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STOP: (before you do anything else, read the text below...)

Review/Commentary: Sandra St. Victor - Oyas Daughter

Ok.....now I want you to ask yourself a question.....

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME THAT YOU SAW AN ARTIST IN BLACK MUSIC ISSUE ANY SORT OF A "MANIFESTO?"

30 YEARS AGO?
40 YEARS AGO?
(perhaps never?)

Fear not my friends. I want to invite you to open up your minds (& your ears) just a little bit. And I want you to suspend whatever your current belief might be about just what Black Culture is supposed to be. Just pretend that the last 20 years or so have never happened. In fact I want you to put yourself (& your mind) back in the 1970's or better yet the 1920's of the Harlem Renaissance.

Just put yourself in the frame of mind of being in a circle of some of the most creative & thoughtful people that you can imagine. Atheletes, poets, mathematicians, scholars & scientists. People who dream of a better day, people who make a way out of no way.

Sandra St. Victor would be right in the middle of THAT conversation!!

read on to find out more...


-Bob Davis


Review/Commentary: Sandra St. Victor - Oya's Daughter (SSV's Got a Hold on Me)

Review/Commentary: Sandra St. Victor - Oyas DaughterOver the course of about the past 10 years I have been asked the following question many times in interviews, panels, and in general conversation.

"Bob, who is your favorite female vocalist?" My answer is always the same:

"All-time; Etta James, Right Now; Sandra St Victor..."

And the response is usually; "Who is Sandra St Victor?"

And I say..."She's the MACK DIVA OF BLACK MUSIC."

And usually that is where the conversation will end. It is almost as if people might regard such a title as something to be afraid of....LOL

And that's who "SSV" is!

And if you know her name at all it is likely because you remember that she was the lead female voice of the hit making group called "Family Stand" back in the early 1990's.

But the "MACK DIVA OF BLACK MUSIC" is not anything to be afraid of. Far from it in fact. It is something that will nurture your soul, make your spirit soar and cause you to rethink your own potential of what you can do to not only improve your individual lot in life, but those around you as well.

I first met Sandra St Victor in the late 1990's and have been captivated by her music and her person ever since. At that time she was the "Queen Bee of the NYC Neo Soul Scene"

As a result, we have developed quite a friendship over the years. Long distance for the most part. Nonetheless just as intense as if she & I lived right next door to each other.

It is never a surprise when she writes an intense commentary on something I have written. Sometimes in agreement. Sometimes not.

She will take me to task one moment. And in the next moment seemingly compare me to Langston Hughes. It's that kind of honest relationship that makes you think "round the way girl."

More importantly, Sandra St Victor(SSV) has been continuously releasing music over the course of the past 15 years. And I have listened to all of it. And I have loved most of it. And I have shared most of it. On Soul-Patrol, On the radio, In my car (where I have forced passengers to listen to the music of Sandra St Victor for the past 15 years......LOL

First time I saw her perform live I compared her to Bessie Smith. However in hindsight, I now know just how limiting that description is...

If you listen to her music, you will hear echoes of other artists for sure (Chaka Khan, Betty Davis, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, etc) If you try to classify her music after listening, you walk away thinking; "Funk, Blues, R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz, Gospel, Rock, etc."

(However even those labels do her a dis-service)

Some of Sandra St Victor's songs might be classified as "message songs" and evoke the memory of artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Bob Dylan, etc. Clearly Sandra St Victor (SSV) reads the newspapers on a daily basis :)

However that isn't enough either. That's because she's also got some of the most powerful/compelling songs about human relationships laid down over the past 15 years or so. And if you pay attention, you just might find some solace in your own human relationships.

So much like Billy Ecksteine's famous quote "If I were white I would have Frank Sinatra's career..."

I will paraphrase Billy Ecksteine and update his quote for Sandra St Victor (SSV)... "If she was white yall would think of the MACK DIVA OF BLACK MUSIC, the same way that you think of Carole King, Laura Nyro, Carly Simon, Bonnie Raitt, etc...."

However even that wouldn't be enough. It does Sandra St Victor(SSV) a dis-service.

I say all of this to say that...
Sandra St Victor(SSV) has a new album.
I'm listening to it right now!
And yall would do yourselves a dis-service if you didn't take a serious listen to it.


A few months ago Sandra St Victor (SSV) wrote to me and asked me what I thought of her new single "I Prefer?"

I wrote back to her and told her that the song sounded like "tater tots vs. the hash browns w/onions & green peppers that I knew that she could make..."

She fired right back to me and said...

"I'm ready for you Bob Davis, you need to know that I have been in my kitchen cookin and I got some serious hash browns for you...But listen, in my head, I mixed my onions and greens up in there! But I knew you'd think it was too commercial. I'm ready for you! So...Here are a few of thangs NOT MIXED OR MASTERED that I hope you feel me on."

Attached to that email were several hellified songs. I had no response. That's cuz she "did tha do."

As I am listening to my preview of the album, I am pleased to hear those songs that Sandra St Victor (SSV) told me that she had "mixed my onions and greens up in there!"

I'm sitting here smiling. And so will you when you listen :)

Sometimes "mah people" do extraordinary things...

And despite reports to the contrary, In fact they do them often. They do them every day. You see, we have no choice but to do extraordinary things, in order to survive. Sometimes when they do them, the general public gets to hear about them and they come to light. The whole world knows about the accomplishments & innovations of Barrack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Fredrick Douglass, Ralph Bunche, Jackie Robinson, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Lena Horne, etc.

However most often, those accomplishments of "mah people" never ever come to light. But they impact the people that they are supposed to impact. Usually that is good enough. But every so often, a "window of opportunity" will open up and it stays open for just a short period of time, for someone who could make a difference far beyond their normal reach. One such "window of opportunity" has opened up for my friend Sandra St Victor (SSV) with her new album.

My hope is that when that happens, you will take a moment from your busy schedules to stop for a moment to do yourselves a favor, by taking a peek thru that window for yourself.

And when that moment occurs, I want you to do that for the most selfish of all reasons. Doing so will do YOU a heck of a lot of good.

Anyhow…

Here is a track by track summary of "Oya's Daughter" by Sandra St Victor

1. Is This Thing On? 2:57
Call it a "kozmic microphone check," if you like. I would rather think of it as an announcement to make sure that the world is listening!

2. Fate's Laugh 3:00
Funky groove that starts out with what can only be described as "fate's laugh." It is indeed a warning to take that thing called "fate" quite seriously, if your intent is to deal with the seriousness in life in a serious manner.

3. Grateful 4:11
If you are reading this right now, you should be grateful. If you have managed to survive a lifetime of struggle, then you should be even more grateful. After all isn't life really so much more about the "journey" and not the destination?

4. Spirit Talk 2:11
This song could have come straight from an early 1970's EWF album (w/Jessica Cleaves on lead vocals.) The subject matter is obvious from the title.

5. Stuff Momma Used To Say 3:20
Speaking of the 1970's, this song sounds like it comes straight at you like the song that packs the damn dance floor at a house party or a club. This song sounds like what the album cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" looks like. It's RAW FUNK from the ancestors.

6. Eternal 7:03
Do you like slow jams? I take that back, I mean S-L-O-W J-A-M-S. YOU KNOW, THE REAL S-L-O-W J-A-M-S. The kind where you GRIND SUPER SLOW, YET SUPER INTENSE, YOU BUST A SLOB OR TWO. The music has a groove that just won't quit and you continue the dance. But this "dance" is no longer quite a "dance" anymore. You are lifted up to what feels like a whole different spiritual plane and now suddenly the word "passion" feels much more appropriate and you begin to wonder if the actual sex can possibly feel this satisfying? That is what a R-E-A-L S-L-O-W J-A-M feels like and that is what this song sounds like.

7. Sugarfoot Is Dead 2:22
This song is so damn AWESOME, that it could well be an anthem. On the surface it is an anthem to the late/great guitarist/front man for the Ohio Players (who I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing.) But it's really an anthem to much more than just Sugarfoot. It's really an anthem to all that the "mighty people of the sun" could (or should be!) All done in a "Teena Marieeque Rap."

8. Awakenings 1:36
...and as such this song serves as perfect bridge to....

9. What Have We Learned, Pt. 1 3:49
Some of you might listen to this song and think "Neo Soul." However when I listen to it I hear the echoes of Curtis Mayfield asking the question to the "mighty people of the sun," and using the voice of Sandra St. Victor as his voice of reason.

10. WTF Opus, Pt. 2 2:50
The "rock guitars" in the song is a nice nod to the BRC. The overall sound is a nod to Prince. The message is that sometimes the "mighty people of the sun, "haven't learned anything," and all we can say about that is "WTF."

11. I Prefer (OYA) 2:43
This song was released as the very first single from the album over the summer. Taken all by itself it sounds rather pedestrian, However I warmed up to it after hearing it within the context of the entire album.

12. Presence 4:07
Another nice slow jam. Back in the day this would have made a very nice "flip side" to song #6 ("Eternal"). In today's world this song should be a hit record with today's contemporary R&B audiences.

13. Another Kind of Diva (Success Hooker) 3:15
The "alter ego" of the "Mack Diva?" Perhaps?

14. Coming Around 3:40
Nice contemporary R&B song.

Don't Sleep On: "Oya's Daughter" by Sandra St Victor

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com


Concert Review - Sandra St. Victor @ Joe's Pub (September 24, 2013)

Concert Review - Sandra St. Victor @ Joe's Pub(September 24, 2013)I couldn't make it to this show, good thing our friend Selah was...

"Oya's Daughter." In fact a woman named Fabian, presumably a Yoruba Priestess, evoked the Orisha, Oya, at the opening of Sandra's performance. Oya is an Orisha from the Yoruba tradition. She embodies the Wind. She is the Spirit of Change, of transition. She can also bring chaos and tribulation. (Uh oh, contradiction.) She is the goddess of War, as her consort, Shango, is her male counterpart. You can liken her to the Greek goddess Athena.

On this night, I and my friend Meg, was also there to see Sandra St. Victor, Daughter of Oya, also known as "The Mack Diva."

So.what is a "Mack"? In Urban parlance, a Mack, (usually male), is adept at seduction by verbal persuasion. The Mack is smooth, slick and he (or in this instance, she - more contradiction), is in control. The connotation leads one to expect sonic seduction, like Sandra is a Black siren, singing us on to ecstasy or destruction (still more contradiction.)

And a "Diva" of course is, according to Wikipedia, "a celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent." a first lady of the stage.

Frankly, a female singer is always great if you are compelled to think about how it would be to be knocking boots with her and, frankly. Sandra did take me there, after all, she is the "Mack Diva", But Sandra is much more than that. Sandra St. Victor is a storyteller, a Griot. She weaves emotion with an economy of movement, evincing rapaciousness. She is coquettish. She is Queenly, owning the stage with an essence of - "Been there, done that." Sandra has that sultry self assurance of a woman who knows her way around a joint, a Cosmic Earth Mother.

She channels Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith. In addition to Oya, she is Ruth Brown's wayward daughter (if you can imagine that, as wayward as Ruth Brown was (See: If I Can't Sell It, I'll Sit On It".) Sandra is a Diva, a Queen and we are her subjects.

Before the Priestess' benediction, the band sauntered on. They consisted of Jeffrey Smith, a holdover from her old band, the Family Stand, on Rhythm Guitar, (I'm here to tell you, Rhythm Guitar is an art form in itself. Check out Jimmy Nolen from The James Brown Band 1965 - 1969, or Claydes X Smith from Kool and The Gang), Alto and Soprano Saxes; Marcus Martado (Lead Guitar),Tom Hammer (Keys, Musical Director), Lesley Rivers (Bass), Abe Fogel (Traps), Danny Sedownick (Percussion); and the three background singers: Damian Nova, Keith Fluit and Darius Booker. As you can see, they were all male. They all looked more like a construction crew than a bunch of musicians, rawer than a rusty razor blade, like they just spent 10 hours in a coal mine. I mean, these were some rusty, dusty fellas. Yet, like a construction crew, they came to work. The band was tight, seamless and funky, like bacon on a skillet; and they played with a sense of restrained pandemonium.

The Background singers were a Greek Chorus for her, perfect in commentary, call and response. We were exposed to a sensual Funkathon. My friend Meg moved absently to the groove. That's when it was confirmed to me that we were in goodsville, because she only moves to that which is good, and when she moves, all is right with the Universe, believe me. Like Starchild said, it not only moves, it removes.

Speaking of Starchild, Ronny Drayton, known to me from the PFunk universe, and a far traveler with many known acts, walked on as a guest soloist. He played a searing solo, causing the room to go, Ga Ga Goo Ga Ga. My only complaint is that the band needed to actually come down a bit in volume. All the instruments, the Lead Singer and the Background Singers were mixed on an even keel. A Mack Diva needs to stand out and distinguish herself from the crowd. Sandra wasn't buried, but it was hard to make out the lyrics. If she was a 10 they should have been an 8.

When gets on down to it, however, Mack Diva is still saving the world, and communing with the Orishas. Ashe, Ashe and Ashe.

Selah Eric Spruiell

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com


NOW: (read it again...)

Review/Commentary: Sandra St. Victor - Oyas Daughter

Ok.....now I want you to ask yourself a question.....

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME THAT YOU SAW AN ARTIST IN BLACK MUSIC ISSUE ANY SORT OF A "MANIFESTO?"

30 YEARS AGO?
40 YEARS AGO?
(perhaps never?)

Fear not my friends. I want to invite you to open up your minds (& your ears) just a little bit. And I want you to suspend whatever your current belief might be about just what Black Culture is supposed to be. Just pretend that the last 20 years or so have never happened. In fact I want you to put yourself (& your mind) back in the 1970's or better yet the 1920's of the Harlem Renaissance.

Just put yourself in the frame of mind of being in a circle of some of the most creative & thoughtful people that you can imagine. Atheletes, poets, mathematicians, scholars & scientists. People who dream of a better day, people who make a way out of no way.

Sandra St. Victor would be right in the middle of THAT conversation!!

read on to find out more...


-Bob Davis


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:

earthjuice@prodigy.net


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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