go Back

G'Que – Party

Mia Borders – Making Love To A Memory

Jimmie Ja – You Got It Going On

T. Honey Brown – You Fooled Me This Time

Mizz L – Sugar Pie

Jesi Terrell – Love Mechanic

Marquee of Soul – Messed Up

Adrena – Footloose

Lavish Truesoul – Swing Out King

La'Que – Give Me Some Credit

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I would be remiss to fail to mention the recent birthday of the amazing Bobby 'Blue' Bland. Robert Calvin Bland turned 82 years young on January 27th, one of the lasting pioneers of R&B/Blues that is still going strong. His recording career began a phenomenal 61 years ago with his first singles releasing on the Chicago based Chess label. Hundreds of Bobby B songs have been recorded since that point in time, all holding fast to the indomitable style that is Bobby's alone. The legendary Bland continues to perform live - he will be in the show lineup at selected sites in the next 2 months for The Blues Is Alright Tour. Be sure to catch it at a site near you!

 

 

 Soul Dog’s 15 Top Southern Soul Tunes From 2005

   

     Yo Dress Is Too Short - Bob Steele

     I Get By - Omar Cunningham

     Shoo Da Wop - Mr. David and Sir Charles Jones

     Bad Love Affair - Marvin Sease

     Down In Da Club - Jackie Neal

     We’re Going Out On The Town – Floyd Taylor

     Bring Your Own Party - Robert Hill

     I'll Be Good To You - Donnie Ray         

     Hey Mista - Roy C

     Being With You - Big G

     Back Yard Party - Vince Hutchinson

     The Love You Threw Away – Denise LaSalle

     All in the Family – Chairmen of the Board

     Are You With Me - Jackie Jackson

     House Party – Billy Ray Charles

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