RIP BILL WITHERS

Bill Withers has passed away at age 81. I’ve written a fair amount about Withers on this site (see here and here) but the closest I feel like I’ve ever come to articulating what made him such a memorable singer and songwriter came with this 2012 review I wrote of his Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters anthology.

At risk of being solipsistic, this is what I wrote for my intro and it still stands true to me today.

“It may sound contradictory to describe Bill Withers’ voice as “uniquely plainspoken,” but this singer and songwriter from West Virginia coal country began his career at the crossroads between folk, R&B and rock. He was neither a showy shouter nor a sweet crooner. Instead, Withers always conveyed his emotions with a simple, forthright earnestness — the everyman singer with a poet’s soul.”

As a bonus, never forget this awesome 1972 live performance; check out my fly guy James Gadson on drums with his sparkling smile.

SOUL SIDES/HEAT ROCKS MAILBAG EP 1

Part of how I’ve wanted to spend these weeks of social distancing time is by creating more things for people to listen to and one of the things I put out via the Heat Rocks podcast Facebook group was asking for topics you’d like myself and/or Morgan to talk about and of course, Soul Sides’ readers are always welcome to throw out your own topics (leave it in the comments section below).

Here’s episode #1, where I answer two questions: 1) what kind of music was I really into in college? 2) What’s an example of artist/album from a genre that Heat Rocks typically does not get into?

Listen here or subscribe via iTunes.

SHADES OF SOUL X ARTFORM RADIO MAR 2020

For your listening pleasure, here’s my latest set for Artform Radio on Worldwide FM. Tracklisting:

  • Junior Mance: Cubano Chant
  • BC & S: Sunshine
  • The Montereys: Get Down
  • Ronny Lapine: Side by Side
  • Weldon Irvine: I Love You
  • Sly and the Family Stone: Time For Livin’ (Alt Mix)
  • Seven Seas: Pat’s Jam
  • Los Grimm: Para Lograr Que Me Quieras (I’m Gonna Make You Love Me)
  • Robb Jarmain: I’m All Alone
  • Julius Brockington & The Magic Force: This Feeling
  • Jean Wells: What Have I Got To Lose?
  • 79.5: Terrorize My Heart (Disco Dub)
  • Joby and the Angels: Bang Bang
  • Fela Kuti: Lover
  • The Skatalites Meet King Tubby: Heaven’s Gate
  • The Sinseers: It Was Only a Dream 
  • Banda Macho: Party Down
  • San Francisco TKOs: Make Up Your Mind
  • The Village Callers: When You’re Gone
  • Cal Tjader and Eddie Palmieri: Samba Do Suenho 

THE SIDEBAR, EP. 37: SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE MIX IT UP (W/ MICHAEL BARNES)

Part of how I’m dealing with the Great Disruption is by creating more things for folks to listen to so I blew the dust off my old personal podcast, The Sidebar, and invited an old friend/colleague, Michael Barnes of The Melting Pot to join me and talk about a unique version of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1974 album, Small Talk, that he came upon over 10 years ago.

Listen direct here or subscribe to The Sidebar in Apple podcasts.

SOUL SIDES VOL 1 ON SPOTIFY

I didn’t realize this until a friend pointed it out but my longtime out of print compilation, Soul Sides Vol. 1, is on Spotify:

All things considered, I’m still very proud of the comp and more to the point: I think it holds up in terms of the selections. I realize that’s self-serving for me to say but in contrast, I don’t feel like Vol. 2 aged nearly as well. If I had a do-over for that volume, I’d probably change most of the songs or perhaps abandon the covers angle altogether. Vol. 1 though still feels like both a snapshot of my tastes at the time I put it together but most of the selections also feel timeless to me. Anyways, if this is your first or 30th time listening, hope you enjoy!

SHADES OF SOUL X ARTFORM RADIO FEB 2020

Here’s my most recent outing on Artform Radio/WorldWide FM. You’ll have to excuse the few seconds of silence preceding song #2 (Jamila Woods). Warped records = ugh.

Tracklisting:

  • Les Mogol: Sunset in Golden Horn
  • Jamila Woods: Betty
  • Truthettes: So Good to be Alive (Teddy Pendergrass)
  • Ciel Miner: Stardust (Philadelphia)
  • King Nando: Where Is My Future?
  • Jimmy Heath: Smilin Billy
  • Delfonics: He Don’t Really Love You
  • La Zara and the Dominants: Didn’t I
  • Irma Thomas: Hitting On Nothing
  • Breakers Two: I’m Gonna Get Down
  • Flame and the Sons of Darkness: Something
  • Gal Costa: Baby
  • Andrew Oldham Orchestra: The Last Time
  • Ray Alexander Technique: My Special One
  • Exsaveyons: I Don’t Love You No More
  • The New Expression: Don’t Have Time to Lose (s/o Michael Barnes)
  • The Night Walkers: Can I Change My Mind
  • Bola Sete: Bettina

SHADES OF SOUL: BACK ON ARTFORM RADIO

I was recently part of the crew that helped launch the weekly Artform Radio series that’s being broadcast on WorldWide FM. Here’s the episode of the my first show:

Tracklisting:

  • R.D. Burman: Dance Music
  • Crowns of Glory: Lord Hold Me In Your Arms
  • Edith Jones: I Don’t Care No More
  • The Delfonics: He Don’t Really Love You
  • Herman Davis: Gotta Be Loved
  • Fully Guaranteed: We Can’t Make It Together
  • Ahmad Jamal: the World is a Ghetto
  • Los Moskas: Amor Sin Suerte
  • Joby Valente: Tu N’Es Pas Riche, Tu N’Es Pas Beau
  • The Night Walkers: Stormy
  • Nina Simone: Cosi Ti Amo
  • Swan Silvertones: You Pray On
  • IA&P Co: Check Yourself
  • Sir Wales Wallace: What Ever You Want
  • Adrian Younge: Fly Wallenda 
  • Enchanted Five: Have You Ever
  • Willie Brown: Love That Stranger
  • The Ambassadords: Ain’t Got the Love
  • James Taylor: This Girl
  • Deen Dodge: Perfect Love
  • OIympia Brass Band: Tuba Fats

SINGLE SERVINGS 003: CAROLYN SULLIVAN’S “DEAD”

In this episode of Single Servings, we look at “Dead,” a single originally arranged/co-written by Moses Dillard and recorded by Carolyn Sullivan in two versions, one for the local Dallas-Fort Worth label, Soft, then picked up for national distribution by Philips. It’s one of the most morose soul songs out there, with its local version including graphic details of suicide. Even the more sanitized version is still plenty dark but what makes it memorable is also the fact that Major Bill Smith, who ran Soft alongside several other labels, ended up pressing up well over a dozen different versions, vocal and instrumental alike, on a variety of imprints. See Mark Allbones’s continual cataloging of the “Dead” permutations over at Soul Source.

For this episode, I was joined by David Haffner of Friends of Sound, the San Antonio record store that was started by Haffner in Austin.

This episode featured snippets of the following songs:

  • Carolyn Sullivan: Dead (Philips)
  • Carolyn Sullivan: Dead (Soft)
  • Edith Jones: I Don’t Care No More (Le Cam)
  • Phyllis Brown: Dead (Soft)
  • Cutty Sark: Dusty (Zuma)
  • Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display: Got To Find a Way Pt. 2

Listen here or subscribe the Soul Sides’ Sidebar podcast series (which includes Single Servings episodes).