Corner Talk: New artists and new music, steady rollin' and it keeps on coming. Names
that are not that familiar in the Southern Soul arena are popping up all over. Avana, Chili Most, Aham Smith, Moses Blu, Decarlo
Bonds, Val McKnight, Ms. Tabatha, Antoine Dunn, Greta Prince, Jarekus Singleton,
Jureesa McBride, Lamont Starr, Jerome MacKall and more. Most if not all of these
artists have released new music over the last calendar year, hoping to catch a star on the rise. Although some of the recordings
are not necessarily intended for this market, they ultimately have ended up on Southern Soul radio charts. I must admit I
haven't fully researched all of these up and coming artists but, as time permits, I certainly intend to do so.
new star definitely on the rise is current young gun Certified Slim. Originally
from the Washington, D.C. area, he is currently based in Texas. Slim's 2010 Birthday Suit album was highly acclaimed, with the title track voted as one of the Best Debuts and Best Ballads
of the year. A remix of the tune featuring Mel Waiters was also included on the release.
There is a good mix of club and dance cuts on the album, but the mid tempo grooves and ballad tracks are what really
demonstrate Slim's outstanding singing talent. He has quickly become an audience favorite when performing at live shows and
has recently signed on with the legendary Miami based Henry Stone Music with his new album drop targeted for September 18th.
An early limited release of the jammin' single Move Somethin' has already resulted in rave reviews. (I was fortunate
enough to be able to play the song for both Southern Soul and Beach crowds with great results). Once officially released,
expect this tune to rocket up the charts. I have not yet heard all the tracks on the forthcoming album but two I am familiar
with, Lease To Own and A Glass Of Wine, are also gonna do well. This young 'Southern Soul
Guru' is just getting warmed up and on deck for stardom! It's Certified Slim,
native Sweet Angel hit the ground running in Southern Soul about five years ago and has not looked back. She came in with
an already polished sound that resembled a seasoned veteran of singing and recording. Her first album, initially released
independently, was picked up for re-print and distribution by Ecko Records. Three more successful releases on the label have
followed since that point in time. An accomplished instrumentalist on clarinet and saxophone, Angel carries over some of the
jazz infused notes in her bold and straight ahead delivery of the music. A whole host of Angel's singles - Mike's Place, Another Man's Meat On My Plate, Back It Up And Slow Roll It,
I'm Leaving, Good Girls Do Bad Things, Butt Up, I'm Moving Up, I'd Rather Be By Myself, Last Night Was Your Last Night, Roll,
A Girl Like Me – either charted or got strong consideration and/or radio play across the genre.
Angel's latest, Mr. Wrong Gonna Get This Love
Tonight, is a departure from Ecko Records, with the release coming on her own label.
The lead cut so far from this ten track effort has been Love Thief, which is already climbing the charts. Angel takes
it to the club on the rollicking Juking At
The Hole In The Wall, Zydeco Funk and Blow
That Thang Again. Touch Me
is a strong torch melody that also has an instrumental track included as well. I've seen some positive comments on her stirring
rendition of Purple Rain, a song I would love to see her perform in a live setting. The
album represents another strong effort from undoubtedly one of the current leading ladies in Southern Soul!
Louisiana native and veteran bluesman Willie West grew up listening to the likes of Guitar Slim
and James 'Thunderbird' Davis. Bitten by the music bug, he formed his first band and began performing gigs in local clubs.
His talent was recognized by the industry early on - Willie has recorded and performed with some of the best over the years.
Along the way, he collaborated on recordings with such producers as Cosimo Matassa, Wardell Quezerque, Allen Touissaint and
Marshall Sehorn. Spending the bulk of his career in the New Orleans area, Willie
provided backup working gigs with Solomon Burke, Lee Dorsey, Jimmy Reed and Freddie King, among others. He also joined the
legendary Meters in the late '70's, spending several years in the band. Willie's first foray into the Southern Soul arena
was a 1996 album From West With Love on the independent Nikkie label.
Willie now resides in the Minneapolis area, having
moved there after Hurricane Katrina. His latest album, Can't Help Myself,
on CDS subsidiary Aviara Records is hitting big, currently on the Blues Critic Top 40 albums chart. Not As Sweet
As You is the one out of the gate getting air play so far, but I also like the upbeat movement of the album title
track, the funky red beans and rice flavored Come On Back To New Orleans
and the straight ahead soulful grooves on Ain't Going For That. Ten tracks in all, here's hoping this is the
start of more great things to come for Willie West!
It is time once again to check on what our Beach music club and radio DJs are including from the
Southern Soul genre on their play lists. We do this about every six months
or so to get a reading on the ongoing influence this market has on our contributors here at beachmusic45. Since our last report in April 2012, approximately 65% of the songs now being reported are new entries,
which is a fairly good indicator that the DJ's are rotating through some of the more current releases. Here are the latest
from the various charts:
Back In The Day Cafe – Andre' Lee
A Love To Call Mine – Johnnie Taylor
I'm Going Back – Donnie Ray
The Party Don't Get Started – Sir Jonathan Burton
Soul School – Mr. David
Who's Rockin' You – Donnie Ray
The Bop – Ms. Jody
Still The One – Carl Sims
Staying In Love With You – Ghetto Cowboy
From The Back – LJ Echols
I'm Gonna Try Again – Donnie Ray
I Just Love Women – David Brinston
Turn Back The Hands Of Time – Willie Clayton
Bang That Thang – O.B. Buchana
Man On A Mission – Willie Hill
Hanging On By A Thread – Barbara Carr
Smile – Willie Clayton
Quiet As It's Kept – Marvin Sease
Crazy 'Bout That Woman In Red – Floyd Taylor
So Sweet So Fine – Vick Allen
Keep Singing The Blues – Chick Willis
Not As Sweet As You – Willie West
Mindz Entertainment out of Birmingham, Alabama has had a significant presence in Southern Soul over the last decade but without
a lot of fanfare. The man with the master plan is former Chess Records recording artist Tony Gideon, who has been in the music
business oh, only for the last fifty-five years or so!! The label had early success with recordings from veteran artists Roscoe
Robinson, Bill Avery and Bob Steele as well as collaborative distribution efforts with artists such as Jerry L and Pat Brown.
It has been the relative newcomers, however, that have been charting in recent years. Leon McMullen's Midnight Rendevous, Gus Geeter's It's Too Late and James Morgan's I Am All Good (With My Baby) are strong examples. Currently, Sound Mindz is literally on fire with young guns
and up and coming divas – Sergio Davis (Let's
Go), T. Honey Brown (You Fooled Me
This Time) Mr. X (Keep On Talking
and She Put That Stroke On Me) and
a killer track from Jesi Terrell (Love Mechanic)
are showing up on multiple radio charts. Tony has a song, I Love You Like The Wind, getting action as well. More props are needed for this fine organization delivering
quality recordings consistently in Southern Soul!