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DEEP # 2/2008 (April 2008)

Once more some of the recent compilations are so magnificent that they deserve to lead the way in this column. As far as Al Wilson and Luther Ingram are concerned, I go back to my features on them and use some of their comments from our printed papers a couple of years ago. In Al痴 case I also called him to get his latest update. There are complete discographies from both Al, and Luther included, as well. The indie artist interview from the vaults this time is with Stan Mosley.

The next paragraphs, however, are dedicated to Ali Ollie Woodson and his latest activities. In the middle section I talk to Hank Dixon of the Originals about the past and present and at the end we値l hear the latest news from a great writer out of Philadelphia, Bruce Hawes.


Content and quick links:

Interviews:
Ali Ollie Woodson
Al Wilson.: CD Searching for the Dolphins
Hank Dixon (of the Originals)
Bruce Hawes


CD reviews:
Luther Ingram: CD I Don稚 Want to Be Right/the Ko Ko Singles, vol. 2
The Bert Berns Story/Twist and Shout, vol. 1, 1960-1964
Lloyd Price: CD Mr. Personality
Doris Duke: CD Woman
Ms. Jody: CD I Never Take a Day Off
Tricia Barnwell: CD Country All Over Me
Roni: CD Come Back Kind of Love
Willie Clayton: CD My Tyme
Bobby Wayne: CD Soul Station
Pookie Lane: CD Southern Woman
Charles Wilson: CD The After Party
Dicky Williams: CD I知 Back Again
Stan Mosley: Man Up
Mister King: CD Take Shape
Elaine Norwood: CD Double Blessing


ALI OLLIE WOODSON


If you wish to start from the beginning, you can go first to my Ali Ollie interview that I conducted about a year ago at www.soulexpress.net/aliolliewoodson.htm, and inside that article you値l find a link to the complete Ali Ollie story, too.

These days Ali is almost finished with his new CD, Never give up. 的知 still working on that. I知 trying to make one great CD. I have other new songs that I知 working on besides those that already are on that CD, so I知 kind of revising it. I hope to be ready by the end of April.

Hopefully we値l soon get to hear his gospel CD called He Died, too. 的t痴 pretty much complete. Maybe one more song I値l put on there, and sell it on the website, www.aliolliewoodson.com.

During this past year Ali Ollie has made one guest appearance on another artist痴 record, when he cut a slow and intense, jazzy version of I Love You More Than You値l Ever Know on Euge Groove痴 CD, Born 2 Groove (on Narada Jazz). Euge, aka Steve Grove, is a renowned saxophonist, who has played with numerous artists both on stage, and in sessions (www.eugegroove.com). Cornelius Mims used to play bass with me. He was at the time playing bass with Euge Groove, and they needed a vocalist for a song on the album, and that痴 how he brought me in on it.

A while ago there were reports that Ali has left Dennis Edwards Temptations Review and that he was replaced by Paul Williams Jr. 展ell, not quite that I left. I知 taking a leave of absence. Currently I知 involved in a play that is produced by Mr. Ed Weinberger. He did the sitcom Taxi, he did the Cosby Show, Sparks, Good News and Amen. He wrote this play, and by me being in one of his sitcoms I知 part of his family, his people, so he called me and many of his cast members. He brought us all together to do his play. Right now we池e running through the first week of May. It may start up again in the fall. So when they called me, I took a leave of absence from the Temptations Review, but I知 currently speaking to Mr. Crosby to line up some more dates with them.

的致e also been doing gigs with Aretha Franklin. I just did two dates with her at Radio City Music Hall in New York City (on March 21 and 22). There痴 a possibility that Ali still continues gigging with Aretha, but all those engagements don稚 seem to stop him looking for something new all the time. 的知 working on a reality show, which is entitled 禅reat her like a Lady, and I知 also working on a creation of a sitcom (acknowledgements to Marva and Mr. Woodson).


AL WILSON

In Meridian, Mississippi, two schoolboys, Al Wilson and David Ruffin, used to compete a lot at local talent shows, and they both used to win. Those days also Al痴 brother, Eddie Wilson, and Jimmy Ruffin formed their first group. Al: 的t was just a group they put together to attract girls.箱 Al痴 first taste of more or less professional singing took place, when he was twenty and joined the Jewels in 1959 and cut his first record with them. You can find Al痴 complete discography at http://www.soulexpress.net/alwilson_discography.htm.

After four singles with the Rollers in 1961 and 62, Al fronted different, non-recording groups, learned to play drums and, after quitting his last group (the Souls), met Marc Gordon, who not only worked as a West Coast representative for Motown but also as a Vice President of Soul City Records. Marc introduced Al to Soul City痴 Johnny Rivers, which launched Al痴 solo career in 1967.

Searching for the Dolphins (Kent, CDKEND 290; 22 tracks, 71 min.; www.acerecords.com; liners by Tony Rounce) is subtitled 典he Complete Soul City Recordings and more 1967-1971 and in this case that 杜ore means Al痴 four singles on Bell and Carousel in 1970 and 71. The core of the CD is the 11-track Searching for the Dolphins album (Soul City 92006; released in 1969), and the CD also includes four non-album cuts on that label.

Of the eight albums Al has released so far, The Dolphins still remains his favourite, and for the lovers of smooth and beautiful music with rich orchestration it really is a keeper. Produced by Johnny Rivers, although all the songs (besides Who Could Be Lovin You) had been released earlier, on this album they for the most part have new and original arrangements by Gene Page and Marty Paich and sound fresh, not least because of Al痴 vocal interpretations.

The first single in 1967 was a pleading ballad titled Who Could Be Lovin You (Other Than Me), and it was written by one of Soul City痴 staff writers those days, Willie Hutch. Al: 滴e was really beautiful to work with. He was creative. He had a lot of new ideas, some good material plus he had that Sam Cooke type voice. We struck up a nice relationship right after that.箱 On the flip there was a slightly Motown-influenced dancer called When You Love (You池e Loved Too), but the debut single missed the national charts altogether. Al: 的t sold well. The problem was with the disc jockeys, because they didn稚 have a category to put it in. The black disc jockeys said 僧an, it痴 too pop, and pop disc jockeys said 奏hat痴 too black.

The next single, Do What You Gotta Do, appeared on charts in early 68 and, although not very high (# 39-r&b, # 102-pop), today it痴 one of Al痴 signature songs. It was written by another staff writer, Jimmy Webb. Al: 的t was on the weekend, and Jimmy had been up on the mountains with his girlfriend. He called me that afternoon and said 祖an you come by to the studio. I知 not finished with this song yet, but by the time you get here I知 finished with the most of it. So I went down and as a matter of fact I helped finish writing it. Do What You Gotta Do was one of the first country-rock tunes going.箱 Johnny Rivers version, however, hit the streets a bit earlier on his Rewind album. On the flip named Now I Know What Love Is you can hear echoes of Motown again.

A firm Northern favourite today, The Snake (# 32-r&b, # 27-pop) was lifted from Oscar Brown Jr痴 album five years earlier and Johnny Rivers had cut it too in 1966. 徹scar Brown Jr. wrote the song. It was predominantly a jazz tune, and I had been doing it in supper clubs all along. As a matter of fact, it was one of my openers.箱 Again the b-side, a folk-soul beat ballad called Getting Ready for Tomorrow was written by Willie Hutch.

Poor Side of Town (# 75-pop) and The Dolphins formed the fourth Soul City single, and the songs were earlier cut by their writers, Johnny Rivers (with Lou Adler) and Fred Neil, respectively. 的 love Poor Side of Town. Mine was a little bit different. It was r&b basically.箱 Two other covers followed, I Stand Accused (# 106-pop) and Shake Me, Wake Me (When it痴 over). 鄭gain, I Stand Accused has been one of those songs that I致e been singing in clubs all along. I like all of the Jerry Butler stuff anyway.

The album-only songs include the mid-tempo Summer Rain, the lush This Guy痴 in Love with You and the uptempo Brother, Where Are You (by Oscar Brown Jr. again). Jim Webb痴 By the Time I Get to Phoenix was again originally cut by Johnny Rivers and after that popularized by Glen Campbell - and Al痴 version became the b-side to his last Soul City single in 1969. Al himself picked the plug side, CCRs Lodi (# 67-pop), and this happened during the time they were in Memphis with the idea of Chips Moman producing them. Al: 展hen we got down there, Johnny Rivers felt that Chips Moman had disrespected him. Down there they池e good old boys, and everybody knows everybody, so consequently it痴 loose and relaxed down there, while here in California, once we get into the studio, it痴 regimented work time. We were talking about the original songs, and then B.J. Thomas and a couple of guys walked in and Chips Moman turns away from Johnny and starts talking to these guys about horses. We got back to the Holiday Inn, and he said 僧an, we don稚 have to stay here and take this mess. We had been down there for a whole week and we hadn稚 done anything, and we got to have stuff done by next week. I said 奏here痴 a new tune, the b-side to Bad Moon Rising, I love that song called Lodi.

In 1970 Johnny sold his label to Larry Utall, and Al痴 first Bell single was a funky scorcher titled Mississippi Woman 的t was like one of those Tony Joe White things backed with a poppy ballad called Sometimes a Man Must Cry. The second single, Bachelor Man (written by Billy Page, Gene痴 brother), is light pop music, not unlike from Dean Martin痴 repertoire. You Do the Right Things, a soul ballad on the flip, was written by Leon Ware and Scott Barnes. 鏑eon Ware had been a staff writer with Motown also. He had left Detroit and come out to the West Coast to try to work with Hal Davis and those guys. He didn稚 do too good with them, so he started free-lancing. He knew Marc Gordon, and Marc put us together. Leon was a good writer and a good singer, too.

In late 1970 Marc Gordon launched his own label, Carousel, which was distributed by Bell. For this scribe the two singles Al put out in 1971 on this label represent musically the lowest point of his career. There痴 a swamp rock cover of I Hear You Knocking, a rock beater called Sugar Cane Girl and an awful psychedelic mess titled Falling (In Love with You). That痴 also where this CD ends, and you can always skip those last tracks and enjoy the beauty of the rest of the album.

After that Al痴 rock experiments still continued on the two first Rocky Road singles in 72 (Heavy Church and Born On The Bayou), but then come Show and Tell (originally cut by Johnny Mathis), Touch and Go, La La Peace Song (first by O.C. Smith) and I Won稚 Last a Day Without You & Let Me Be The One (originally by Paul Williams) in 1973 and 74, and Al had found his winning formula. Later he still scored with I致e Got a Feeling (on Playboy in 76) and Count the Days (on Roadshow in 79). He痴 been performing all these years, and during the last ten years he has released two new CDs with some nice music on them.

AL WILSON TODAY

Al: 溺y house burned down exactly a year ago, the 30th of March. One of the bedrooms got burned and everything else was basically water and smoke damage. It was either a water heater or something electrical, in wiring. They just rebuilt it, and we池e getting ready to move back in. I had the studio in the garage, and I lost a lot of the memorabilia, irreplaceable stuff like pictures, posters, old recordings plus some new original stuff I was working on that I hadn稚 really had a chance to duplicate. But, hey, it could have been worse. Fortunately all my masters were in a different place.

Still Al keeps himself as busy as through all these years. He痴 constantly performing, recently in Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona and in Las Vegas. His next concerts will take place in Tucson again and after that in his home town of San Bernardino, California, in Jackson, Tennessee, in Philadelphia and in Cleveland, Ohio.

Al痴 follow-up to his 2001 Spice of Life CD is still in the making. 鉄ome of the things that I hadn稚 duplicated I lost, and I have to recreate them from the very beginning plus I got to replace all my equipment. Now we池e in an apartment waiting for the house, so everything has been on a standstill.

典his is my 50th anniversary. We池e working on a DVD of fifty years of being in the business. We池e putting together a documentary, a docu-interview. We池e gathering different clips and whatever I can find. I got some stuff from Soul Train, concerts and those things. I知 going to tell my whole life story, and those things are going to be on the bluescreen behind me. We池e trying to get it done, so that we can get it out by the end of the summer. And I知 working on a Christmas DVD that we can have out hopefully by September.


LUTHER INGRAM

Last year they released the A痴 and B痴 of Luther痴 first ten KoKo singles (1967-71) and now we get the rest ten (1972-78) on I Don稚 Want to Be Right/the Ko Ko Singles, vol. 2 (Kent, CDKEND 292; 19 tracks, 69 min.; liners by Tony Rounce), and this CD covers Luther痴 peak period, both musically and sales-wise. Luther痴 complete discography is available at http://www.soulexpress.net/lutheringram_discography.htm.


The last single from Luther痴 debut album, I致e Been Here All the Time, is the one to start this compilation in early 1972. A cover of Sam Cooke痴 58 middle-sized hit, You Were Made for Me, is turned into a heavier mid-tempo strutter. Luther: 的 chose it, because it was such an intimate song.箱 It痴 also Luther痴 own favourite of his recordings along with If Loving You Is Wrong and To the Other Man. Luther痴 version peaked at # 18-soul and # 93-pop, whereas on the flip a softer re-reading of his KoKo single four years earlier, Missing You, reached # 26-soul and # 108-pop.

The next single, (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don稚 Want To Be Right (# 1-soul, # 3-pop), is one of the landmarks in the history of soul music. Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson and Carl Hampton wrote the song with the Emotions in mind, but then they thought that it maybe wasn稚 good for the image of a group of sweet young ladies. Veda Brown couldn稚 cut it satisfactory enough, and also Don Davis and Isaac Hayes turned it down. Luther: 的 was in the room with Isaac and David Porter and I heard this demo, and it was about a woman. I decided to change it and put it on a man, and they liked it. I had my family my sister and brothers do the musical arrangement. Then I went to Muscle Shoals, where they played more simple (than in Memphis), and I recorded it.箱 Randy Stewart: 鏑uther really produced the song on himself in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but because of Johnny Baylor owning the company his name went down there as a producer. But Luther and Pete Carr, the guitar player in Muscle Shoals, did all the work.

An album titled after the hit single followed soon after, and among the soul LPs there aren稚 many that can top this. Jimmy Johnson: 典he sessions were very inspiring for all the players. We loved working with Luther. We were involved in the tracking sessions only. Tracks and pilot vocals took five days of recording, about ten hours a day. Overdubs and mixing was done back at Stax痴 Studios. We recorded two or three LPs on Luther with his presence in Muscle Shoals. We never just cut tracks without him.

Next three singles were all culled from the album. A melodic and haunting mid-tempo song called I値l be Your Shelter (In Time of Storm) (# 9-soul, # 40-pop) was backed with Luther痴 third version of I Can稚 Stop. Luther: 的 originally cut this one in New York some years back, juggled around with it for the album and re-cut it in Muscle Shoals.

A beautiful ballad named Always (# 11-soul, # 64-pop) was to be recorded by Tommy Tate to the same backing track three years later, whereas the flip, a driving mid-tempo song called Help Me Love, had been cut by Tommy over a year earlier. Luther: 展ith Tommy we worked some together. Tommy would sing a song and I would sing a song, and we would always challenge each other to who could sing the song stronger than the other. Johnny Baylor chose the one that felt better.箱 The final single off the album in 1973 was a whirling slowie titled Love Ain稚 Gonna Run Me Away (# 23-soul).

KoKo ceased its operations in 1973 due to the difficulties with Stax and IRS, but there are contradictory opinions of what actually happened Randy: 套it wasn稚 what everybody thinks it was.箱 Luther moved with his family to Overland, Missouri. 的 just went and relaxed. Three years gave me a chance to regroup. I performed, but didn稚 perform on a large scale.

In 1976 Johnny Baylor re-launched his KoKo label for the third time (first in 1962, and for the second time in 1966). Luther痴 opener was the funky Ain稚 Good for Nothing (# 44-soul), backed with a melodic mid-tempo lilter called These Are the Things. It was followed in 1977 by a title tune of the next album, Let痴 Steal Away to the Hideaway (# 33-soul), a soul ballad with a strong vocal delivery from Luther. A heavy bouncer named I致e Got Your Love in My Life was the b-side. The disco-aimed beater called I like the Feeling (# 35-soul) was tested next (b/w I知 Gonna Be the Best Thing, a beat ballad), and it remained the last single off the album.

The title track of Luther痴 last KoKo album in 1977, a laid-back and mid-tempo swayer called Do You Love Somebody, became his biggest hit in almost five years (# 13-soul). How I Miss My Baby on the flip is a beat ballad. Luther痴 final KoKo single was a simple dancer named Get to Me (# 41-soul), backed with a melodic floater titled Trying to Find My Love.

KoKo closed its doors in 1978. Randy: 笛ohnny closed the company down, because Luther walked away from KoKo Records.箱 Johnny Baylor died due to a stomach cancer in 1986. Luther: 鄭fter that I just kinda retired. I carried on with music, but on a lesser scale.箱 He released one single on Platinum Plus in 1984 (Seeing You Again), one album and three singles on Profile in 1986 and 87 and finally his fine and soulful re-recording of How Sweet It Would Be in 1998 on a compilation titled 926 East McLemore/A Reunion of Former Stax Artists, vol.1. Luther passed away on March 19 in 2007. I Don稚 Want to Be Right is as essential a CD as they can get.


BERT BERNS

The Bert Berns Story/Twist and Shout, vol. 1, 1960-1964 (Ace, CDCHD 1178; 26 tracks, 65 min.; notes by Mick Patrick and Rob Hughes) is a thrilling compilation dedicated to one of the geniuses of pop & soul in the 60s (www.bertberns.com). All songs were either written, or produced and in most cases, both - by Bertrand Russell Berns. He wrote simple but highly melodic and infectious tunes and he was one of the architects of crossover black music. His music had a strong Latin and Caribbean touch to it, since he loved mambo and salsa. At his peak, at only 38, we lost Bert as a result of a heart attack on December 30 in 1967.

Twist and Shout is an interesting combination of big hits and less-known recordings, even obscurities (such as Hold on Baby by the Hockadays). The hits include tracks by the Jarmels (A Little Bit of Soap), Solomon Burke (Cry to Me), the Isley Brothers (the second attempt at Twist and Shout, after the Top Notes), Garnet Mimms (Look Away), the Vibrations (the original of My Girl Sloopy, aka Hang on Sloopy) and the Rocky Fellers (the kiddy-sound of Killer Joe).

There are some pure pop ditties by Austin Taylor, Russell Byrd (Bert himself), Gene Pitney, Mel Torme and the Wanderers, but also good examples of fledgling uptown soul from Hoagy Lands, Sammy Turner, Little Jimmy Dee, Ruth McFadden, Jimmy Radcliffe, the Drifters and Roy Hamilton.

Historically more interesting tracks include Tell Her by Gil Hamilton (before the Exciters), the rousing Come on and Stop by Marv Johnson, the stomping Mo Jo Hannah by Esther Phillips, Baby Let Me Take You Home by the Mustangs (prior to the Animals) and Lulu痴 original take on Here Comes the Night.

Among the soul tracks there are actually only two slowies Gypsy by Ben E. King and I値l Be a Liar by Betty Harris but the whole material on the CD is so captivating that you don稚 even notice such a detail. This is a delightful compilation and especially for those, who cherish the pop & soul uptown sound of the early 60s.


LLOYD PRICE

Earlier this year Shout! (www.shoutrecords.co.uk) had released a compilation titled If Walls Could Talk by Little Milton, and you can read my review at http://www.soulexpress.net/littlemilton.htm.

Unfortunately Little Milton isn稚 among us anymore, but another veteran, who started recording in the early 50s, is still going on strong. Mr. Personality by Lloyd Price (Shout 43; 27 tracks, 66 min.; liners by Clive Richardson) is subtitled 杜illion-sellers and more from ABC, and it indeed covers his ABC period from 1957 till 1962, which actually was his peak period. He had scored already during his Specialty years in 1952 and 53 (Lawdy Miss Clawdy struck gold! Oooh-Oooh-Oooh/Restless Heart and Ain稚 It a Shame?/Tell Me Pretty Baby), but he surpassed it after getting a release from the army and joining ABC-Paramount with two gold singles (Stagger Lee and Personality) and nine top-ten r&b hits.

Lloyd wrote - mostly with Harold Logan ripping and rollicking good-time music, infectious melodies, which were arranged to a full orchestra and choir, and interspersed with sax breaks. The driving sound made excellent party and dance-hall music and hid the fact that Lloyd (www.lawdymissclawdy.com) wasn稚 much of a singer. But that has never been a big issue in New Orleans. Having said that I hasten to add that those, who were good vocalists in that area, were really good.

Almost all the hits are here Just Because, Stagger Lee, Where Were You (on Our Wedding Day)?, Personality, I知 Gonna Get Married, Lady Luck and Question and only Come Into My Heart/Wont団ha Come Home are missing. Some of the melodies bear a remarkable resemblance to Stagger Lee and Lawdy Miss Clawdy, but, once you致e found a winning formula, why not stick to it.

On the second half of the CD there are tracks from Lloyd痴 four albums, and especially the samples from Lloyd Price Sings the Million-Sellers (1961) bring out his limitations as a singer. One listen to Will You Love Me Tomorrow, At Last, He Will Break Your Heart, Spanish Harlem, Once In a While and Corrine Corrina is enough for me. But I thoroughly enjoyed the feel-good spirit of the first half.


DORIS DUKE

Hot on the heels of the Oscar Toney Jr. CD comes a re-release of another Contempo gem from 1975, Doris DukeWoman (Shout 42; 9 tracks, 41 min.; liners by David Nathan and Clive Richardson). Recorded in London and produced by John Abbey, the music was arranged by Gerry Shury, with Ultrafunk laying down the rhythm and the Armada Orchestra sweetening it with strings.

Woman is Doris third and last album after her two magnificent sets I知 a Loser and A Legend in Her Own Time - with Swamp Dogg in the late 60s and early 70s. It kicks off with an ominous, mid-tempo and long (7:25) jam titled Woman of the Ghetto. This song with a social message was earlier cut by one of its co-writers, Marlena Shaw. Hey Lady, a soulful slow jogger about a two-timing husband, was actually written by two Brits of the 釘lues & Soul magazine fame, Bob Killbourn and Jeff Tarry.

Love Is Here and Now You池e Gone is a fantastic, slowed-down interpretation of the Supremes hit eight years earlier both intimate, and intensive. Pick Up the Pieces (earlier by Carla Thomas) is arranged to a full orchestra, while Doris self-penned Please Come Back is basically a hurting ballad, although the tempo picks up for a minute here and there. Bunny Sigler痴 and Phil HurttGrasshopper (cut also by the Soul Devalents on North Bay 306) is a storming dancer, as well as Gamble痴 & HuffA Little Bit of Your Love. Harlan HowardTo Chicago with Love is a melancholy and beautiful country & soul ballad, and to conclude the album Doris renders a beautiful and subtle interpretation of Full Time Woman (best known by Irma Thomas).

Woman makes a strong impression still after all these years, and it痴 great to have now Doris all three albums in a CD format, too.


MS. JODY

Vertie Joann Delapaz aka Ms. Jody has released three CDs in less than two years, so there must be a market for her product. I Never Take a Day Off (Ecko, ECD 1087; www.eckorecords.com) borrows the title from the cream cut on her first CD. That痴 when I also interviewed her, not only about that You池e My Angel CD, but about her past career, too. If you wish, you can read it at http://www.soulexpress.net/deep206.htm#msjody. Let痴 go back and check out what she had to say about that beautiful, mid-tempo Day Off floater, which evolved into a hit for her. 展hen I was in the studio recording, John Cummings came into the studio and said 閃s. Jody, I got something for you, but I haven稚 finished it yet and I need you to help me out with it. I would love you to have it, if you like it. I read the words and thought 賎od, I love it. It痴 so topical, because I never take off a day from loving my gentleman friend. We took it from there.

Fast and slow songs alternate on this entertaining and soulful newie. Two of the most effective foot-tappers are It痴 the Weekend and Two Strikes You池e Out, while among the slowies the most fascinating ones are Energizer Bunny, Don稚 Be a Sore Loser, I知 Evening Up the Score and I知 So Thankful, which Vertie co-wrote as one of the four songs out of the eleven on this set. This time Ms. Jody displays a strong woman, who fights back, leaves her no-good man and finds a better one. With nice melodies and gentle singing, I find this CD very pleasant.


TRICIA BARNWELL

Tricia (www.triciasmusic.com) is a Georgia-born, country music girl with a touch of soul that Roy C has taken under his wings. Country All Over Me (Three Gems 132) is produced and arranged by Roy and Jonathan Burton and it features live musicians, including also banjo and steel guitar players. Only the horns are programmed.

鏑egendary Roy C (Hammond) also joins Tricia on fast and rolling covers of Since I Met You Baby and Sweet Home Alabama. It痴 not the first time Roy tackles Since I Met You Baby, as already in 1972 he had cut it with Linda Carver (check Roy痴 discography at http://www.soulexpress.net/royc.htm).

There are only a couple of new melodies on this CD, while the rest are familiar country, r&b and pop tunes. Of as many as fifteen songs, the majority (that means eight) is downtempo ones. Those that rely on country music the most include Do You Ever Think of Me, Willie NelsonCrazy and Shania TwainYou池e Still the One. I Can稚 Make You Love Me is a desolate ballad, and the lush and pretty Strawberry Wine tells a bittersweet story. A slow country swayer called I知 Pulling the Plug is Tricia痴 duet with her mother, Linda Barnwell, who also co-wrote the song. Cat Stevens First Cut Is the Deepest is a melody I致e always liked and, although Tricia痴 straightforward version is convincing enough, P.P. Arnold still remains my number one girl on this one.

You could describe Build Me a Man as modern country boogie-woogie, whereas Linda痴 other song, Your Love Is like a Light Switch, is a catchy mover with Jonathan Burton on background vocals. The other three beaters are Wide Open Spaces, If You Are Not In It for Love (Shania, again) and Something to Talk About. Although the arrangements introduce soul elements to these tunes, you really have to like country music to appreciate this CD (acknowledgements to David Cole at www.btinternet.com/~inthebasement).


RONI

Roni really is a beautiful lady, isn稚 she (www.sexyladyofsouthernsoul.com)? You could fall into sending text messages to her. Her second CD, Come Back Kind of Love (www.allisonrecords.com), was produced by the CEO of the company, Steve Ganaway, and Rhonda herself, and the music was completely created by Jeff Floyd. Roni wrote ten songs and Sir Charles Jones composed still the title tune, a mid-tempo swayer that Charles is also singing on.

On Roni痴 previous CD two years back, Call Me, she sang as many as seven ballads, but on this newie there痴 only one, I知 Tired. The rest are mid-tempo steppers or up-tempo dancers, but after listening to it nothing stuck in my mind, really. It痴 like a continuous stream of homogeneous and, alas, indifferent upbeat music. On repeated listening I took a little liking to Get Away, He痴 My Man and I知 Leaving. She has the looks, she has an attractive voice, but she needs more variety and perhaps some outside melodies for her next CD.


HANK DIXON

Based purely on such values as the power of vocalizing and delivery of emotions, soulfulness, the Originals belonged to the elite of Motown痴 male groups. Although formed only in the mid-60s, the origins of two members can be traced back to one group ten years earlier, the Royal Lancers.

Hank: 的 was born on December 17 in 1939, in Detroit, Michigan.箱 Billy Ward and the Dominoes was the number one group for Hank in his formative years, although church music affected him too from his mother痴 side. Walter Gaines was the one that formed the Royal Lancers. It was just something that we all got together and did, like young boys get together and do things. I believe it was myself, Walter Gaines, Joe Murphy and Raymond Dorsey. I was in the group for a minute, and then I went to the army (around 57), because they weren稚 really doing anything. They were doing things while I was gone. When I got out of the service (in 65), that痴 when I really got with them.

The Originals started in the line-up of Walter Gaines, Hank Dixon, Freddie Gorman and C.P. Spencer, and, if we research the history of each member, we値l find such groups as the Domingos -> the Five Jets -> the Five Stars -> the Voice Masters. Another branch came from the Romeos (Ty Hunter) and the third branch was in the Dynatones, the Quailtones and the Fideletones (Freddie Gorman). All this and both the Freddie Gorman, and the Originals story is told in our printed papers of # 3 and # 4/1998, and an update in #1/2002. C.P. Spencer痴 in-depth interview appears in # 3/2002. The discography is available at http://www.soulexpress.net/original.htm.

As mentioned earlier, Hank joined the Originals in 1965. 典hey had a girl in the group at the time and I guess the guys didn稚 like the idea of having a girl in there, so when I got out of the army they took me in right away. Joe Stubbs was in the group for a little while at Motown Records. They were trying to find a place for him, so they put him with us, but it didn稚 work out.

Surprisingly the very first single the group cut for Soul in 1966 was the cover of Goodnight Irene. Clarence Paul produced that one. It was just something they were trying on us. They were really trying to find our style. They were just throwing anything at us, really, but Marvin Gaye was the only one to really find our groove.箱 Those years the Originals were known to be backing almost anybody on Motown. 徹h yeah, that was our main job there, along with the Andantes.箱 Hank痴 favourite song from that period is one of their backing assignments, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, and from their own recordings, the Johnny Bristol-produced I知 Someone Who Cares.

However, the Originals never rose to the first league at Motown. 的 think we were too close to the family. That痴 my personal opinion. Sometimes, when you池e too close, they seem to look other people better than people that are right among us. We just grew up with them. We were with Mr. Berry Gordy before he did Please Mr. Postman and Money. So they were trying to get other people, I guess, rather than looking right in their backyard.

The last album the Originals cut was with Hamilton Bohannon in 1981 called Yesterday and Today (on Phase II Records). 鄭fter that we didn稚 do anything really. We just hung around being together as a group, just hoping something would happen, but it never did. At that time Ty died, the disco had come in and the music had changed.

Although not on record, the group could be heard on stage occasionally. 典here was Alan Beck that would take us to the 双ldies but goodies shows. He would call us and we壇 get together to play different cities. So that kept us alive.箱

After C.P. passed because of a heart attack on October 20 in 2004, Freddie, Walter and Hank recruited Hank痴 daughter, Terrie, to perform with them. 典errie is fine. Me and her, we go out occasionally to do some things.箱 Also Freddie passed as a result of lung cancer on June 13 in 2006. 展alter is kind of retired right now, so there痴 really nobody but me and Terrie. If anybody wants to hear Baby, I知 for Real and The Bells, we get together and we池e going to do it. Also I have a quartet at my church called the True Vine Gospel Originals, so that痴 what I知 doing now. (Acknowledgements to Hank Dixon, Dillon Gorman and to 鉄oulwally at www.soulfuldetroit.com/forum for the idea).


WILLIE CLAYTON

I keep repeating that Willie Clayton (www.WillieClayton.com) is one of the most soulful singers ever, and his recording career spanning from the late 60s has now reached its 24th album. My Tyme (www.malaco.com, MCD 7532) was produced by Donell Taylor, Mike Snoddy and Vick Allen, and this time Willie wrote or co-wrote seven out of the eleven songs on display.

Donell co-wrote with Willie the opener, an Al Green type of a mid-tempo floater called Gotta Love. His other production assignments cover such tracks from Willie痴 past as a chugging stormer titled Young Blues Man and a hooky mid-tempo bouncer named Happy Time. I don稚 know about you, but I知 beginning to wish that I don稚 have to listen to Down Home Blues by anybody anymore, but here it is again. The rest two songs that Donell produced are excellent. The self-written A Woman Knows his current hit - is the type of a deep soul ballad that Willie always excels in, whereas Give You My World is an easier and sunnier but equally soulful slowie.

Mike Snoddy worked on three songs: on a nostalgic, feel-good, 登ld-school mover called Back 2 the Good Ole Days (back in those days they would have written 鍍o instead of 2), on the heavily programmed, funeral-paced Foreplay, which I shun, and on Carolyn Franklin痴 and Sonny Saunders beautiful ballad titled Angel, which became a # 1 soul hit for Aretha in 1973.

Vick Allen produced a powerful and impressive slowie called Spend One Night. He also worked on Willie痴 re-release of Frank-O痴 memorable song, Three People, which I致e always liked, but now Vick has gone and added my number one hate box, the vocoder, into the mix. In spite of that and a couple of other tracks (Foreplay and Down Home Blues), My Tyme is a great CD with impressive melodies, soulful and strong singing and even skilful programming.


BOBBY WAYNE

Pittsburgh痴 Bobby Wayne has been around for a long time, and he belongs to the clan of long-standing bluesoul singers with a seasoned voice. You can read more about Bobby in Colin Dilnot痴 fine blog at http://darkendofthestreet.blogspot.com/2006/01/bobby-wayne-nsoul-spring-05.html.

His latest CD is entitled Soul Station (Bonedog Rec., BDRCD-26; www.bonedogrecords.com), and it痴 produced by the Mojo Boneyard and Mike Sweeney, his bass player and the writer or co-writer of eight tunes out of the fourteen on this set. You can listen to real instruments here, arrangements give the horn section a lot of room and the music leans heavily on the blues.

Of the six uptempo cuts, a fast dancer called Call Me Tomorrow (cut earlier by Major Harris) is the catchiest one and the medley of Change Your Ways (Willie Kendricks) and Soul痴 Got a Sound is the most boisterous one.

The five mid-pacers include an 登ld-time melodic floater named This Amazing Thing, a poppy soul ditty called I知 Taking on Pain (Tommy Tate), another melodic mover named Knowing You致e Been Loved and East End Avenue, which was the title tune of Billy Price痴 recent Bonedog CD.

Rainbow Road (Bill Brandon) is and has always been a touching song, Right about the Rain is a melancholic beat ballad and Over and Over is almost like a late-night slowie, and it concludes this surprisingly strong CD.


OMAR CUNNINGHAM

Omar痴 fourth CD, Time Served (www.soul1st.com), is released on a label out of Birmingham, Alabama after his spells with On Top and EndZone - and the whole set is produced, arranged and co-written by Omar himself. Considering Omar (www.myspace.com/omarcham) had full artistic freedom and total control in creating this record, one has to draw a conclusion that this is the music closest to his heart.

He still brings some more contemporary elements la Kelly R or Maxwell into his music, but the foundation is laid on Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers etc., still. During the opening bars of a mid-tempo song called That痴 My Jam I could even hear Walter Williams of the O谷ays.

Most of the songs are down-tempo ones. Omar tells his life-story on a wistful My Life (his current plug), he experiments with a more progressive southern soul sound on By My Side and he increases intensity in singing on such story-telling tracks as Ain稚 Nothing Changed, The Same Soap, If You Want Me, The Beauty Shop and Where Would I Be.

On the mid-tempo This Old Music he goes slightly jazzy but comes back to the basics on a melodic and exhilarating bouncer titled The Right Woman, which features another Soul1st artist, Daybreakk. Omar revives his dancer from 2003, Check to Check, and Could You Be is an equally catchy finger-snapper.


POOKIE LANE

It痴 funny, how Roni痴 CD on Allison Records, reviewed above, was a party record, but Jerome Lane痴 debut, Southern Woman, on the same label consists almost completely of slow jams. Produced by James McKay and Steve Ganaway and written by James and Pookie aka Jerome, there are only three mid-tempo songs on display the current favourite Southern Woman, the powerful You Are Appreciated and the bouncing Baby Girl.

Pookie痴 vocal prowess is huge, and on many of the rest all slow - tracks he points us the way to the church. At times his style reminded me of Gerald Levert, and you only have to listen to the 7:30 long deep and intense ballad called Love the Way We Used To to become a devotee. Also the more romantic and seducing songs Knockin, Moments, On and On, Come Into My Bedroom and Work it Out tend to explode into a gospelly fury, or roaring mating call, towards the end. The Tribute - among others to Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis and Little Milton - is one of the most touching ones I致e ever heard. A great CD for soulful listening pleasure!


CHARLES WILSON

I must admit right away that I don稚 have a soft spot for Charles Wilson (www.charleswilsonlive.com and www.myspace.com/charleswilsonlive). I have about ten albums from him, but I hardly ever listen to them. As a singer I don稚 rate him very high, and his material tends to be for the most part rather clich馘 and repetitious. Perhaps I should see him on stage sometimes.

The After Party (CDS Records; www.cdsentertainment.com) is almost completely Simuel Overall痴 aka Simeo痴 project, since he produced the CD, arranged, mixed, mastered and programmed it, plus mostly wrote all the songs, except a lilting mid-pacer called Watch It Shake.

Of the four slowies, ironically the only song that made me take notice was a yuletide duet with Simeo titled Christmas in Memphis. Among the mid-pacers you can hear strong influence sometimes from Tyrone Davis (Plumber Man), sometimes from Marvin Gaye (Candlelight), but again only one song appealed to me the laid-back You池e the Shhh with a rather intense vocal performance from Charles. Mississippi Boy is a hidden bonus track. A routine job again, I知 afraid, and this time with very poor programming.


DICKY WILLIAMS

Dicky (www.dickywilliams.com and www.myspace.com/dickytwilliams) has been on the scene for about fifty years now, but I知 Back Again (CDS 1001) is his first CD in over ten years. He痴 backed by the Ken Massey Group, and Ken also produced the set. He and Dicky wrote all the songs.

Dicky still sticks to his big-voiced, at times roaring blues singing and on the background Ken Massey can稚 control himself but plays guitar solos as often as possible, including some irritating rock ones. For soul folks there are actually only three tracks: a slow bluesoul confession called Lovin One Woman at a Time, a mid-tempo bouncer titled Sugar Daddy痴 Back and finally a fast-tempo ditty or novelty, actually - named Love & Sex is not the same, on which Dicky declares his love by talking his way through the song.


STAN MOSLEY

The first time I talked to Stan was right after the release of his Standing Tall EP in 1996, and if you wish you can start from that interview and get acquainted with Stan Mosley痴 early career, too.

Stan痴 previous 05 CD, Steppin Out, was arguably his best that far, and now he has come up with Man Up on CDS Records. In spite of his hit history, I致e never been a fan of Floyd Hamberlin Jr痴 music, and now he has ruined Stan痴 new CD by producing it, writing the material for it and playing on it.

Stan is a great singer. I致e always liked his voice and soulful style of singing, and also now he does the best he can within Floyd痴 musical setting. Almost non-stop party music with some hooky choruses, there痴 only one mid-pacer (Mr DJ) and only two ballads - an intense testimony called You & Me and a mellower one titled Bitter with the Sweet, which suffers from poorly programmed horns. In short, only Stan痴 singing keeps this CD afloat.

For all the indie CDs above, please turn to www.intodeepmusic.com.

MISTER KING

Now I値l be short, since Take Shape has really nothing to do with soul music, expect that this is Anna King痴 son (www.myspace.com/soulking). In his life he has gone through deep depression, bad marriage, has been molested repeatedly but has now pulled through with the aid of his new lady friend and his music.

Produced by Mister King and P.M. Eaton, the CD features real instruments, and the music varies from psychedelic rock to free jazz and it痴 very experimental throughout. Will I Be Alright is a smooth and simple ballad with Mister King using his high tenor skilfully. I also enjoyed the slow duet with Juliana Woodard titled Don稚 Blow Me Down. But mostly it痴 poetic rock & jazz music.


GO GOSPEL GO!

ELAINE NORWOOD

There are as many as forty musicians and thirty-three singers backing Elaine (www.elainenorwood.com) on her latest CD, Double Blessing (Highly Favored/EveJim Records 2075). Among the players you can spot such names as Paul Jackson Jr., Jerry Mason, Gordon Campbell and James Manning, and among the background singers there are Brenda Lee Eager, Peggi Blu and Jim Gilstrap. Leon Haywood and Jerry Peters produced the set and Jerry also wrote his seven tracks.

On some of the six hand-clapping, uptempo cuts Elaine combines traditional gospel elements with a more contemporary, almost funky groove, and it comes off surprisingly well. Among the seven slow songs the most noteworthy one is I知 in Love with Jesus, a beautiful melody, which was written by Zuri Dixon and the late Richard Cason. Donald LawrenceSeasons also makes an impression and it gradually grows towards the end (clocking at 7:25). Jerry Peters You Were There (7:34) and I Will Praise Him (8:37) are similarly structured.

Elaine痴 previous CD a couple of years earlier, God Has a Way (True Vine/EveJim Records 2072), also deserves a mention, because it痴 an easier case for those soul fans, who are not so hardcore gospel addicts. Produced by Leon Haywood and Keith Buckhalter, there are numerous melodic and soul-infused slowies, such as If I Ain稚 Got You (written by Alicia Keys), God Has a Way of Working It Out, I知 Blessed, True Vine, Have Faith (both by Leon himself) and Good News. On the uptempo front, Rance AllenDo Your Will is the most captivating one (acknowledgements to Mike Ward).


BRUCE HAWES

We close this time with an email message from a great writer out of Philadelphia, Bruce Hawes: 的 am happy to say that I am staying very busy with multiple film and television projects. I am still working on my book, "Growing up in the sound of Philadelphia." I expect to finish this year. Further, I am celebrating my 50th year as an entertainer. I began performing at age 3.

鄭lso announcing:
We have begun construction of a music and song writer critique web site here in the States. Veteran writers will be employed to critique and recommend the up and coming from the world entertainment community. The Web site is called: musicwriteradvisory.com. The readers of your magazine article can contact me or my Business manager, Paula W. Grant at the following email address for more information:
HawesBruce @ aol.com
WrtrAdvis @ aol.com

Heikki Suosalo




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