Category Archives: soul

Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Album cover for Valerie June's The Mood and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Valerie June’s voice drew me into this album. I’ve never heard a voice like hers. It’s a little Dolly and a little Erykah and nothing like either. Her voice is wracked with vulnerability yet has the chops to run with any classic girl group. Her songs and lyrics made me stay. The songs are beautifully crafted and move us through… Read more »

The Supremes – I Hear a Symphony

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Released: February 18, 1966 In the 1960’s, Motown was in the business of making money and they accomplished that by producing a great product. The Supremes’ I Hear a Symphony is one of the crowning achievements of that plan. It is an album that existed somehow in the past and present simultaneously. Originally conceived as a Motown take on old… Read more »

Review: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Beat of Our Own Drum.

Label: self-released (CD Baby) Released: February 24, 2009 JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound hail from Chicago, have a song about Baltimore and sound like Detroit…in the 60s. That was the time and place where the local airwaves were a battleground between Motown and garage rock. While not the greatest to emerge from that scene, it was probably Mitch Ryder… Read more »

Review: Nikka Costa – Pebble to a Pearl

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Label: Stax Released: October 14, 2008 Soul has become a genre dominated by artists that have a real shortage of, well, soul. Sure, there’s Jill Scott and a renaissance for Sharon Jones and Bettye Levette. That first Joss Stone album a few years back was even pretty good. But for each of these artists, there seems to be bazillions of… Read more »

Review: Eli “Paperboy” Reed and The True Loves – Roll With You

Label: Q Division Released: April 29, 2008 Last month, I drove to a funeral in another state. Funerals, especially funerals for a man who sort of became my surrogate father when my own dad was 2,000 miles away, aren’t usually enjoyable experiences, so I made sure to pack the car full of fun music. I threw a couple of classic… Read more »

DVD: James Brown – I Got the Feeling: James Brown in the 60s

Label: Shout Factory Released: August 5, 2008 There is little doubt that James Brown is an iconic figure in American music. From “Please, Please, Please” to “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud),” Brown has found a way to resonate not only within the Black community, but also in a broader America. As Al Sharpton says in The Night… Read more »

Review: Mingering Mike – Super Gold Greatest Hits

Label: eMusic Released: June 17, 2008 DIY is a term often associated with punk rock, not soul, but soul artist Mingering Mike embodies that ethic as well if not better than the most serious punk purist. Super Gold Greatest Hits is a homemade album of Mike’s soul songs recorded with only vocals and percussion (which amounts to whatever was around… Read more »

Review: Otis Redding – Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (2008 Collector’s Edition)

Label: Rhino Released: April 22, 2008 Otis Blue is a widely accepted soul classic and for good reason. It finds Redding running through some great soul tunes, many made famous by others, yet it never makes you long for the other versions (even Aretha’s version of “Respect”). He’s just that powerful of a singer. “Satisfaction,” one of rock’s most overrated… Read more »

Review: Van Morrison – Keep It Simple

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Label: Lost Highway Released: April 1, 2008 Van Morrison has done some of his best work over the last decade or so. The old curmudgeon has shown that he still knows how to put his entire soul into song, whether he’s making an album that concentrates on folk or soul or even skiffle. That makes Keep It Simple kind of… Read more »

Review: Lack of Afro – Touch My Soul

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Label: Freestyle Records Released: March 24, 2008 The cover of Touch My Soul is a take-off on Small Faces’ Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. The song features Steve Marriott’s voice right out of “Afterglow (of Your Love).” But if you’re expecting Lack of Afro (aka Adam Gibbons) to be much like Small Faces, you’ve got another thing coming. Sure, “Afterglow” was… Read more »