Category Archives: Soul

CULT CLASSIC: NKEM NJOKU AND OZZOBIA BROTHERS-OZABIA SPECIAL. 

Cult Classic: Nkem Njoku and Ozzobia Brothers–Ozobia Special. Tabansi Records was founded in Nigeria in 1952, and filled a void when major labels like Decca and later, Philips closed the doors on their Nigerian operations. Chief Tabansi, who lent his name to what would become Nigeria’s most important label, recorded artists and then pressed the records at …

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CULT CLASSIC: THE AWAKENING-HEAR, SENSE AND FEEL.

Cult Classic: The Awakening-Hear, Sense and Feel. Of the twenty albums that Black Jazz Records released between 1971 and 1975, The Awakening’s Hear, Sense and Feel is a much prized rarity amongst collectors. Copies of the album change hands for hundreds of dollars. That is no surprise given the quality of music The Awakening recorded. It …

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YOU GAVE ME A REASON TO LIVE-SOUTHERN AND DEEP SOUL FROM LOUISIANA. 

You Gave Me Reason To Live-Southern And Deep Soul From Louisiana. Label: Kent Soul. Format: CD. During the sixties and seventies, South-West Louisiana was famous for its vibrant and music industry which was soon expanding and thriving. Initially, the region was famous for the Cajun sound and Zydeco, but soon, artists and producers started recording …

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THE CLARK SISTERS-THE SOUND OF GOSPEL RECORDS’ YEARS 1976-1981.

The Clark Sisters-The Sound Of Gospel Records’ Years 1976-1981. By the late-sixties, both jazz and blues were no longer as popular as they once had been.  That was when it dawned on some mucicians that unless the music they loved evolved,  is risked becoming irrelevant. Both jazz and blues evolved and over fifty years later, …

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CLASSIC ALBUM: DR JOHN-DR JOHN’S GUMBO.

Classic Album: Dr John-Dr John’s Gumbo. Success didn’t come overnight for the late, great Dr John. His first three albums failed to chart and his fourth album The Sun, Moon and Herbs stalled at 184 in the US Billboard 200 in August 1971. This was progress for one of music’s great survivors. He was on his way and returned in April 1972 with his breakthrough album Dr John’s …

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CULT CLASSICS: VICTOR CHUKWU-AKALAKA-/UNCLE VICTOR CHUKS AND THE BLACK IROKOS-THE POWER.

Cult Classics: Victor Chukwu–Akalaka /Uncle Victor Chuks and The Black Irokos–The Power. By 1977, Victor Chukwu was regarded as one of masters of Igbo highlife and over the next two years recorded two of his most important and rarest albums. The first was a solo album Akalaka, and the second was The Power which was credited to …

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MODERNITY.

Modernity. Label: Kent Dance. Format: CD. Ever since the birth of rock ’n’ roll, youth cults have come and gone. Some have proven to be nothing more than passing fads that nowadays, are mere footnotes in cultural history. Some youth cults have endured, and played an important part in British culture. However, none of the …

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KASAI ALLSTARS-BLACK ANTS ALWAYS FLY TOGETHER, ONE BANGLE MAKES NO SOUND.

Kasai Allstars-Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound. Label: Crammed Discs. Format: CD. In December 2008, the Kasai Allstars released their critically acclaimed  debut album In The 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into A Swimming Fish and Ate The Head Of His Enemy By Magic. Critics were won over by music which …

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CULT CLASSIC: ESTHER PHILLIPS-WHAT A DIFF’RENCE A DAY MAKES.

Cult Classic: Esther Phillips-What A Diff’rence A Day Makes. Despite releasing eighteen albums during a career that lasted thirty-five years most people haven’t heard of Esther Phillips. That’s a great shame because she was one of the most talented, versatile and underrated singers of her generation. She possessed a totally unique and unmistakable voice and her versatility allowed …

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EVERYBODY MAKES A MISTAKE: STAX SOUTHERN SOUL VOLUME 2.

Everybody Makes A Mistake: Stax Southern Soul Volume 2. Label: Kent Soul. Format: CD. Satellite Records was founded in 1957 by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton  and four years later in 1961 the label changed its name to Stax Records. The newly named label was joined by Volt Records which was its sister label. This …

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CULT CLASSIC: DR JOHN-IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD.

Cult Classic: Dr John-In A Sentimental Mood. There aren’t many musicians who enjoy the longevity that the late, great Dr John enjoyed. His career lasted the best part of sixty years and he released thirty studio albums and nine live albums. Dr John also won six Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and …

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GEORGE OHTSUKA QUINTET-LOVING YOU GEORGE.

George Ohtsuka Quintet-Loving You George. Label: Wewantsounds. Format: CD. When the George Otsuka Quintet took to the stage at the Nemu Jazz Inn on the ‘19th’ of July 1975 the Japanese bandleader, composer and drummer was thirty-seven and about to record a live album. He was following in the footsteps of Norman Connors, Eddie Henderson …

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GENE RUSSELL-NEW DIRECTION.

Gene Russell-New Direction. Label: Real Gone Music. Format: CD. In 1969, pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California. The nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They …

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CLASSIC ALBUM: DR JOHN-IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

Classic Album: Dr John-In The Right Place. Very few musicians or bands can be accurately described as an overnight success. That is something that hardly ever exists except in the minds of a few tabloid journalists . The reality is that most bands need to do the hard yards and hone their sound before commercial …

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KEITH MANSFIELD-VIVID UNDERSCORES.

Keith Mansfield-Vivid Underscores. Label: Be With Records. Format: LP. Composer, arranger and musician Keith Mansfield nowadays is recognised and regarded as one the doyens of library music and original copies of his albums are now highly collectable. This includes Vivid Underscores which was released in 1977, a year after his other genre classic Contempo. Both …

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SLY AND THE VISCAYNES-YELLOW MOON: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1961-1962.

Sly and The Viscaynes-Yellow Moon: The Complete Recordings 1961-1962. Label: Ace Records. Format: CD. By 1960, there were only two high schools in the city of Vallejo which is situated in the northeastern corner of San Francisco Bay. St Vincent’s and the Vallejo High School which was where the members of The Viscaynes would matriculate. …

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CULT CLASSIC: KELLEE PATTERSON-MAIDEN VOYAGE.

Cult Classic: Kellee Patterson-Maiden Voyage. When pianist Gene Russell and percussionist Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records in Oakland, California, in 1971, the nascent label’s raison d’être was “to promote the talents of young African American jazz musicians and singers.” This was only part of their vision for their new label. They were determined that …

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CULT CLASSIC: DOUG CARN FEATURING THE VOICE OF JEAN CARN-SPIRIT OF THE NEW LAND.

Cult Classic: Doug Carn Featuring The Voice Of Jean Carn-Spirit Of The New Land. Doug Carn was one of the first artists that Gene Russell and Dick Schory signed when they founded Black Jazz Records in 1971. His debut solo album Infant Eyes was the nascent company’s third release and featured vocals from his wife …

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CULT CLASSIC: DR JOHN-REMEDIES.

Cult Classic: Dr John-Remedies. Although Dr John eventually won six Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2011, commercial success and critical acclaim didn’t come overnight for the great showman who released thirty studio albums and nine live albums during a career that spanned six  decades where his music fell in and out of fashion. Dr John …

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