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* TIDBITS: Thanks To The Black Rock Coalition, Buddy Miles Comes To The Soul-Patrol Chat Room (10/24/2006 @ 10pm est), C-O-M-P-E-L-L-I-N-G M-U-S-I-C?

* CD Review: Natalie Cole - "Leavin"
* CD Review: Don Byron - "Do The Boomerang (The Music of Junior Walker)"
* CD Review: King Curtis - "Live At Fillmore West (Deluxe Edition)"
* CD Review: Paradise Freejahlove Supreme - "Jazz-Funk-Hip-HoPoetry"
* CD Review: Gladys Knight - Before Me
* CD Review: Trudy Lynn (w/Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra) - "I'm Still Here"
* CD Review: Steve Cole - "true"
* CD Review: Paul Samuels - "Speak"
* CD Review: Lee Ritenour - "Smoke 'N' Mirrors"
* CD Review: Gary Taylor - "Retro Blackness"
* CD Review: Ginetta's Vendetta - "La Dolce Vita"
* CD Review: Booboo Davis - "Drew, Missisippi"
* CD Review: Silk - "Always and Forever"
* CD Review: Jackie Payne Steve Edmonson Band - "Master Of The Game"
* CD Review: Ray Parker Jr.- "I'm Free"



Welcome To The Soul-Patrol Newsletter
1. Buddy Miles Comes To The Soul-Patrol Chat Room (10/24/2006 @ 10pm est)

BUDDY MILES(10/24/2006) A one hour chat session (starting at 10pm est) in the Soul-Patrol chat room hosted by the legendary drummer/guitarist/vocalist BUDDY MILES. During the session Buddy will take your questions about his career, past, present and future as one of the pioneers in fusing together funk/soul/rock/blues music and doing so during a period of American history when it wasn't really "safe" to do so. Buddy will also bring us up to date on his current and future activities. Hopefully you will be able to attend and interact directly with Buddy Miles during the session here on Soul-Patrol.

Click here for more info on Buddy Miles...



2. What do we mean by ...C-O-M-P-E-L-L-I-N-G M-U-S-I-C?

--"Music so HIGH, you can't get over it...Music so LOW, you can't get under it"
--Music that FORCES you to buy it the FIRST TIME that you hear it.
--A song that even if you don't like it's "genre", you understand why it's classic.
--Music that is so good, you try to get as many people as possible to buy it also.
--Music that literally contains the power to change your life.
--Music that isn't even "popular", but it has become a part of your very soul.


And that is the kind of music we try to bring you here on Soul-Patrol. There is nothing mediocre, half baked or half azzed here. Even when you disagree with our picks, you will understand why we made the picks that we did. And that is the ONLY kind of music that we reccomend to you. You will have to look elsewhere for the rest of it...

--Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net



CD Review: Natalie Cole - "Leavin"
(Soul/Funk/Pop)

Natalie Cole - LeavinI remember Natalie Cole all too well from back in the day. Perhaps my most lasting impression of her was her appearance at a 1974 Funk Festival at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena on a bill that also had Herbie Mann, Funkadelic, Ohio Players, George Benson and Weather Report. She followed Funkadelic and obviously she didn't belong there at all, the crowd was polite and respectful to her, because of her dad and the fact that she had just come out with her first single. But to be honest everyone in the audience (including yours truly) was happy when she got off the stage! Of course Natalie Cole went on from there to become a very successful pop artist with many hit records and eventually crossed over and became successful in jazz as well. Her life story is well known and well documented. So here we are in 2006 and what does someone like Natalie Cole do? I think that she made an excellent choice in selecting the songs for this new CD. It's very much in the vein of what our friend Bettye LaVette did. It's full of "covers", however these songs are not the obvious ones that you might select for Natalie Cole, but in the end they are perfect. Just like you wouldn't have placed Natalie Cole on the bill at a Funk Festival in 1974. The difference is that she takes these songs and makes them her own and with her voice she makes you a believer in the artistry of Natalie Cole. In today's world of illusionary talent, misplaced hype and music that has little to do with art, that is an accomplishment. One of the reasons why many people are nostalgic for the music of the past is because back then you could believe in an artist. Even if it was an artist that you didn't like, you knew that you could believe in them. I am far from being a Natalie Cole fan, however she's got a great voice and she picked the right songs for this album. I believe in Natalie Cole, she takes songs that were great before she touched them and elevated the songs themselves (much like Queen Latifah did a few years ago). This is a great album and I suspect that journey of Natalie Cole isn't over by a long shot.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Don Byron - "Do The Boomerang (The Music of Junior Walker)"
(Supersonic Jazz/Supersonic Funk)

Do The Boomerang Do you like cover songs? I do. Today it seems to be a major trend with seemingly every new album that comes down the pike consisting of cover songs. Most times these type of covers are an attempt to tug just a little bit at our feelings of nostalgia for the original and that's what makes us feel good about hearing an old favorite once again. Let me now take this moment in time to re-introduce you all to Mr. Don Byron. Don Byron is an artist that likes to do "covers" also, but his covers are different than the type of covers that we are most familiar with. Most artists who do covers attempt to duplicate the original. The rest try to put their own personal stamp on the original.

Don Byron is the only artist I am aware of who goes beyond either one of these concepts. You see when listening to his music, it feels very much like he is attempting to "obliterate" the original. He doesn't always succeed, but the attempt to do so makes you smile and think to yourself "damn he almost did it, he's a badd MF for even daring to try" (not unlike a pole vaulter who is attempting to break the world record). On the last album that we reviewed by Don Byron on Soul-Patrol called "Nu Blaxsplotation" he covers Mandrill's Fencewalk, Mango Meat and Haglo. Not even the nastiest/meanest funk bands attempt to cover Mandrill and certainly none think that they could possibly do Mandrill's songs better than Mandrill. Soul-Patrol named "Nu Blaxsplotation" as the top album of the year and one of the top albums released in the decade of the 1990's.

On his latest release Don Byron attempts to rip a new "a-hole" into not only the music of Junior Walker and the All Stars, but also James Brown. For example as I am typing this, I am listening to Don Byron's cover version of James Brown's "There It Is" and I keep hitting the repeat button because it's so amazing. I do the same on the covers he does of the Jr Walker songs like "Shotgun", Road Runner" and others. Does he "obliterate" the originals??? I'm scared to say.... But I am willing to say that we need more artists like Don Byron in Black music, who are willing to challenge "the best of the best". We are currently lacking in artists who have the guts to attempt to do this (hence we have come to accept things like "smooth jazz", "gangsta rap", etc. as being "normal", when in fact they are an insult to our intelligence and demeaning to our culture).

Click here to continue....

--Bob Davis

CD Review: King Curtis - "Live At Fillmore West (Deluxe Edition)"
(Soul/Jazz/Funk/Gospel)

King Curtis - Live At Fillmore West (Deluxe Edition) The great bass player/vocalist Michael Henderson once said to me "Bob sometimes in music you actually get to make a choice between eating grandma's cooking and eating at McDonalds, which would you pick?" Well selecting this newly reissued album from the vaults of Rhino allows one to select "grandma's cooking". The original version of this album was already semi-legendary because what it represents is the "opening act" for Aretha Franklin's groundbreaking concert at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on three consecutive nights in 1971. And of course King Curtis and the Kingpins were actually much more than "just the opening act", they also backed up Aretha Franklin (and on one of those nights Ray Charles). That's right, it is King Curtis and the Kingpins that you are hearing on the immortal duet by Ray and Aretha "Spirit in the Dark".

As a teenaged radio listener at the time of the original release of this album, I was already pretty familiar with the studio versions of these King Curtis songs, since his songs were a staple of Black radio for as long as I could remember. These songs were either sings in their own right, were used as background music while DJ's were talking, in commercials, etc. Mostly high octane funk instrumental covers of songs which had been "white radio hits"(ex:A Whiter Shade of Pale, Whole Lotta Love, Ode To Billie Joe, etc.) and R&B hits (ex: I Stand Accused, Them Changes, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, etc.) However "Memphis Soul Stew" and "Soul Serenade" are King Curtis and the Kingpin originals that stand with the best soul music of it's time.

If you don't already own the album King Curtis - "Live At Fillmore West" in its original form, then pick it up. It's one of the "essential" albums that you should own if you are a Soul music fan. Now here is the kicker, I guess I never realized that one of the members of the King Curtis band for those concerts was the late Billy Preston and on one of the previously unreleased bonus tracks, Billy Preston GOES OFF and totally ASSASSINATES George Harrison's Top 40 hit making version of "My Sweet Lord". During the summer/06 if you were a person who happened to come to my house or happened to be trapped inside of a car with me, then you got to hear this song at least 3-4 times :) and you know what I'm talking about. Take my word for it, Billy Preston now OWNS this song. Forget about George Harrison's version. If this album was "essential" in it's original form, imagine what it must be now with the inclusion of Billy Preston's "My Sweet Lord"? You can also hear this song on Soul-Patrol.Net Radio's latest FUNK broadcast at the following link: http://www.soul-patrol.net/nt_funk4.ram

If you don't already own this album, it's really a "no brainer". If you already own it in it's original form then you will want to get this new release so that you will have the bonus cuts

"Are you hungry??? Go ahead and get yourself a plate of "Grandmas' cooking...."

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Paradise Freejahlove Supreme - "Jazz-Funk-Hip-HoPoetry"
(Jazz/Funk/Spiritually Elevating Spoken Word/Like It Was Supposed To Be)

Paradise Freejahlove Supreme - Jazz-Funk-Hip-HoPoetry In some ways there isn't much to write about this new release called Jazz-Funk-Hip-HoPoetry by west coast artist Paradise Freejahlove Supreme, In most every way the title of this album speaks for itself. However I'm not going to stop there, because I belive that this album will ultimatly be of historic importance, so therefore it's important to connect a few dots from the past as we look towards the future. It is indeed one of the most compelling pieces of music that I have heard in the year 2006. You owe it to yourselves and your children to have a copy of it in your home.

Those of you who are above a certain age will recall an album from the early 1970's entitled "Hustlers Convention" by spoken word artist "Lightning Rod" (of the Last Poets). "Hustlers Convention" the 1959 cautionary tale ("one" dies and "the other" does a 10 year stretch) of two hustlers named "Sport" and Spoon" which features jazz/funk background music from the pre disco Kool & the Gang, is one of the most effective and creative pieces of artistry that I have ever heard laid down on wax. "Hustlers Convention" is the very definition of what KRS-One called "edutainment", and is truly a soundtrack begging for a movie. As such "Hustlers Convention" the model for what hip hop should have become, but never attained.

Fast Forward to 2006, Paradise Freejahlove Supreme, surely must have been exposed to "Hustlers Convention" because the album "Jazz-Funk-Hip-HoPoetry" contains many of the same elements. It's got a STANK NASTY Jazz/Funk (much like Kool & the Gang) "blackround" that will have you tapping your toes & bobbing your head the entire time you are listening. Now here is where it differs from "Hustlers Convention". Instead of telling us a fictional spoken word tale, Paradise Freejahlove Supreme delivers instead a series of essays, using the poetic form in a powerful way that compels you as a listener to pay attention. He manages to be "hardcore" without uttering a single profanity in delivering what is essentially a state of the union address on the world that we live in today. Paradise Freejahlove Supreme not only outlines the problems facing us, but also suggests positive action that can be taken on both an individual and collective basis to make life better. And because the music is so damn good, Paradise Freejahlove Supreme ends up taking you to school and you might not even realize it till he's done. If "Hustlers Convention" belongs in the movies, than "Jazz-Funk-Hip-HoPoetry" belongs on CNN.

The coolest past about owning a copy of this album is that I can listen to it with my 13 year old daughter or any other younger person. It's got a "hard core" edge that sucks you into focusing on its positive and progressive message, not unlike a Trojan Horse. If any of this sounds like it might be of interest to you, I strongly urge you to get your copy as soon as possible. I doubt that the US Government is going to allow anything that entertains and educates younger people this much to remain available for very long...

"A king wears his bling on the inside!"

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Gladys Knight - "Before Me"
(Jazz/Standards)

Gladys Knight - Before Me Ok so what do we have here? We have Gladys Knight as she covers Billy Holiday, Duke George and Ira Gershwin, Ellington, Mahalia Jackson, Lenny Welch, etc backed by the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Before we go any further it's important that we hit the rewind button and go all of the way back to the mid 1980's, when a moderately successful "country/rock" artist named Linda Ronstadt stepped in to the recording studio backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchastra and created three albums that became instant classics: "What's New," "Lush Life" and "For Sentimental Reasons". A certain "funkateer" brought these three albums, played them as often as possible and of course kept them well hidden from the view of others for fear that he would be labeled as insane.

Well now that Gladys Knight has done something similar, it's time to come clean. Now you just might be inclined to compare this album with other efforts that might appear to be similar on the surface, by other artists. Please don't do that because by doing so you would be doing Gladys Knight a disservice. However more importantly you would be doing yourself a disservice because this album is as good (and perhaps even better) than those three album masterpieces from the mid 80's by Linda Ronstadt . The reason why I felt the need here to reference these perhaps long forgotten albums by Linda Ronstadt is to make the point that "Before Me" by Gladys Knight is far superior to the three Ronstadt albums as good as they were. Gladys Knight is a far superior singer to Linda Ronstadt, and she takes the material to a far different kind of a place. In fact she takes these great songs to the kind of places that were previously thought only possible by people with last names like Fitzgerald, Wilson, Holiday, McCrae, Carter, Vaughn, etc. Those are the kind of female singers that one would expect to see associated with the songs on this album. And if I may be so bold as to add the name "Knight" to that list, not only shouldn't you be surprised, but it should make you smile.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Trudy Lynn (w/Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra) - "I'm Still Here"
(Jazz/Blues/Soul)

Ya know how when you read about the history of late 20th century popular music in one of those books authored by a former employee of Rolling Stone Magazine, they always refer to this somewhat mysterious musical genre known as "jump blues" as being one of the precursors of Rock n' Roll? I suppose them mean for "jump blues" to be some sort of a "missing link" or "rossetta stone" holding the key to the true primordial forces that created "Rock n' Roll". For a more accurate depiction of what "jump blues" might be, go back and look at the movie "Lackawana Blues" and study the house party scenes. Well the songs on Trudy Lynn's new album entitled feels like "jump blues" 2006. And it's an excellent fusion of Trudy Lynn's fiery/sultry Texas Gulf Coast soul singing fused with the uptown blues of the Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra that's guaranteed to get any party moving. Fast jams and slow jams, movin & grooving this album sounds very much to me what "jump blues" might sound like in 2006, had the term not been relegated to the scrapheap of music terminology. Along the Texas Gulf Coast in places like Houston, Galveston, Port Arthur and Beaumont, they still have "house parties" just like the ones we saw in the movie "Lackawanna Blues". Lucky for us that is the case because, take it from me, those kinds of parties can sure be a heck of a lot of fun and there are few unemployed Rolling Stone Magazine writers in attendance at these parties. And lucky for us an album like this one exists, so that people who throw these type of "house parties" on Friday nights on the Texas Gulf Coast (or anyplace else) can continue the tradition so that it can continue into the future.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Steve Cole - "true"
(Jazz/Funk)

This album was a pleasant surprise for me. When I opened it I was thinking to myself "Uh oh, here comes another typical white guy playing smooth jazz, well let me give it obligatory listen.." However there is something just a little bit different here and as I listened I couldn't quite place my finger on it. Yes it is "smooth jazz" for sure, however it isn't "smooth jazz" in the (hated) modern day context. It's just a little bit too funky for that. Then I looked at the back cover and noticed that Ricky Peterson is one of the players here and that made me smile because he is such a great B3 organ guy. As I listened to the album a little more, it stuck me that the tone of Steve Cole's sax playing reminded me of Candy Dulfer's playing (and I am a big fan of hers). I really liked the song "Just a Natural Thang", it kinda reminded me of a Cannonball Adderley style 1960's instrumental. At the end of the day I have no problem recommending this album; it's mellow, yet funky in a "CTI kinda way". Nice, easy and groovy listening.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Paul Samuels - Speak
(Straight No Chaser Jazz with a bite)

Do yall remember what that thing called "jazz" sounded like in the early 1960's? The type of jazz that would be playing in the background whenever someone like Joe Friday, or Mike Hammer would walk into a nightclub looking for a suspect? Yall know the kind of place I mean, filled with young white hipsters, wearing dark suits, white shirts and skinny ties. It was a kind of hardcore music that was supposed to somehow be at least partially a metaphor for the fact that the club itself was a hardcore place, possibly inhabited by really dangerous characters, but that our heroes despite their "white bread looks" actually knew how to handle themselves in such places and with such people. Well that is what this album sounds like. Even if you are too young to remember what jazz sounded like in those black & white movies from the early 1960's, just watch one on TV late at night and you will know what I mean. I love this album; it's been one of my secret passions all year long and I especially like the fact that they aren't afraid to cover compositions by Coltrane, Shorter and Monk. I had the good fortune of seeing the Paul Samuels Trio perform live this past summer in Cleveland at the Family Unity Festival and they are the real deal. So get the album, bring it home, pour yourself a glass of iced tea, put the headphones on and imagine that you are walking into a smoky 1960's nightclub (in black & white).

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Lee Ritenour - "Smoke 'N' Mirrors"
(Jazz/Funk/World)

Don't even think twice, if you are a longtime fan of this great guitarist, then you will love this album. And if you are new to Lee Ritenour, this album is going be like finding lost gold. This is a mellow, yet "trippy" kind of an album. In fact it's so mellow that I almost didn't make it first the third track. So what do I mean by "trippy"? Remember those almost superhuman "slow jams" that Weather Report used to do in the 70's, imagine a milder/lower volume version of that with some occasional African chanting, some Latin grooves and that is what this album sounds like. A nice surprise is finding a cover version of "Forget Me Nots" and hearing Patrice Rushen singing it here.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Gary Taylor - "Retro Blackness"
(Soul/Jazz/Mind Expanding Afrocentric Kozmic Funk)

This is what I call a "record store album". Yall know what I mean??? It's the kind of an album that when you hear it being played in the background as you are "browsing" in a record store you find yourself "bopping your head" as you flipping thru the stacks.

As you move around the store and the album moves from song to song, changing colors and moods, you "feel" your own mood shifting with the music in a subliminal way. You find yourself starting to not only "move and groove" as you make your ways thru the aisles of the record store, but you find yourself starting to pay attention to the lyrics. And then finally you stop browsing, you stand there, close your eyes and immerse yourself totally in the music, the lyrics and the vibe. At this point you have now heard 5-6 of these songs and your curiosity must be satisfied. You begin to walk towards the front of the store, where they have the antiquated in store stereo system playing and as you make your way over you are asking yourself questions like...."Is that Luther?, Is that the Isleys?, Is that Miles?, Is that Prince? Is it some lost classic? Is that Someone I've Never Heard of Before? You arrive at the front of the store and you ask the person behind the counter the magic question......"WHO IN THE HELL IS THAT PLAYING????" And they tell you...."It's something new, just came into the store, let me find the case it came in". (it ALWAYS turns out to be someone you never heard of.....lol). You inspect the back cover, and the front cover very carefully to see if you recognize any of the musicians, record label, etc (ANYTHING THAT WILL GIVE YOU A CLUE.....lol). You give up, you turn and ask the person behind the desk...."HOW MUCH FOR THIS" (as if at this point the price makes any difference whatsoever.....lol) And of course they ALWAYS say something like "Uhmmmmm It's $12.98 same as all of the other CD's in the store, and we only have 5 copies of it..." And before they finish their sentence you say...."I'LL TAKE IT".

You take it home, pour yourself a glass of "iced tea", crank up your system, look for your headphones and see if you can recapture the "magic of the record store" at home and by the time you get to song #5 not only have you already completely consumed every word in the liner notes that you didn't want to stand there reading while you were in the store for fear of looking like an idiot, but you have already pressed the repeat button!!!

So what's this album sound like? It's kinda like Donnie's album of a few years ago, but it's more "mature". It's kinda like Gil Scott Heron, but it's all singing without the spoken word or the humor and it's more romantic. It's kinda like Norman Connors + Marvin + CTI. It's kinda like Frank McComb on steroids. If Billy Stewart were alive today he might make an album like this. I could go on, but the reality is that it doesn't really matter what I have to say about it. You have to hear it for yourself...

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Ginetta's Vendetta - "La Dolce Vita"
(Jazz/Funk/Pop)

Remember when jazz used to be fun? Remember when the term "smooth jazz" didn't exist and we could just listen to jazz and have a whole lot of fun with it, remember that jazz was always supposed to be popular music and could somehow be considered to be serious at the same time? Well if you are the type of person who wants to hear some jazz that is fun, but even the thought of smooth jazz makes you want to vomit, then this may be just the album you have been searching for. If you are looking for a point of reference to compare the album La Dolce Vita by Ginetta's Vendetta to, think about the solo albums of Candy Dulfer. Just as when you look at Candy Dulfer, you would never think that she is a person who picks up the saxophone and sounds like Maceo Parker, when you look at Ginnetta she doesn't look like the kind of person who picks up a trumpet and sounds like Miles Davis (but she does). However she's not trying to copy anything about Miles, she's doing her own thing funky and fun. For example she takes the the classic Rogers & Hart song "My Funny Valentine" and starts out as though she is doing a instrumental cover and then midway switches up and turns it into an upbeat & funky song that is as danceable as Grover Washington's Mister Magic, with a trumpet that sounds vaguely like Miles in the lead. I think that this is a perfect type of an album to put on for all of your friends you suspect might like jazz, but simply don't realize it yet. See it is indeed possible for jazz to be both fun and popular without it being "smooth"...

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Booboo Davis - "Drew, Missisippi"
(Traditional Blues/Revolutionary Hip Hop/Blues in Technicolor)

Booboo Davis - Drew, Missisippi This isn't the type of an album the you are going to buy as a result of going into a record store. Somebody has to turn you on to it!!! This is the type of an album that you are going to make a special trip to the record store to go and get. When you get to the record store they will of course tell you that they don't have it in stock and they have never heard of it. And then they will tell you "let me check and see if I can order it for you". And when they go into the "back" (that mysterious place inside of the record store that we all think is where they keep the "gold"....lol) we are standing there waiting and hoping that when they come back that "they can order it". When they come back, they say "we can order it, and it will be here on Friday"... You breathe a sigh of relief and in your head quickly re-arrange your entire Friday schedule so that you can get to the record store as soon as possible!!!

So what does the album "Drew, Missisippi" by Boo Boo Davis sound like??? Well I think that it's what Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker would sound like if they were young "bluesmen" in 2006. Back in the early 1990's when I first came on the internet, I belonged to a Blues discussion forum and I wrote a piece that compared the lyrics of Muddy Waters and Ice Cube. Of course my point was that the lyrical subject matter of BOTH Muddy Waters and Ice Cube songs are EXACTLY THE SAME. And of course the other people in the discussion forum thought I was crazy to mention Muddy Waters and Ice Cube in the same sentence. I always thought that piece was one of the best pieces of musical analysis that I have ever written, unfortunately I no longer have it otherwise I would post it for you. The reason I mention it today is because ever since the day I wrote that piece I have been waiting for this album to appear, and now it has. The only albums that I can think of to compare it to is Jimi Hendrix - "Are You Experienced" or perhaps to Miles Davis - "In A Silent Way". This is a revolutionary piece of art that fuses together musical styles that when you say it, most people would flinch, however after you hear it, the art makes absolutely perfect sense and you realize that whomever the people are that created this are to be thanked for creating such great and innovative art, that is so far outside of the mainstream, that if the mainstream ever got a hold of it, that the mainstream itself would be "compelled" to change!!!

The idea of doing this is hardly new. Many "blues artists" have tried to do this over the past 10 years, however not one that I have ever heard has perfected it, till now. As soon as you listen to "Drew, Missisippi" by Boo Boo Davis, you will know that you have discovered something special, in fact it sounds like it could change the the lives of many people, if enough people would bother to listen.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Silk - "Always and Forever"
(Classic Soul)


Silk - Always and Forever We talk quite a bit about the seeming disappearance of something called the "Black Male Vocal Group Harmony Tradition". And when we talk about it, we are usually thinking about the disappearance of new music from artists like Blue Magic, Chi-Lites, Delfonics, Dells, Black Ivory, O'Jays, Ray, Goodman & Brown, etc from commercial "knee-gro radio stations". Seems like somewhere around the late 90's it completely disappeared and was replaced by the "Boy Bands" which in an example of pure culture banditry, simply hijacked the structure of the "Black Male Vocal Group Harmony Tradition", .and replaced it with a white face. However often left out of this conversation is that during the late 80's - mid 90's there was a brief resurgence in this sound via artists like Boyz To Men, New Edition, Solo and of course Silk. Unfortunately that sound was often drowned out by the emergence of rap music during the same period and then ultimately left for dead by the "Boy Bands". Silk had a MONSTER hit record with the song "Freak Me" back in the early 90's that made us all smile for a moment and then they disappeared. Now they are back and with any luck at all they should do quite well with their new album "Always and Forever" on the Shanachie label. Personally I think that they picked some excellent artists to cover in Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, Heatwave, Blue Magic, etc. By dong so they are demonstrating to the "old headz" that the talent that they showed during the 1990's was no illusion at all. They are also going to introduce their own generation to some classic music from the previous generation. In doing so they are not only extending this music forward, but also demonstrating that they need to be mentioned when you talk about the great vocal groups of all time. And why is that?

cuz this album S-M-O-K-E-S

Now take that "Boy Bands" (and Silk will still be around 25 years from now)

Now obviously this is a great "make out album", however there is some truly great stuff going on here. Do me (and yourself) a fava. After you pick up this album, make sure that the very first time that you play it, you put your headphones on and listen to the whole thing all of the way thru. For example Silk covers the song which is in my opinion the very best "slow jam" of the past 20 years: "Secret Garden" and they do it up nice. Is it as album as good the original songs? You will have to decide for yourselves, but I guarantee that you will be smiling after you hear "Always and Forever" and I guarantee you that after that first listen with your headphones on, you will be playing it again, except it will be without the headphones and you will be grabbing your "significant other"....(cuz that is what happened to me)

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Jackie Payne Steve Edmonson Band - "Master Of The Game"
(Southern Soul/Blues)

Jackie Payne Steve Edmonson Band - Master Of The Game In the liner notes for "Master of the Game" it says: "For their Delta Groove debut the tight as a drum road tested band entered the studio at the height of their powers. "Master of the Game" showcases a set of powerful Payne/Edmonson originals augmented by fresh arrangements of great songs by the likes of Johnny Taylor and Bobby Bland. "

If we take a serious look at the history of Black music, one of the things that we will find is that it has rarely ever been just one thing. It's always been about fusing together many different styles Today when people see terms like "Nu/Neo Soul" it brings to mind a "revival of a kinda jazz/funk/vocal groove" that brings to mind artists like Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Donny Hathaway, etc. However this particular style is not the only one that is undergoing a "revival" in Soul music today. Back in the 1970's the sound of Memphis as represented by Stax and Al Green was one of the dominant forces in music. Listening to the title track of the new album "Master of the Game" by the Jackie Payne Steve Edmonson Band has my mind floating back to those days. The song has got this absolutely wicked organ/horn section combination going on and it's combined with a story with a headline that reads "When it comes to playing a fool baby, I'm a master of the game". This is the overall musical feel of the entire album and I like it. So with that type of historical backdrop in mind, I think that this is the type of an album that's going to be opening more than a few doors as well as a few minds. Today the term that is used is "Southern Soul". When I think of the term "Southern Soul" it brings to mind music from artists like Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Betty Wright, Latimore, Dorothy Moore, Al Green and others from the past. Today "Southern Soul" takes it's inspiration from that period/sound and brings it up to date in a way that will make you smile. In some ways it's a shame that we let the names of the categories divide us as music fans, when what we should be doing is listening to the music. For example, does anyone here remember and artist named Joe Tex? Well if you do, then when you listen to the song "Sweet Landlady" from the album "Master of the Game', your mind will immediately go back and start thinking about the music of Joe Tex. See in my mind anybody who is reviving the musical style of someone like Joe Tex deserves all of the props in the world.

There are some people who try to treat Soul music as if it's a "museum piece". Then there are those who know that it has a future and seek to carve out a path for it that uses the past for guidance. I think that the Jackie Payne Steve Edmonson Band is doing a pretty good job of clarifying the some more of details of that path.

--Bob Davis

CD Review: Ray Parker Jr.- "I'm Free"
(Soul/Jazz/Blues/Rock/Latin)

Ray Parker Jr.- I'm Free Taken from Ray Parker Jr's Official Bio - Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, and Producer Ray Parker Jr. had hits as Raydio (the million-selling Jack and Jill, You Can't Change That), Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio (Two Places at the Same Time, A Woman Needs Love [Just Like You Do]"), Ray Parker Jr. (the number one R&B and pop gold single "Ghostbusters"), and co-wrote hit songs for Rufus and Chaka Khan (the number one "You Got the Love" from fall 1974) and Barry White ("You See the Trouble With Me" from spring 1976).

In a summary that is the sum total of our knowlege about Mr. Ray Parker Jr. We all know that he has had a substantial career as a soul/funk/pop music artist and is perhaps is as well known/popular as any single artist in the history of Black music. As you listen to the new album "Im Free" permit yourself to temporaraly suspend from your mind all that you previously know about Mr. Ray Parker Jr. That's what I did.

Instead remember this simple fact: Ray Parker Jr. - born on May 1, 1954. That was important for me as I listened, because Ray Parker Jr. is just three years older than I am and unlike other "Classic Soul" artists (who are closer in age to my parents).

Ray Parker Jr. and his new album "I'm Free" is speaking directly to me as an individual. In fact after listening to the album for the 4th or 5th time (I've lost track.....lol), I am convinced that although I have never met him, Mr. Ray Parker Jr. is indeed one of my long lost friends from High School.

For example...
"I got a letter from your lawyer today, Ordering me to sign my life away.Instead of signing on the dotted line, I poured myself another glass of wine..."
--Glass of Wine


Click here to continue....

--Bob Davis



These albums above are good examples what we mean by...C-O-M-P-E-L-L-I-N-G M-U-S-I-C
Hopefully you will be willing to give these albums a shot? If you didn't see your favorite artist here, it's because their music didn't cut the mustard (maybe next time around)

LISTEN TO: 360 Degrees of Funk

If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:

Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back soon with the next edition, with email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.

If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.
Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net

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