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Southern Soul Corner June 13

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Corner Talk: The smokin' hot tunes in Southern Soul?  She's Got That Ooo Wee from Jerry L, Still Strokin' by Ms. Jody, Sir Jonathan Burton's Can't Touch This, Pat Cooley's Bring It Baby, Think It Over by Theodis Ealey featuring Lacee, Mel Waiters with Who's Got The Whiskey, Ready To Go by Shirley Jones, Good Love from Klass Band Brotherhood, Latimore's Hit The Road Jack, Lady Audrey's Prescription For My Love Addiction, On My Way Home by LaMorris Williams and Jeff Floyd's Party Time are all in at least one Top 10 chart this month as well getting a lot of burn on the air and in the clubs!

 

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How many performing artists have gone by either their first or last name  Latimore or Lattimore with two t's? Well, a few -  there was Memphis native the late Lattimore Brown, who played the Blues circuit in the '60's and '70's while recording some minor hits on the Excello, Sound Stage 7 and Stax labels. There is Kenny Lattimore, an established R&B singer originally from Washington, D.C, who scored six Billboard charting albums between 1996 and 2008. Alex Lattimore, a Chicago native, who has toured with Tina Turner, Michael McDonald and the late Luther Van Dross among others, is a contemporary R&B/Jazz artist who had a debut solo album in 2008. Jacob Latimore, currently residing in Atlanta is a young gun in R&B circles whose father and uncles made up a Milwaukee based group known as The Latimore Brothers.

 

The individual with this name that we recognize as legendary in the Soul/Blues arena however, is veteran performer Benny Latimore. Simply known by most as Latimore, this powerful vocalist got his start with Miami music mogul Henry Stone way back in 1965. Recording on the Dade label and later for Stone's Glades Productions, Latimore had a #1 Billboard R&B hit in 1974 on Let's Straighten It Out, a tune he penned that is so strong that it has been covered many times by multiple artists over the years. He began a twenty year run with the keeper of the flame, Malaco Records, in the early '80's that resulted in several highly acclaimed albums with such killer singles as Bad Risk, Good Time Man, There's No Limit To My Love, Snuggle Up With Somebody, Sunshine Lady, Deal Down And Dirty, Get Up Start Dancing, I'm An Old Dog, My Mind Went Blank, and Careful Man.

 

Latimore reunited with Henry Stone in 2007, initiating the new Latstone label with the highly successful Back 'Atcha album containing hit singles 'Nanna Puddin' and My Give A Damn Gave Out (A Long Time Ago). Follow-up releases: All About The Rhythm And The Blues in 2009, Latimore Live In Vienna in 2010, Ladies Choice in 2011 and Getting Down To Brass Tacks earlier this year.

 

Latimore currently has two brand new album releases on Latstone. Latimore Remembers Ray Charles is a fitting ten track tribute to the Blind Genius Of Soul all sung in Benny Latimore's deep resonating voice. It includes Georgia On My Mind, Crying Time, I Got A Woman, Unchain My Heart, I Can't Stop Loving You and Drown In My Own Tears. His rendition here of Hit The Road Jack, which includes vocals from Gwen McCrae, is riding high on the Southern Soul charts. The Dig A Little Deeper album is a reprisal of Latimore's 1977 release on the Glades label - seven vintage digitally re-mastered tracks. In addition to the title cut there is Long Distance Love, Too Hot To Handle, Out To Get'cha, Tonight's The Night, We Got To Hit It Off and Ain't Nothing Like A Sweet Woman's Love. With a career that is fast approaching fifty years long, Benny Latimore shows no signs at all of slowing down!

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Go on with yo Bad Self, Big G!! The long time radio DJ and Stone River Records recording artist from Richmond, Virginia has quite a distinction going on – he has three releases listed in June's edition of the Top 40 Southern Soul/R&B Albums chart. September, 2012's Last Pay Check is hanging in at #37 while the recent Nothin' But A Party, Vol. II is sitting at #24 and his Midnight Love, Vol. II checks in at #40. The Last Pay Check single has performed well – it has been on the charts for several weeks. We recently added Party House from the same album to our Smokin' Top 45.

Other notable tracks from my perspective are Cheating, Someone's Taking My Love Away, Work It Out and When You Find The One You Love.  Nothing But A Party, Vol. II (Volume I was released in 2006) is a ten joint compilation follow-up of some of the big man's best tunes, a few of which may have been under exposed the first time around. Not really any new material (although there are a few songs from the Last Pay Check album on both comps), but that is A-OK because several of these tracks need to be brought to the forefront once again. Strong cuts include:  Southern Soul Blues, Chillin', Get It On, Have A Good Time, Pay Day Blues and the aforementioned Bad Self....oh yeah!! Midnight Love, Vol. II (Volume I was also a 2006 release) again encompasses ten tracks, with inclusive Big G classics like I Need Your Love, Love Me Right, So Long, My Special Prayer and Walk Away. The G Man has been rockin' the juke joint for a lotta years, he sings 'em all with a down home soulfulness and heart as big as Richmond itself!!

 

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From Augusta, Georgia and North Augusta, South Carolina, Klass Band Brotherhood has come up large in the last couple of years. This outstanding group, formerly known as Le Klass, is right on the verge of releasing their second album under the Klass Band name. If you recall the first one that came out in  2011, Out Of The Shadows Of Soul,  just blew up with stone cold grooves like Sugaa Shack, Go Home, How Can U, Gitcha Love (Tutti Fruiti) and Big Mouth Woman. For my money, it is certainly one of the best group albums in the Soul arena in the last five years. The Klass Band members include Nelson Curry, Wayne Bowman, Curtis Knight, Allen Curry and Derrick Thomas.

Targeted to be released July 5th, We Call The Shots In Soul features the advance single, Good Love, which is already on all the Southern Soul charts and climbing. The introductory track on the album sets the tone as the guys request ''M&M'', that being moonshine and Mason jars!!! We here at 45.com have been the beneficiary of an additional advance track, Best Day (My Wife), which is absolute dynamite, has a killer dance beat and is already on our Smokin' Top 45 chart. Olden Days is a mid tempo groove telling what life and family was about back in the day. We Jukin' jumps off in fine Klass Band party style, ''it's Friday night, time to head to the club''. Marvin Sease, Johnnie Taylor, Mel Waiters, Millie Jackson, Bobby Bland and Marvin Gaye, are just a few of the great music makers mentioned as part of the strong funky joint of Blues Is Alright. Slow and way down low describe My Angel and I'm Back, the latter being a tribute to our soldiers returning from service. Baby's Love is another slow burner that is the perfect pitch and phrasing to fill the floor up at the club! Dance Floor starts off sultry and singular, then breaks out as a smokin' hot party track with solid hit potential. Twelve cuts in total on the new album, all either written or co-written by Nelson Curry, this is absolutely another spectacular effort from Klass Band Brotherhood!

 

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Shirley Jones has a big hit right now in Southern Soul with Ready To Go.  Who is she and where did she come from? Do you remember a '70's R&B group called The Jones Girls? Valerie, Brenda and the oldest sister, Shirley, were the daughters of Detroit based Gospel singer and RCA recording artist Mary Frazier Jones. The young ladies certainly inherited mom's singing acumen and were soon backing up The Four Tops and later Diana Ross. Their first big break came when Kenny Gamble heard them perform at a concert – he immediately signed the group to his Philadelphia International label. The Jones Girls 1979 self-titled album yielded a top charting R&B single, You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else, as well as additional tracks receiving radio airplay.  Three more albums followed on the label which featured several charting singles, including Nights Over Egypt, I Just Love The Man and Dance Turned Into A Romance.

After a stint with RCA Records and years on the road, the sisters decided to call it quits. Shirley, however, continued to pursue a singing career that included a #1 R&B hit for a few weeks in 1986 entitled Do You Get Enough Love. This triumph was followed up with an album, Always In The Mood, that made it to #8 on the R&B Billboard chart. The success was enough motivation for her to keep going – Shirley recorded several albums in ensuing years as well as toured both solo and as part of periodic reunions with her sisters in the late '90's. Valerie Jones unfortunately passed away in 2001.

In more recent times, Shirley was part of a collaborative album, Ladies Night Out (Live) in 2007 with Jean Carn that also featured contemporary R&B singer Cherrelle. She delivered Feels Like Heaven in 2010, a twelve track melodic album of her own co-written material. Shirley joined the Team Airplay label in 2011, releasing a single entitled Totally Confused. The recent Ready To Go, also on the label, is a Mel Waiters written jam. The upbeat tune was #6 on Blues Critic's Top 25 Southern Soul chart for June. It is awesome to see good things happening for a lady who has persevered for so many years in this business!!

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Desert Sounds Records is one of the many independent labels that continues to make some major noise in Southern Soul. The company was originally created in Georgia by music production veterans Pete Peterson and Eric Smith. Peterson is the former President of Evejim Records and a finance director at Motown back in the day. Both gentlemen are accomplished songwriters as well – they co-wrote I'll Take Care Of You by Chuck Roberson, You Ain't Got No Proof by Bobby Jones and Check Your Mailbox by Ghetto Cowboy, among many others. Desert Sounds has done an excellent job in recent years in recording, distributing, promoting and/or licensing releases from established veterans as well as new young guns in the business. Their working list of artists includes Chuck Roberson, Ghetto Cowboy, Clay Hammond, Bobby Jones, Peggy Scott-Adams, Avail Hollywood, Charles McCormick, Dee Bradley and the combination of Jesse James & Millie Jackson. Chuck Roberson is now the CEO and Owner of Desert Sounds while Peterson continues in the role of Promotions Director and Advisor. Look for more from this outstanding label in the works very soon!!

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 I was asked this question recently by a couple of different Southern Soul artists  ''How in the world can I get a song to become a hit over into the Beach market?'' Hmm......working out a licensing agreement with either Keith Houston at KHP Productions or Judy Collins at Sisbro Records to get the song on one of their compilations is certainly not a bad idea. The song, however, has to be something that appeals to the DJ's, the listeners and the dancers. A solid groove with a danceable shag beat goes along way toward creating a hit in the Beach music world. The right timing and a bit of good luck? Can't hurt for sure. Here is a recent look at the Beach DJ charts to see what Southern Soul based songs they are currently playing:

 

Back In The Day Cafe – Andre' Lee

I'm Gonna Try Again – Donnie Ray

Still Strokin' – Ms. Jody

I Want It – Leroy Allen

A Love To Call Mine – Johnnie Taylor

From The Back – LJ Echols

Bag Of Ice – Mel Waiters

I'm Going Back – Donnie Ray

I've Done All I Can Do – Sheba Potts-Wright

I Just Love Women – David Brinston

So Right So Good – Simone De

The Devil Made Me Do It – Chuck Roberson

The Party Don't Get Started – Sir  Jonathan Burton

Some Kind Of Wonderful  – Willie Clayton

Big Head Hundreds – Johnnie Taylor

You Should Know By Now – Sir Jonathan Burton

Soul School – Mr. David

Lil House Big Party – Soul Children

Who's Rockin' You – Donnie Ray

Go Home – Klass Band Brotherhood

This Little Place – Mr. X

Just Go Dancin' – OB Buchana

The Bop – Ms. Jody

Girl's Got It Goin' On – Bob Steele

She's Got That Ooo Wee – Jerry L

It's BYOB – Donnie Ray

Good Love – Klass Band Brotherhood

A Woman Like You – Jonathan Burton

Booty Mover – OB Buchana

Keep Singing The Blues – Chick Willis

No Mess – Pat Cooley

Shuckin' And Jivin' – Jaye Hammer

Ms. Jody's Thang – Ms. Jody

Slow Grindin' – Theodis Ealey

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