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Southern Soul Corner April 12

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Clarence Carter

Corner Talk: Lenny Williams, Al Green, Millie Jackson, Latimore, Garland Green and Clarence Carter - all names of Soul superstars from days gone by, right? Wrong!!  These legendary artists have songs and/or CDs on the current Southern Soul charts! Their storied careers continue on with music for today's grown folkz!! It is great to see this genre embrace artists that reach all the way back to the '60's when Soul music was sowing it's roots!

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In his 2007 song I'm Goin' Back Home, O.B. Buchana is on a trip up North and his friends are trying to talk him into moving up there. O.B. says no way because ''I can't get no Southern Soul music on the radio up here''. He has certainly done well in the South with his music, recently releasing another signature album, his 9th on Ecko Records since joining the label in 2004. The Clarksdale, Mississippi native seems to have perfected a vocal groove that is recognizable as well as unique. O.B. is consistently rated each year as one of the hardest working, crowd pleasing artists in Southern Soul. His latest, dropped early last month, is Let Me Knock The Dust Off, the title track being upbeat and pretty self-explanatory! Additional uptempo jumpers include my fave (as in future Soul Dog Top 25), Mr. Telephone Man, as well as Throw Down, Tap It and Mind Your Own Business. Juke Joint Queen certainly sounds like one with the right beat suitable for line dancing. Ten tracks in all, another strong release for what has become classic O.B. Buchana.

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Just released in March – Lee Fields & The Expressions with a dynamic new album entitled Faithful Man.  1970’s funkmaster Fields was so much a follower of James Brown back in the day that he was aptly nicknamed ‘Little J.B.’. His single 45's recorded back then are now prized items by vinyl collectors. Fields hit the emerging Southern Soul market with several album releases in the early ‘90’s. He blended some heavy Funk in his Soul on songs such as Hot And Lonely, Man Go To Do What A Man Got To Do, Coming To Tear The Roof Down, I Won't Tell Nobody and Dreaming Big Time. Meanwhile, Lee has actually in recent years become the recognized leader of revitalized Funk music, recording new tunes on the Desco, Daptone and Truth & Soul labels. Lee's 2009 My World album was voted #2 on Blues Critic's Top 25 Southern Soul albums for 2009. Faithful Man contains some super sweet grooves including the title track as well as Who Do You Love, You're The Kind Of Girl and Still Hanging On. It is retro Soul with a touch of Blues and Funk in an old skool fashion rolled into one killer album!

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Soul veteran Carl Marshall is probably as well known as an outstanding producer as he is a performer. As well as himself, Carl has produced albums for Charles Wilson, Stan Mosley, Cicero Blake, Chuck Roberson, TJ Hooker-Taylor, Nellie Tiger Travis and more over the past three plus years.   In the same time frame, Carl has produced and released his own albums on the CDS label – Love Who You Wanna Love, Christmas Southern Soul Style and. Somehow, Carl also finds the time to write songs as well. Songs People Love The Most Volume 2 was released last fall and is currently high on the Top Grown Folks Love To Dance 40 CD charts. The tunes I am digging the most from the album are 21st Century Grown Folks, Show Some Sign and I'll Wait (New Version). The sultry I Didn't Wanna Cry is subtitled Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry Part 2 which continues the ongoing journey of this song theme that began with Part 1 back in 2006................ Hot off the press: Carl has just released another album entitled Going Back To The Blues. Carl Marshall may indeed be the busiest individual in Southern Soul these days!!

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We mentioned Garland Green's name in the beginning of this month's column. It has been almost 3 years ago that I wrote an article that opened with the following line “One of the greatest ‘lost Soul’ voices of all time has to belong to a dynamic performer named Garland Green.''  It has been 43 years since his blockbuster hit, Jealous Kind Of Fella, was at the top of the R&B charts. Garland is back in a big way – releasing I'm The One That Should've Been, an 11 track album of new tunes as well as renditions of old favorites. Out just over a month, it has already reached #7 on the Southern Soul Top 40 CD chart.  The title track is a soft but woeful ballad of love gone bad. Garland's voice has grown a little deeper over the years, as witnessed on his reprisal of Jealous Kind Of Fella on the album. He puts a nice twist on cover songs I Wake Up Crying and See You Where I Get There. Garland gives us the smoky down home Blues Uprising, written by Dylann Deanna, as was the title track. Deanna has previously composed tunes for Stephanie Pickett, Carl Marshall, Earl Duke and Nellie Tiger Travis. Two trademark Carl Marshall written tunes, Family and Be Thankful For The Woman That Love You regal the value of the closeness of loved ones with a juke blues flavor. When You Got It At Home is a nice mid tempo groover but to me, the hidden jewel track may be the upbeat Happy Street. Gold stars to this outstanding comeback album and kudos to CDS Records (their new Special Soul Music Division) for releasing this record from a living Soul legend!

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Jackson, Mississippi native Vick Allen burst on the Southern Soul scene in 2002 as a young gun that has not stop smokin' since that time. His most recent album, Truth Be Told..., has to be one of the most successful releases ever in Southern Soul music in terms of staying power. The early 2009 Soul 1st label CD has had one hit after another on the charts and continues to do so. Forbidden Love Affair (The Preacher Song), I'm Hooked, If They Can Beat Me Rockin and I Need Some Attention have all been singles that have zoomed up the charts in the last 3 years. The latest hit from the album, I'm Thankful For My Woman On The Side, is currently occupying the #7 spot on the Top 25 Singles chart. In addition to being an accomplished singer and performer, Vick is also quite a critically acclaimed songwriter and producer. Vick Allen recently received a Blues Critic Award as the Southern Soul Artist of the Year for 2011.

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So much happens every single day in the music world, it is impossible to keep up. For instance, I totally missed the passing of legendary Blues belter Ms. Marva Wright, which occurred over two years ago. She left this world on March 23, 2010, just 3 days after her 62nd birthday. Known as the Blues Queen of New Orleans, Marva had a late start in the music business, taking up singing in her late '30's as a second job to support her family. Little did she realize this endeavor would later take her to places in the world that she had only previously dreamed about.  Marva's church upbringing was always present in her singing, possessing a powerhouse voice with strong gospel overtones. Debuting in the local clubs around the Crescent City, Marva sang Blues and Soul with a deep passion and conviction. Her first album, Heartbreakin' Woman, was recorded in 1991. She went on to perform and record both in the U.S. and abroad over the next 18 years, releasing several albums on the Mardi Gras, Virgin and Aim Records labels. Marva’s 2007 After the Levees Broke album was very much recorded in the first person of what she had experienced from Hurricane Katrina, losing her house and belongings. Marva Wright suffered multiple strokes in mid-2009 from which she never fully recovered until her passing. Marva's music lives on as a testament to one of the finest voices ever in Blues and Soul!

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Southern Soul continues to have a major influence as to what is played on Beach music radio and in the clubs. Recent years have seen songs like Zac Harmon's Older Woman, Andre Lee's One Night Stand, Mel Waiters Everything's Going Up, Soul Children's L'il House Big Party, Ms. Jody's The Bop and Donnie Ray's Who's Rockin' You zoom up the Smokin' Top 45 chart. Roughly 15% of the current chart is made up of songs from Southern Soul. A look through the contributing DJ's indicates additional songs getting play, per the list below:

 

Only Time I Get Lonely – Stephanie Pickett   

Party Don't Get Started – Sir Jonathan Burton

Man On A Mission – Willie Hill

Southern Soul Dip – Ms. Jody

Drop It Like It's Hot – Charles Blakely

You Fooled Me This Time – Lee 'Shot' Williams

I'll Try Again – Donnie Ray

I'll Take Care Of You – Chuck Roberson

Get Up And Move On – Ms. Jody

Staying In Love With You – Ghetto Cowboy

Show Some Sign – Carl Marshall

Slow Grindin' – Theodis Ealey

I'm Your Maintenance Man – Omar Cunningham

Crazy Love Thing – O.B. Buchana

Ms. Jody's Thang – Ms. Jody

Feels So Good – Simone De

Lady Soul – Johnnie Taylor

Make Your Body Roll – LaMorris Williams

Come A Little Closer – Ms. Jody

I'm' 'Bout It ' Bout It  - Floyd Taylor

Do Right – Omar Cunningham

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Soul Dog’s 15 Top Southern Soul Tunes From 2006

 

      Throw Back Days – Mel Waiters

       I’m In Love With A Married Woman – Omar Cunningham

      Going Crazy – Willie Clayton

      Don’t Stop My Party – Donnie Ray

      Ya’ll Know How To Party – Barbara Carr

      Why Me – Reggie P

      She Was Cheatin’ Better Than Me – Rick Lawson

      All In The Family – Chairmen of The Board

      Never Coming Home – Betty Padgett

      Same Woman - Archie Love & J. Blackfoot

      If I Back It Up - Nellie Tiger Travis

      Love Bomb - Wilson Meadows

      Treat Her Right - William Bell

      It's Not So Bad After All - Jesse James

      Midnight Call - Lou Pride

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