Southern Soul Corner
With The Soul Dog
Corner Talk: Ecko recording artists
Ms Jody's and Donnie Ray's superb performances at this years Carolina Beach Music Awards was right on time. Donnie's Who's
Rockin' You has been the recent #1 song here on
the Smokin' Top 45. Ms. Jody's The Bop was a previous top charting tune that that dropped down to #2 last month. It was also good to see Larry Chambers
again, who has been one of the key players as the Promotions and Marketing Director for the Memphis based Ecko Records since
its inception in 1995. It is evident that Ecko continues to strive to reach the Beach as well as Southern Soul market with
each release, which is great for both genres.
is truly sad to note the recent passing of both Lee Shot Williams and J. Blackfoot. These two legendary artists were part
of the early Soul music movement of the '60's and '70's who continued to perform and record in today's Southern Soul arena.
They will certainly be missed. We will have more on their long careers in next month's edition.
will also wait until next month to review any current CD releases in Southern Soul, while taking a break to talk about good
sources for holiday Soul and Blues music. Let's look at some of the great compilations in these genres that have been released
over the years.
Southern Soul and Blues Holiday Compilations
Ichiban Blues at Christmas – 4 volumes of Southern Soul and kickin’ Blues issued between 1991 and 1997 from Atlanta’s
Ichiban label, 40 tunes in all, great Christmas songs by Chick Willis, Trudy Lynn, Theodis Ealey, Kip Anderson, William Bell,
Jimmy Dawkins, Willie Hill, Francine Reed, Drink Small, Jerry McCain, Nappy Brown and Blues Boy Willie, just to name a few.
Although these albums have been out of print for several years, they can still be found on the secondary market.
It’s Christmas, Baby - Ecko Records actually issued this compilation several years ago and have modified and re-issued it since with
the same title containing several newer cuts. Killer tracks abound by Ms. Jody, Barbara Carr, Rick Lawson, Donnie Ray, O.B.
Buchana, Luther Lackey, Sheba Potts-Wright, Lee Shot Williams and Sweet Angel. An outstanding collection of holiday tunes!
Please Come Home for Christmas – Released in 1995 by Johnny Vincent’s Ace label, it includes the two songs made forever famous (Please Come Home for Christmas and Merry Christmas Baby) by the late Charles Brown as
well as some outstanding cuts by Willie Clayton, Robert Tillman, Ronnie Lovejoy,
Cicero Blake, Frank-O Johnson, Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and Lee Fields. This
is a hard find but a ‘must’ have for serious collectors of Christmas Soul music.
Christmas With Miss Butch Records – Southern Soul Christmas with a New Orleans flavor released in 2000 from
this Mardi Gras Records subsidiary. Eleven strong tracks from Peggy Scott-Adams, Jimmy Lewis and Billy Ray Charles.
Classic Soul and R&B Holiday Compilations
Christmas – The original was issued in 1968 on the Atco label with eleven tracks. Rhino picked those up in 1991 and
added eleven more from the Atlantic vaults, several of which came from the Memphis Stax/Volt days of the ‘60’s.
All the way from White
Christmas to Back
Door Santa, we’re talking classics from Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Booker T & the M.G.’s, Joe Tex, King
Curtis as well as Solomon Burke, Sweet Inspirations, Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters, Impressions, Luther Van Dross, Donnie
Hathaway, Clarence Carter and Brook Benton.
a Merry Chess Christmas – Released in 1989 by Chess Records, this compilation contains 10 cuts of some of the finest Christmas
Soul, R&B and Gospel ever produced. Artists included are the O’Jays, Moonglows, Gems, Chuck Berry, Salem Travelers,
Soul Stirrers and Rotary Connection, featuring Minnie Riperton.
and Blues Christmas - way old school holiday classics, compiled and first issued
on CD on Hollywood Records in 1988. It features 20 tracks by artists originally on the King/Federal label such as Hank Ballard
& The Midnighters, Amos Milburn, Lowell Fulson, Mabel Scott, Freddy King and Bill Doggett. Christmas in Heaven by Billy Ward & The Dominoes
alone is worth the price if you can find it!
Soulful Christmas – The folks at Collectables Records in Narbeth, Pennsylvania released several of these compilations
over the years, including some compiled by prominent radio stations at the time. Most of the releases are songs from the ‘60’s
and ‘70’s - artists such as Isaac Hayes, Staple Singers, Jackson Five, Jerry Butler, Patti LaBelle, Manhattans,
Temprees, Orioles, Temptations, Emotions, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Whispers etc. You may also find a version that has
some newer Soul material from Johnny Gill, Boyz II Men, Sounds of Blackness and Jeffrey Osborne. Most these should still be available online in either new or used condition.
Holiday Blues Compilations
Alligator Records Christmas Collection (1992) and Genuine Housrockin’ Christmas (2003) – Two Christmas compilations chocked full of upbeat tracks from Chicago’s Alligator Records
label. Includes originals by Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, W.C Clark, Shemekia Copeland, William Clarke, Saffire, Tinsley Ellis,
Kenny Neal, Coco Montoya, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Marcia Ball, Roomful of Blues, Carey Bell, Little Charlie & the Nightcats and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown.
Snake Merry Christmas – Florida’s King Snake label dropped this holiday collection in 1996 with soulful bar room
cuts from Floyd Miles & Gregg Allman, Ace Moreland, Tony Coleman, Dr. Hector & the Groove Injectors, Noble ‘Thin
Man’ Watts and Smokehouse.
Blues Christmas – Funky holiday Blues from Rounder Records in 1995, some noteworthy tunes by Michelle Wilson, Smokin’
Joe Koubek, Preston Shannon Band, Persuasions, Luther ‘Guitar Jr.’ Johnson and Little Jimmy King.
Yule: Christmas Blues and R&B Classics – another great compilation from Rhino, this 1991 release of eighteen tracks
combines smokey holiday classic Blues, both new and old. Eddie C. Campbell, Edgar Winter, Jimmy Witherspoon, Sonny Boy Williamson,
John Lee Hooker, Jimmy McCracklin, Voices, Pilgrim Travelers, Detroit Junior and Canned Heat are just a few of the great artists
These are only a handful of the many soulful holiday
collections out there to make your season more enjoyable. Happy Holidays!