7 DAYS OF SOUL: ZILLA MAYES

Zilla

Zilla Mayes: All I Want Is You (Tou-Sea, 1968, 7″) (Available on The Lost Sessions)

Even if this song screams “NOLA” thanks to the touch of writer/arranger/co-producer Allen Toussaint, Zilla Mayes/Mays herself was far more of a fixture in Atlanta. As a recording artist, she primarily cut blues tunes; there’s a phenomenal series of photos killer photo of her recording “Come Back to Me” for RCA’s Groove subsidiary in 1955. However, Mayes was best known as a pioneering radio DJ, the first Black woman to grace a booth in Georgia when […]

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7 DAYS OF SOUL: THE RELATIVES

Relatives

The Relatives: More Time (To Explain) (Archway, 1971, 7″)

I learned about this Bay Area 7″ from the late Matthew Africa; I not only have a soft spot for Bay Area sweet soul and songs that use both male and female singers, but throw in some background harmonizing and I’m positively weak in the knees.

Best that I can piece together, the Relatives were a one-off group put together by Archie Reynolds III (producer) and Larry Coney (singer/writer/co-arranger). There’s a remarkable musical biography of Reynolds available here; he grew up […]

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7 DAYS OF SOUL: MAJOR LANCE

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Major Lance: Sweet Music (Okeh, 1963, 7″) (Available on The Best of Major Lance

There’s an entire generation of early 1960s R&B artists that I’ve yet to sit with; a huge gap in my soul knowledge. That certainly includes Major Lance who I was mildly aware of but until I picked up this pic-sleeve 7″  from the Groove Merchant in the fall, I had never owned anything by him before. I had heard “Um Um Um Um Um Um,” before but “Sweet Music” was […]

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7 DAYS OF SOUL: HENRY LUMPKIN

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For day 3 of the 7 Days of Soul challenge, I plucked out a b-side from a 7″ I scored whilst out in Paris in the summer (s/o to Superfly).

Henry Lumpkin: If I Could Make Magic (Buddah, 1967, 7′) (Available on Classmates)

I had never heard of Lumpkin before and perhaps that’s not surprising since he was one of those ’60s artists who landed some promising opportunities – first at Motown, then at Buddah – but couldn’t crack the barrier to national stardom. […]

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7 DAYS OF SOUL: THE ARCS

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Day two of the 7 days of soul challenge brings me to a song I first heard via Heartbreak Radio:

The Arcs: Stay In My Corner (Nonesuch, 2015, Yours, Dreamily)

The Arcs pairs Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys with Leon Michels of Truth and Soul Records plus a crack team of New York’s retro-soul studio musicians including drummer Homer Steinweiss and bassist Nick Movshon. I confess, when I first heard about this project in the late spring, I was […]

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1965

Did I forget to mention that for the last year, I’ve been a member of the Pop Rocket podcast? Oops.

But check it out, the other week, we celebrated our 50th episode by revisiting the year in pop culture for 1965. For the occasion, I scoured the thousands of soul songs that came out that year, picked out a slew of my personal favorites…and then looked to see which of ’em where on Spotify.

I’ll say this much about ’65. On the one hand, it’s not my favorite year of the ’60s in terms of music. […]

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7 DAYS OF SOUL: BOBBY TAYLOR AND THE VANCOUVERS

Malinda

Back in October, Michael Barnes invited me to the 7 Days of Soul Challenge but I didn’t have a chance to get to it until now and I figured this could double up as a short year-end wrap of some of my favorite songs of 2015. However, before we get there…

1) I began the year with the best of intentions: to post a song a day for the entire year. However, as my few daily readers know, I made a good run through June but the momentum couldn’t sustain itself.1 […]

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TIMMY THOMAS: RHYTHM KING

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Timmy Thomas: In the Beginning (Glades, 1972, Why Can’t We Live Together?

The infectious success of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” (memes and all) is one of those semi-annual reminders that Timmy Thomas’s “Why Can’t We Live Together” exists.1 You can’t call Thomas’s 1972 single “obscure” by any means; it was a huge hit for him at the time and it’s been liberally sampled and covered over those years but still, we haven’t seen Thomas’s work get this kind of shine in years.

The Glades issue of “Why Can’t […]

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A BETTY DAVIS FILM

If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a huge fan of Betty Davis and it’s good to see that someone’s finally making a film about her (with her participation). Help to fund the project here.

WYNNE OR LOSE

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Wynne Unit Band: It’s Over (Texas Prison Rodeo, 1980, Behind the Walls)

Part of the appeal of prison soul albums lies in how a narrative of redemption is built into their very existence. They exist, whether intentionally or not, as rehabilitation projects, where inmates use music as a way of reconnecting with “legitimate” society. Whether that’s all a facade or not, it’s how most prison LPs are set up, this exemplary one out of Texas being no exception. The Guardian published a write-up about Wynne Unit and its musicians back in […]

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