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Southern Soul Corner Dec 12

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November - December Edition

 

Corner Talk: What is Hot, Hot, Hot? Well, Ms. Jody's latest on Ecko Records, Still Strokin', is definitely smokin' on my laptop!!! Peggy Scott-Adams' Not Good Enough To Marry is rockin' the top of the Southern Soul charts. The Al Green & LaMorris Williams duet on You Make Me Happy has done well of late. Other recent chart movers include: Bring Back My Blues from Donnie Ray, Theodis Ealey's Slow Grindin', Grown Folks by The Bar-Kays, Lifestyles Of The Poor And Unknown from The Total Package Band, Nathaniel Kimble's That Juice, Chuck Roberson's Chuck Strut, You Can't Watch Your Wife (And Your Woman Too) from RB & Company, and Bigg Robb's Lookin' For A Country Girl. November - December Edition

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Ecko Records comes right back with another outstanding compilation in Blues Mix:9 Southern Soul Blues (it is hard to keep up, I just reviewed Mix:8 last month!). The aforementioned Still Strokin' by Ms. Jody may prove to be one of the hottest floor fillers in several months on the Beach music circuit.  O.B. Buchana's Mr. Telephone Man has been on my chart for the last few months and should, in my opinion, be a bonafide hit. Mr. Sam is a newcomer to the label – Just Like Dat included here is also the bangin' title track to his new album.  Brenda Yancey hits hard with a throaty brassiness on I Want Some (Southern Soul, that is). One of the late Lee Shot Williams' first hits on Ecko some fifteen plus years ago, I'll Take The Risk is reprised here and could chart all over again. Old School Music Mood is the previous killer hit I'm In A Beach Music Mood reworked from Rick Lawson. Donnie Ray is currently the hottest male vocalist on the label – he checks in here with Southern Soul Blues Slide and You Keep Taking My Love Away. Slow to mid tempo tunes from Sheba Potts-Wright, David Brinston, Jaye Hammer and Sonny Mack round out the compilation. Twelve tracks in all, the CD press rolls on strong in Memphis, Tennessee!

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Anthony Watson is a name that may not be that familiar to Southern Soul fans but he has been around in Soul music circles for many years. Anthony actually replaced Eugene Record in The Chi-Lites and toured off and on with them in the '80's and '90's. He had a contract and multiple album releases on Amherst Records, the same label that recorded The Stylistics.

His latest release on CDS Records, Wonderful, definitely has several tunes that roll with a Southern Soul groove. Steppin' Out Tonight leads off the album, a solid mover that is already getting radio attention. Get You Some Business is an uptempo track that also has hit potential. Keep Puttin' It On Ya is kind of a laid back swagger that creeps up with a funky New Orleans  feel to it. The Watson composed Kiss You (Where I Miss You) is reprised here – it is the same song that the late Tyrone Davis covered on his 2000 Relaxin' With Tyrone album. Anthony pays homage to the importance of family on That's My Momma. Eleven tracks on the release with additional extended versions of three of the tunes – plus a nice Christmas mix (Merry Christmas Jesus) complete with a choir. Nice work from what to date has been a very underrated singer/songwriter!

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Terence Kimble, aka T.K. Soul, burst on the Southern Soul scene in 2002 and has not slowed down since his first album drop. He has received several accolades over the last ten years including Blues Critic's Best Southern Soul Album (Undisputed) for 2007 and 2009's Best Male Vocal Performance on Rehab. He has scored major hits in the genre with tunes like Cheating And Lying, Party Like Back In The Day, Try Me, Baby I Love You, Meet Me At The Spot, They Wanna Party and Zydeco Bounce. T.K. is consistently named as one of the hardest working crowd pleasers on the live show Blues circuit each and every year.

 

Ghetto Superstar is the sixth album to date for T.K., all on his own Soulful Entertainment label. The breakout advance hit from the new release has been the jammin' We Gonna Party Tonight. There is a potential new line dance/booty scooter on The Soul Glide - the album title track (subtitled Keep On Steppin) also has a strong dance groove. I like the upbeat vocals T.K. cuts loose with on A Good Man and Take Care Of Home. The funk laden Blues To Southern Soul talks about the evolution of then to now in terms of where the music is today. Ten tracks and three short snipets, the release debuted at #9 on the Southern Soul Top 40 Albums chart with #1 certainly in its sights. Another home run for one of the industry's brightest young stars!

 

 

 

 

 

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Legendary performers Eddie Floyd (left) and William Bell singing together at The Carolina Beach Music Awards show at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. on November 11, 2012. Both were hired as staff writers in the 'mid '60's at Stax Records in Memphis just as Soul music was coming of age. Each wrote many songs for others, but also scored major hit tunes in their own right. Forty five plus years later, they are both still going strong!

Photo courtesy of Rickie Lipscomb Photography – www.fotozbyrickie.com.

  

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Merry Christmas!

 

There have been a number of individual Christmas albums over the years from Soul/Blues music artists, containing songs that have that a Southern Soul groove while staying true to the meaning and the spirit of the season. Here are a few good ones that are still available either on the primary or secondary market.

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Bobby Womack's tremendous 1999 Traditions album led off with an adult version letter to the big man at the North Pole (Dear Santa Claus, there was also a children's version included) and killer jam versions of This Christmas and Christmas Just Ain't Christmas (first recorded by The O'Jays and covered by many). The traditional interpretations of classics like The First Noel, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Joy To The World, Jingle Bells, The Christmas Song and Silent Night are also included on this seventeen track release.

 

The late J. Blackfoot paid homage to the holiday season with his 1997  album entitled This Christmas. He gets the spirit rolling on tunes such as Christmas Tree, Hey! Merry and A Christmas Medley. Chantreuse Ann Hines makes guest appearances on Ave Maria and Away In A Manger, Soul diva Denise LaSalle is featured on Santa's Got The Blues and Charles Brown performing his immortal classic Please Come Home For Christmas is included here as well. Blackfoot brings it home on He Shall Be Called Wonderful and He Shall Reign. A really good mix overall of seasonal cheer.

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Richmond, Virginia's Big G doesn't come up short when you talk about holiday tunes. A Southern Soul Christmas, released in 2008, contains an original dancer for Jolly Old St. Nick, called The Santa Claus Slide. G's cover of William Bell's Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday is righteous Southern Soul. There's a midnight low and slow groove entitled Save Your Love For Christmas as well as G's interpretations on classics Silver Bells, White Christmas and Merry Christmas Baby. Good holiday sounds from the big man.

 

We lost the legendary Etta James earlier this year but her music will live on forever. Her 1998 release of 12 Songs Of Christmas is an outstanding collection that pays tribute to the timeless classics. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bells are just a few examples of the light jazz infused vocal stylings of Ms. James.  She closes the album with O Holy Night – singing it both in English and in French! The overall flow on this great album makes it a good one to have on the player during the festive holiday season. 

 

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Cincinnati's Bigg Robb gave us Merry Christmas From The Bigg Man in 2004 in what has become his signature 'funkarapadelic' style. He has taken the rhythms of his days with Zapp and Roger to a new level. There are some great holiday tunes on this album including a very liberal interpretation of This Christmas. One of my all time favorites, I'm Coming From Christmas, is a true original, as is I Want A Bigg Woman For Christmas and Can I Jingle Your Bell This Christmas? The harmonious Da Brides of Bigg Robb are called upon to deliver What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas and  In A Holiday Mood. Unique vibes throughout to be sure but strong holiday music just the same.

 

Celebrated singer/songwriter Carl Marshall dropped Christmas Southern Soul Style in 2009, with the title track and eight more of the eleven song total being original Carl material. Most of the tracks have an upbeat juke groove, including I Fell In The Love On The Holidays, I'm So Glad It's Christmas Time, Here Comes Christmas and All I Want Is You For My Christmas Present. There are a couple of slow jams – I'll Be Home For Christmas and Be With Me For Christmas. Marshall closes the album with the reverent Silent Night, Battle Hymn Of The Republic and The Birth Of Jesus.

 

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Awesome Soul songstress Candi Staton released Christmas In My Heart in 2001, a gospel influenced coupling of ten tunes with a mix of bluesy stylings included as well. The title track along with What Kind Of Child Is This, Wise Men Still Seek Him, Christmas Is On The Way and On A Christmas Night are strong originals that were either written or co-written by Candi. She honors the traditional with solid renditions of Joy To The World, Go Tell It On The Mountains and Come Let Us Adore Him. Another good selection to put on the CD changer while making the egg nog!

 

 

Candi's former husband, the indomitable Clarence Carter, rolled out A Christmas Party in 2010. The title track is definitely a groove that should be included in any holiday throw down. His '60's hit Back Door Santa is updated with a minute plus added to the original. The remaining seven tracks are all classics done in Dr. C.C. style – from Merry Christmas Baby and Please Come Home For Christmas to Jingle Bells, White Christmas and Silent Night are full of the robust energy that Clarence always brings forth in his vocal artistry.

 

 

Soul Dog's Christmas Blues and Soul Smokin' Top 45 

 

 

  1. I Want To Be Your Santa Claus - Ronnie Lovejoy

  2. Christmas Gift - Margie Joseph

  3. I'm Coming For Christmas - Bigg Robb

  4. This Christmas I’ll Be Waiting For You - Ms Jody

  5. Gonna Have A Merry Christmas - Kip Anderson

  6. Christmas Just Ain't Christmas - O'Jays

  7. Santa Bring My Baby Back - O.B. Buchana

  8. White Christmas Blues - Huey Smith 

  9. Santa (Please Bring My Baby Home)   - Chairmen of the Board

10. White Christmas - Drifters

11. Mr. Claus Is Cheating - Bill Coday & Karen Wolfe

12. Frosty The Bluesman - Heywood Banks 

13. Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas - Staple Singers                                                                            

14.  I'm Coming Home For Christmas - Impressions 

15. Christmas Loving - Peggy Scott-Adams

16. It's Just Not Christmas - Chuck Leavill

17. Merry Christmas, Baby -  Donnie Ray

18. Please Come Home For Christmas - Charles Brown

19. (All I Want For Christmas) Is To Lay Around And Love On You - Chick Willis

20. Stay A Little Longer Santa - Shemekia Copeland

21. Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday - William Bell

22. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love

23. Christmas Comes But Once A Year - Marva Wright

24. This Christmas – Donnie Hathaway

25. Merry Christmas My Baby - Sweet Angel

26. Love For Christmas - Gems

27. I Need A Man Down My Chimney - Barbara Carr

28. Christmas In Heaven - Billy Ward & the Dominoes

29. Double Crossed By Santa Claus - Billy 'Soul' Bonds

30. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Impressions

31. I Need A Lover For Christmas - Sheba-Potts Wright

32. Christmas Means Love - Soul Stirrers

33. I Pray On Christmas - Solomon Burke & Blind Boys of Alabama

34. What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas - Da Brydes of Bigg Robb

35. Santa Claus Got The Blues - Bill Pinkney's Drifters

36. Can You Slip Away For Christmas – Mr. X

37.  A Lonely Christmas - Willie Clayton

38. Santa Stole My Baby - Cicero Blake

39. Silver Bells - Wilson Pickett

40. Hole In The Wall Christmas – Mel Waiters

41. Back Door Santa - Clarence Carter

42. Christmas Party – W.C. Clark

43. Be There For Christmas - Ledisi

44. Presents For Christmas – Solomon Burke

45. Joy To The World - Teddy Pendergrass

 

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