Southern Soul Corner March 13

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Corner Talk: One of the hottest dances of the last decade was precipitated by a young man named Cupid (real name Bryson Bernard) with his signature song Cupid Shuffle. The former University of Louisiana-Lafayette track and field recruit first hit it big in 2006 with this tune that swept the nation by storm. It has admittedly been slow going for Cupid since that point in time, as he so stated in his tryout last year on NBC's reality hit series The Voice. One of the show's judges, Cee-Lo Green, recognized him, seeming genuinely surprised that he was there.  Cupid had tried to duplicate the Cupid Shuffle success without much luck with follow-up dance tunes such as Do My Ladies Run This Party, Happy Dance and The Love Slide. He has a new album just released entitled Positopia with a track, Old School, that has hit the Southern Soul charts. I am also understanding that a dance cut, 369, from Cupid's very first album (Time For A Change) is getting some heavy play on the North Myrtle Beach scene. Hopefully this is an indication that more good things are ahead for this hard working individual trying to make a living in today's very tough music business!



Ms. Jody's latest release entitled Still Strokin', is her eighth album on the Memphis based Ecko Records since joining the label back in 2006. Born in Chicago and raised in Mississippi, she is the daughter of a minister. Growing up singing in the church, she gave little thought to a professional singing career until several friends encouraged her to take a trip to the Ecko studios for a tryout. The staff was impressed, several tunes from her first album, You're My Angel, jumped off, and Ms. Jody has never looked back. She has quickly established herself as one of the current leading ladies of Southern Soul.


This latest album immediately went to number one on the Blues Critic's Top 40 Chart, where Jody was also just voted the Southern Soul Artist Of the Year for 2012. The title track is smokin' hot in both the Southern Soul and Beach music arenas, where it completely fills up the dance floor. Ms. Jody re-creates the magic of the late Quinn Golden on her rendition of Dance Party. I really like the electricity on the upbeat grooves of It's A Reunion,  Just Let Me Ride, Where Can I Find A Good Man and Your Man Was Looking For That Good Thing. She borrows a Big Cynthia theme from a few years back on Ms. Jody Don't Mind Breakin' Up Somebody's Home. Eleven tracks total – another outstanding energetic release for the highly entertaining Ms. Jody. 


L.J. Echols has quietly over the last few years become one of the brightest new rising stars in Southern Soul. Originally from Bassfield, Mississippi, L.J. got his start in music singing in a Gospel group that included his parents and siblings. Later moving to Dallas, he started a new group that had somewhat limited success. Echols decided to forgo the Gospel genre, entering the Southern Soul arena in 2005. His first album, Well Runs Dry, in 2007 on the Baby Boy label yielded hit tunes with the title track as well as Thank You Mamma. L.J. followed that one up in 2009 on Neckbone Records with the album Another Level. Hits from this release included 14-16, I'm Gone Party and the smash success of the risque From The Back, which went to #1 in Southern Soul. It took almost two years after being released for this tune to catch on in the Beach market, but it has remained in the Smokin' Top 45 for the last year.


L.J. has spent quite a bit of time touring to promote his music over the last two years. He has built the reputation of being one of the biggest crowd pleasers on the live circuit.  Echols' latest effort, also on Neckbone, entitled New Beginning, was released last August. Another strong album, it now has the distinction of having two songs, Peter Pumpkin Eater and Good Motor, in the current Southern Soul Top 25. I also like the energetic grooves of In Your Hips and Shake Somethin. The down side of what can go wrong in relationships is the clear message in both Sneaky Girl and I Want A Divorce. Besides the fact that he is an outstanding singer, L.J. has also developed into an accomplished songwriter, having penned all twelve of the tunes on this latest album. It appears that Mr. Echols is just getting warmed up when it comes to successes in the Southern Soul market!!  



Charles Wilson's career goes all the way back to the mid-'60's. He was singing in clubs in the Chicago area before he was old enough to legally drink. The nephew of the late great Little Milton, Wilson was raised around some of the greats, eventually touring with Bobby Rush, Tyrone Davis, Z.Z. Hill, Otis Clay and Bobby 'Blue' Bland.  He has been a mainstay in the Southern Soul arena for the last twenty-five years. Charles' first album in the genre was Blues In The Key Of C, released in 1991 on the Ichiban label. He has since had multiple album releases on Ecko, Delmark, Traction, Severn, Delta, his own Wilson Records and most recently on the California based CDS Records label. Ecko released The Best Of Charles Wilson in 2006, containing fourteen of his hits on the label, including In The Room Next To The Room, Two Steps Behind, Love Seat, Over At Fannie Mae's and Let's Stomp.


Wilson's latest, Think About What You Got, is his fourth album release on CDS since signing on with them in 2007. This one appears to be a composite roll-up of previously released hits and 'mash up' remixes as well as some new jams. Previous singles include: Pay Myself First, Plumber Man, Broke Into My Heart, Something Different About You (with Mel Waiters) and That Girl Belongs To Me (with Willie Clayton). There are two solid remixes – That Boom! and You Got That Sex Appeal. The title track as well as Weight Ain't Nothing and Man Enough To Apologize are slow burners that require the lights to be turned way down low! This Bed Ain't Big Enough was the advance tune from the album that has gotten some air play.  The sleeper track that will most likely be on my next month's Top 45 chart is a straight ahead groover entitled I'm Not Afraid To Love. Charles has been at it over forty five plus years and shows no signs of slowing down - his best may still be yet to come!!   




Have you ever heard of '60's/'70's Soul songstress Ruby Winters?

Many music lovers have not – although her career was comparatively brief, she turned out some outstanding singles in her day. Ruby was born in Louisville, Kentucky but raised in Cincinnati. She began recording on the New York City based Diamond Records label in 1966. She scored a Top 20 R&B hit a year later, a duet with Johnny Thunder entitled Make Love To Me. Two more Top 20 hits would follow for Ruby on Diamond, I Don't Want To Cry in 1969 and Guess Who in 1970. Additional killer singles during this period include Better, Just Like A Yo-Yo, Sweetheart Things and I Don't Want To Hurt Nobody.


Ruby continued to record on subsequent labels such as Polydor, Playboy and Millennium throughout the '70's with a couple more brief chart appearances but otherwise limited success. It is interesting that just as her time on the charts in this country began to fade, she became a big hit in Great Britain. Her 1974 rendition of I Will on Polydor, was re-released on the Creole label in 1977, going to #4 that year on the UK singles chart. Ruby followed this up with several more charters in the UK, including Come To Me, I Won't Mention It Again and Baby Lay Down. These tunes, along with additional tracks that were just Soul dynamite like Back On My Mind Again and That's What You Do To Me, are included in a Ruby album entitled Songbird, which was released on the K-Tel Distribution label. The label also released a twenty-eight track Best Of Ruby Winters compilation back in 2007. Unfortunately, Ruby is another example of an outstanding artist from that era that definitely did not get the recognition that she deserved.






Some older but not to be forgotten tunes currently playing on the Dog's Southern Soul Jukebox. Release label and year included:


Z.Z. Hill – Let's Make A Deal    Columbia  1978

Wilson Meadows – Memories Keep Hangin' On   Ichiban  1997 

Denise LaSalle – If You Can't Do Me Right   Malaco 1988

Bobby Jonz – Love Mission    Ace 1997

Cicero Blake –Ain't Nothing Wrong   Mardi Gras  2003

Lou Pride -  Love Of Mine    Ichiban  1997

Pat Brown – This Girl Needs A Tune Up    Avanti    1998

Marvin Sease – Tell Me Why    Polygram   1989

Barbara Carr – Let A Real Woman Try   Ecko  2000

Mel Waiters – Your Kitchen Was Closed   Waldoxy  2003

Quinn Golden – I'm Gonna Be A Man About It   Ecko  2001

Ronnie Lovejoy – Nothin' Bother Me    Goodtime   2000

Lynn White – Don't Let Success  Waylo 1988

Chuck Roberson – Back In The Day    Ecko 2000

Little Milton – Don't Turn Away  Henry Stone 1976

Shirley Brown – You Ain't Got To Hide Your Man   Malaco 1996

David Brinston – Two Way Love Affair  Ecko   2007

Kenne' Wayne – The Party Ain't Over   MTE 2001

Floyd Taylor – We're Going Out On The Town   Malaco 2005

Rue Davis – Won't You Try Me   Avanti 1998

Dorothy Moore – Blues In The Night   Malaco  1992

Willie Clayton – Once Upon A Time   Ace   1994

Donnie Ray - I'll Be Good To You     Ecko   2005

Jackie Jackson – Are You With Me  Evejim 2004

Johnnie Taylor – No Refund  Malaco 1986