Soul-Patrol Newsletter

SPN: Ashford & Simpson, Miles Davis, Chuck D, Mandrill, Philly Soul, Gerald Alston, Chip Shelton, Nadir, Rose Stone, Mystery Man, Vince Serini, Ms Jody, Lene Riebau, Donnie C, Carl Sims, George & Tyrone, & Mike Davis
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Welcome To The Soul-Patrol Newsletter

"48 Hours In Mr. Davis's Neighborhood" - Chuck D, Donnie C, George & Tyrone, Philly Soul, Mandrill & Mike Davis

I an really a "neighborhood kinda guy" and being a native New Yorker, that term conjures up childhood imagery of open fire hydrants, girls skipping rope, stickball games in the street and more. However as an adult the concept of "neighborhood" is expanded well beyond the geographical boundaries of city streets, it's really a global idea that has much more to do with "where you're at", than "where you're from."

Chuck, Bob & Mike - Yesterday Mike and I hung out with Chuck D for almost 5 hours. Of course in our case we really are from the same physical/geographical neighborhood. The fact that Chuck is one of the most famous voices, thought leaders and personalities in the history of Black music had little to with our conversation. Time and reality are temporarily suspended and it's just 3 brothas who haven't seen each other in a while catching up, talking s*it and dispensing a lifetime of knowledge/wisdom to each other that can only be done amongst those who have a level of automatic trust that can never be explained to "outsiders" using text.

Donnie C - This is a young man that I have known for the past several years, yet have never met in person prior to last night. Although I have met many people over the years that I have communicated with via the internet, it never fails to amaze me how little difference there is in people whenever I finally meet them in person. This was the case when I met Donnie C last night. Of course Donnie C is a name that you have seen before, if you read the Soul-Patrol Times, where he has been a frequent poster for the past several years, telling us about his upcoming album and his events in Virginia, North Carolina & Tennessee. For some reason unknown to me, he was having his CD release party in Brooklyn last night at the Amarachi Lounge and I was compelled to put all else aside to go and check him out. I already knew that his new album was excellent, I've been listening to the various tracks for about a year as Donnie have been completing the songs. For me this was an opportunity to meet an extremely talented young person that against all odds seemingly has "his head screwed on straight." On stage Donnie is an excellent singer who simultaneously exudes strength, passion and artistic integrity, wrapped in a layer of both spiritual and afrocentric ideals. He is very reminiscent of Marlon Saunders on stage in some of his vocal stylings as well as his conversational style with the audience. Instead of the arrogant vibe that you can feel from many young performers these days, you feel a humble, yet confident person who just wants to make you feel at home, which is exactly the effect. However despite the performance, the main attraction for me is really just to meet Donnie for the first time, no different than it is any other time when I meet someone who is a part of Soul-Patrol for the very first time. I was not disappointed at all because Donnie C in "real life" is exactly as he is online and on the telephone. He is hard working, polite, respectful, determined, spiritual and more. I walked away for Amarachi Lounge smiling because I had the chance to not only see Donnie C perform live, but to finally have met yet another person in "real life" who proved to me once again that the community (neighborhood) of people here online not just as a never ending mass of text & graphic, but does indeed have a "heart & soul." Hopefully the rest of you will also have the chance to see Donnie C perform and when you do, please take the time to walk up to him after the show & say hello. I guarantee that you will walk away from that encounter, a better person for having done so.

George & Tyrone - Not far from the Amarachi Lounge is Frank's Lounge, it's a short 15 minute drive down Fulton Street in traffic, most of which is spent trying to find a place to park! Of course Franks Lounge is the site of many a concert review that I have written over the years, it's defiantly a part of my own personal "neighborhood" because it is located not far from the Ft Greene Housing Projects where I spent a part of my "formative years." George Littlejohn is the Co-founder of Purpose Records and I knew that they were having an event at Franks last night, so I decided to stop by. As I drove by during my search for a parking space I saw George and Tyrone (who manages the club) standing outside. One of the rituals at Franks is that after a show is over, the people who have been involved in the promotion (managers, publicists, etc) all gather outside of the club right in front and take stock of the evening. Everything from the performances, the financials, the vibe, the demographics of the crowd and more are all discussed. These factors and others are sliced & diced and opinions are stated about "what went wrong and what went right" with the event. Take it from me, these conversations are far more accurate than any concert review that I could possibly write. However taken as a whole those conversations that take place at Franks, outside on Fulton Street are really "strategic planning sessions for Indy soul music in NYC." So when I saw Tyrone and George standing outside of the club, I knew exactly what they were talking about.....LOL. Eventually I found a parking space and joined them. When I walked up to them, they were genuinely surprised and happy to see me, since I haven't been to Franks in a while. They told me how the show went, how the crowd was, what was coming up next, etc. Really the conversation was about nothing substantial, but it was actually about everything. Franks Lounge and what happens there is a part of my neighborhood, even if I am not there for the show itself. You see, being a part of a "neighborhood" isn't always about the things that happen when you are there; it is also about the things that happen when you aren't there as well.

The Philadelphia Soul Music Community - Quite possibly the best thing that occurred as a result of the 2007 Soul-Patrol Convention has been the relationship that has blossomed between it and Although I am physically located about a 30 minute drive from Philly in all of the years that we have been around, we never had much of a relationship with the Philadelphia Soul Music Community. And that is mostly my fault because I never wanted to ever be perceived as being a "local organization." So I kept them at "arms length" for that reason. Of course there are certain artists (Billy Paul, Delfonics and others) that have had a strong identification with, however there is a huge formal/informal Black Music Infrastructure in Philly that we just haven't been a part of. All of that changed as a result of the 2007 Soul-Patrol Convention and today we are defiantly a part of it. Before, during and most importantly after the 2007 Soul-Patrol Convention, individuals and organizations have reached out to me in a positive & pro-active manner to assist me in whatever way that they could. The end result of this has been that today is now a part of that community. There are too many people and entities involved here to name them all. There are in fact some that you can easily guess if you have been paying attention over the past year or so and if you continue to pay attention in the future. However there are also many people whose names you may never know. It's comprised of employees of 3-4 different radio stations, record stores, several different not for profit organizations, current and former employees of legendary record companies, journalists, administrators, record stores, local knuckleheads, legendary artists and others. It goes across racial, age, geographic and class boundaries and in the end it's really just folks in Philly who love great music and are pro-active in making certain that the future of that great music is enabled by preserving it's past. On Friday morning these folks all got together to honor Frankie Beverley & Maze for their musical contributions to the city of Philadelphia, sponsored by the Philadelphia Music Alliance. In the 24 hours prior to this event I got a dozen or more email & phone calls from various people spread out among all of these various entities. I had not originally even planned on attending, as I am not a huge fan of Frankie Beverley & Maze. However I did understand that it was important for me to attend, and not because of Frankie Beverley. It was important because of these various people, many of whom I have become close with over the past year. Of course I arrived late, but that didn't matter one bit. I was greeted and treated "like one of the family" and folks made sure that anyone that I didn't know, I was introduced to.

Now I don't want to mislead anyone here regarding my comments. These very same people fight and battle with each other all of the time, sometimes about very serious matters and sometimes about silly things. Even worse is the fact that some of these people are employed by entities that are actually a big part of the reason (knee-grow radio knetworks) why Black music is actually in decline in the mainstream. As we all know, even within the same "neighborhood", people don't always agree with each other 100 percent of the time and sometimes they have to simply "agree to disagree" and then move forward. But I just wanted to say that I am glad that they have included me into their "neighborhood" and therefore by default, they are now a part of my "neighborhood" as well. And that is what is important to this particular "boy from new york city."

Mandrill - One of the reasons that George & Tyrone were surprised to see me is because they assumed that I would be at the Mandrill show in Philly that night. When I told them that I would see Mandrill instead in New York the next night, it was almost as if they breathed sigh of relief. has been blessed because of the involvement of Mandrill in the site. In fact it's fair to say that might not exist today, if not for Mandrill. I did see Mandrill in Philadelphia the day before their Saturday show, on Friday when they made an "in store" appearance at the Sound of Market Record Store in Center City Philadelphia. People get genuinely excited when they are in the presence of the members of Mandrill, and it's not just about the music. When they walk and talk, the members of Mandrill exude the perfect balance of "ghetto cool" and "spiritual presence." While it would seem impossible to do both at the same time, for the members of Mandrill it's not difficult at all, because it's all natural. I suppose that the "mainstream" might refer to this phenomena as "charisma?" I have spoken of this before, so I won't bore you with the details. When the time came for the inevitable "group picture", I heard the Wilson Brothers call out "Hey get Bob Davis in this picture, he's a part of Mandrill." This has also happened many times before and it always makes me smile when it does. And finally the Wilson Brothers wanted to make sure that I was all set for the show on Sunday night in NYC and wanted to know first and foremost, is Mike coming?

Mike Davis - And of course this brings me back around full circle to the person who was my "first neighbor." He was the guy who resided in the bed next to mine, that I used to keep awake because I was listening to radio stations in distant cities in the middle of the night. We shared a bedroom for 14 years, till I went away to college. We even continued to share a bedroom together long after my family had enough room in the house for each of us have our own bedrooms. Actually this fact bothered me quite a bit at the time. When I asked about this at the time (because of course I wanted to have my own bedroom), my parents informed me that they didn't want Mike and I to be separated, because in their view "being together now will mean that the two of you will be together when you grow up." The wisdom of that statement is even more profound today as I type it out and ponder the lives that we have led and continue to lead. My brother and I don't always agree on things. In fact we disagree more often than we agree. However we ALWAYS act in a unified fashion and that is ALWAYS far more important than whatever the original topic was or even the end result. You see he and I have ALWAYS done various kinds of projects together and no doubt we always will. Yesterday I actually spent most of the day with Mike and that is something that we haven't been able to do in quite a while. All of you out there who like and enjoy for whatever reason that you do, have Mike Davis to thank for it. The site was really his idea and at the beginning, I was actually opposed to doing it.

At the end of the day, these are the kind of things that actually touch my heart and warm my soul. "people are more important than things"

Thanks in advance...

--Bob Davis

Album Review: Album Review - Ashford & Simpson- The Warner Bros. Years. Hits, Remixes and Rarities
(Warner Bros/RHINO R2 347964)

Click Here to get more info about Ashford & Simpson- The Warner Bros. Years. Hits, Remixes and Rarities WELL NOW~~!!!

This is SPECIAL. This is a 2-CD Dance themed overview of the CLASSIC Warner Bros output of NICHOLAS ASHFORD and VALERIE SIMPSON.

Disc One is fairly straight. In the early "disco" days there were special mixes of the hit songs that only the radio guys and the disc jockeys got. Disc One has all of those rare versions that were hard to get THEN, and impossible to get (unless you want to get in a bidding war with some UK or Japanese cat for 3-500 dollars for "One More Try" as one example) now. All of those great tracks are on Disc One. If that excites you, realize they went one step MORE. They got some back-in-the-day remixers. The GOOD ones. The names you remember from your 12-inch vinyl collection: Tom Moulton. Paul Simpson. John Morales. Tommy Musto.

And then, they brought some of the best of the new guys: Joe Claussell. Joey Negro. Dimitri From Paris. And they turned them loose on some of the same tracks on disc one to redo them on Disc Two.

STOP.....STOP right there.

Too many of you just threw up your hands and screamed "Leave Well Enough Alone". That's only because you don't realize that version of "Bad Luck" or "I'll Always Love My Mama" that you used to jam to WAS REMIXED...back THEN. Did I hit the mental RESET BUTTON HARD enough? continued here --DONALD CLEVELAND

Album Review: Vince Seneri - On the Prince's Groove

Vince SeneriSometimes the most unhealthiest thing that you could possibly eat is also the very best tasting. In fact that is often the case and it's true with this album. "On the Prince's Groove" is one of the GREAZIEST albums that I have heard in a while. The personel here is Paul Bollenbeck (guitar), Randy Brecker (trumpet and flugelhorn), Buddy Williams (drums), Gary Fritz (percussion), Richie Flores (percussion), Houston Person (tenor sax), and Dave Valentin (flute). However who is on here matters little (no disrespect to any of the players), what is important is this UNMISTAKABLE MONSTER GROOVE that is created that allows your mind to envision a multitude of different 'spaces & places. Remember when you were a little kid and there was a family gathering at your house? There was a point in time as the day wore on, when the "grown folks" would either clear out the kitchen or if you had a finished basement, they would go downstairs and start up a game of bid whist. All of the leftover food from earlier in the day would be brought in, the little kids would be chased away, the liquor bottles would be cracked open. Then the card game would begin and from another room you could hear the grown ups talking trash as the bid whist game would get more and more intense as first the minutes and then later the hours would roll by. At some point in time you would get really curious as to what was really going on with that card game and sneak down with some lame excuse like "I'm just here to get some potato chips..." And when you went down the kind of music they were listening to was exactly the type of music that is on this album.

It was artists like Jack McDuff, Donald Byrd, Herbie Mann, Eddie Harris/Les McCann, and others. Later on it became the kind of music that was the trademark of the CTI record label. This is what places like Downbeat magazine used to call "soul jazz", over in the UK they call it "acid jazz". I just call it FUNK, and the FUNK is so thick that you would need a really sharp knife in order to cut thru it. You know this music as soon as you hear it, because it's really something like "the hippest trip in America" and you can't help but smile when you hear it, even if you are a little kid. Well today at the age of 51, this music still makes me smile whenever I hear it, because when I do, my mind floats back to those card games that I wasn't really allowed to participate in or even watch when I was a little kid. Needless to say, this music resonates with me and touches me and as I listen to it, the music takes my mind back to a world that much less complex. However at the same time it makes me wonder just how we got to the point where music like this disappeared from the lives of "regula brothas." So now you can actually have as much GREASE as you want to and it still be healthy for you!!!

--Bob Davis

Lene Riebau - Jazz Handle

Lene RiebauRemember when Erykah Badu first came out and a big part of the hype was that "she sounds exactly like Billie Holiday?" I never thought that she did at all, but I did like Erakyh Badu's singing. Well in listening to the album "Jazz Handle", I feel like Lene Riebau "sounds exactly like Erykah Badu". So if you like the sound of Erykah Badu's voice singing, with some slightly funky jazz playing behind her, and some non controversial pop lyrics, then you will really dig this album. I like this album, it's very reminiscent of albums by my favorite ladies from "down under" (Melissa Forbes & Louise Perryman), although Lene Riebau hails from Denmark. That means you can do what I do and throw this into your Saturday night mix along with Will Wheaton, Ty Causey, Me'na and my two young ladies from Australia on one of those cold winter nights when you are hoping to "get lucky." I wonder if Erykah has heard this yet?

--Bob Davis

Mystery Man- What's Wrong With Our Love?

Carl Sims- Cant's Stop Me<Ok, so the Mystery Man has no name for me to identify him with. He's either Jimmie Warren or he's Jimmie Barnett or maybe he's some unholy combination of both. Ya never know with these things. What I do know is that this album probably has the most commercial appeal. The taglines, hooks and vocal hooks abound here like so much running water. Whether it's a typical blues structured doo-wopper like Woman, What's Wrong With Our Love (complete with Ike Hayes opening rap and churchy B3 pulsing in the background) or a nice lil mid-tempo funky groover like Baby Dance With Me this cat aint short on catchy hum-along foot patting tunes. Now the Mystery Man is the worst singing good singer I ever heard. On the surface you can barely understand him for his thick southern accent and his tone aint exactly Frankie Beverly but his harmonies and ad libs are dead on. The background vocals are superb. Something tells me that the two Jimmies and background vocalists Brenda Williams, Shara Scott and somebody called Senator were a gospel quintet in another life. The vocal harmonies and arrangements are both intricate and well-executed.

The inside joke amongst these southern soulsters has got to be 'Jody'. Jody gets the girl with Carl Sims and Ms. Jody (who claims to be the female version of Marvin Sease's Jody) and The Mystery Man laments that Jody's (a man again) got his TuTu. The Mystery Man like the other two has a place where he likes to party too. He says It's Friday night/just get paid/gonna go out and get my groove on/ me and my honey/gon spend my money and 'party til the nights go out. This place is the 'party place without a doubt'. Guess where all of this is gonna take place? The Hole In The Wall Cafe.

This production IS a total man-in-the-box production but the weird thing is that if any of this would be fleshed out by a real band you just might have several smash records here! One such tune (that I simply can't get enough of) is called I Wanna Make Love To You Tonight. It's so simple and sparse that you can't help but to feel it. There are fake horns that I hear as a muted trumpet and a sax. It repeats throughout but it's syncopated just right. Sort of like an Adore (Prince) feel. The background vocals are strong and gospel-drenched. Sassy chicks and men that do all of the oooo-ing like they do on the background of Jocelyn Brown's SomeBody Else's Guy. Even Mystery Man's challenged vocal utterances are no match for the overall lock-in-the-pocket groove laid down here. This is Nu-Soul at it's finest and Juice, I sho need to hear some of these ECKO recordings on Radio IO. This stuff is all right and needs not be 'forgotten' any more.


Eric Daniel and Friends - Old Sax Nu Soul

Eric Daniel and FriendsSometimes the title of an album can tell you everything that you can expect from what's actually inside of it when you listen to it. This album has been one of my "secret pleasures" for about the past six months and I suppose that it's about time to let you all in on one of my "secrets". It's really an album of (mostly) instrumental Neo Soul, by that I mean an updated version of what used to be called "soul jazz".

However unlike many Neo Soul artists these cats can really play and can hang with real jazz musicians. For you "old headz" it's got kinda like a Lonnie Liston Smith type of vibe. For you "new headz" once you listen to this album, you will quickly understand exactly why much of what is categorized as "neo soul" is a fraud. "Old Sax Nu Soul" is erotic in the a way that when you close your eyes you think that you are resting on a magic carpet that is floating three inches off of the ground at the foot of one of the pyramids. "Old Sax Nu Soul" is 16 tracks of super erotic/stank nasty music that if the Neo Soul crowd were to actually listen to it, this album would turn their insides completely out and force them to realize that "elevator music" is NOT erotic, nor is it passionate. The vocals are somewhat muted, but are quite effective. This album is a great example of the "future" part of the phrase "great black music from the ancient to the future"! And that's why it's playing in rotation on the NuSoul @ RadioIO. In fact if Eric wants to tell people that I named the channel after his album (I won't argue with him).

--Bob Davis

Carl Sims- Cant's Stop Me

Carl Sims- Cant's Stop Me<Carl Sims has a nice little cd here. First let me say that all three of these cd's are produced identically. Plow Boy audio is responsible for the overall production and the 'musicians' are a keyboard, guitar and REAL horns. What a combination eh? Well it seems that these folks chose just the right instrumentation to bring out their musical ideas. The south always needs their horns. It's just a matter of course. The blues needs a guitar and EVERYBODY needs a keyboard (whether, piano,clavinet or organ).

You all know how I hate the whole man-in-the-box thang but these guys didn't mess around. The chose a no-nonsense drum sound, simple bass patterns and let the studio musicians fill in the other blanks. There's no added 'noise' or any other otherworldly sounds either. It actually comes off pretty nice. The only problem is that it lacks any real bottom or bass-punch. With Mr. Sims the idea is to cover or make tunes based on the hooks and hits of other Southern Soul stars.

The opener- If You Can't Help Me sounds a lot like Rockin Chair by George McCrae. Most of these tunes harken back to the days of good likka, bad women and even badder men. I Like This Place is a tale of settling into your favorite watering hole around your favorite people doing your favorite thang: PARTYING! Simple concepts abound with Mr.Sims. He has a very nice Bobby Womack-ish voice and in fact he actually covers Daylight. Nothing special but he wont make Bobby made at him either. He also covers Johnny Taylor's Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone and reprises (with a re-mix no less) I Like This Place.


Ms Jody- I Never Take A Day Off

Carl Sims- Cant's Stop Me<It must be noted that these artists are regional and probably wouldn't see the light of day except for outlets like Soul Patrol and other internet entities that cater to this wonderful but almost forgotten genre of music. Unlike Carl Sims Ms. Jody seems to have a creative hand in her own fate. I believe Ms. Jody is a multi-racial woman (and not bad on the eyes either).There are songwriting credits to a Vertie Joann Delapaz and I think that's our Ms. Jody.

This woman is a little finer than Millie Jackson and has a sweeter but no less lethal voice. She is the more bluesy of the three Ecko artists featured in this issue of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, yet she's not afraid to throw down with a jam or two. Almost all of her tunes are lusty, bawdy and full of smile-making anecdotes. On her composition It's The Weekend (similar to Carl Sims I Like This Place) she speaks of the joys of simple hard-working blue collar folk. When she says it's the weekend/ and Friday is here/ we gonna party all night long/ and get our groove on-you just know that Ms Jody's not only gonna step out but she also ready for romance with her man too. After all it's the weekend!

This is the most entertaining of the 3 Ecko cd's. When she sings about the ever-horny, always ready never ceasing Energizer Bunny you feel her almost palpable fatigue with dealing with this man's insatiability. Kudos to Ms. Jody for turning around the oft-joked about concept of men as low libido duds . When Ms. Jody says her 'poor kitty' is 'on her last leg/ and if he don't lighten up she'll sho be daid you just gotta laugh. There's an interesting twist at the end that I wont reveal here.

Ms. Jody is also the Lonely Housewife, Evening Up the Score and NEVER Takes A Night Off. She weaves an interesting story about the outside woman as well. It's called I Might Be Your Part Time Lover But I Wont Be Your Full Time Fool. The title says it all doncha think? Recommended listening and there's not a woman that I played this for that didn't either outright laugh or at least have the smuggest, broadest smile break out on their faces. She even got a slick little line dance ditty called Ms Jody's Thing that'd be a sho nuff hit on the radio.

Any Millie Jackson fans out there will love this. Any Bettye LaVette fans will love this too because it is literally the fallout from all of the hard work of artists like her, Carla Thomas, Tina Turner (THEN not now), Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin and get my drift. In fact Lonely Housewife is a Bettye LaVette vehicle if I ever heard one.


Album Review: Miles Davis - The Complete On The Corner Sessions
(6+ hours of BUTTHOLEFUNK)

Click Here to get more info about Miles Davis - The Complete On The Corner Sessions Since Soul-Patrol started, I have probably written more about Miles Davis - "On the Corner" more than any single album. It's probably my favorite album of all time, and it's been a major inspiration in my life. "On the Corner" is a major inspiration in the creation of, as well it should be. After all it's the greatest funk album that's ever been made and it was created by the greatest funk band that has ever existed. After Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago, I thought that I would never write about this album again. (never say never)

Listening to the original "On the Corner" LP was a mind blowing experience for me right from the first time that I heard it, as a teenager, that it has been something that I have always carried with me into adulthood. I have played that album over and over again on turntables, 8-track players, cassette tapes, compact discs, mp3's and even inside of my head more times than I could ever hope to tabulate.

I'm hardly an objective reviewer, I'm a huge fan of the album, the concept, the reality, the vision, the execution, the silliness and the depth of it all.

Of course over the years, most of the members of the Miles Davis Band have become friends of mine. They found me, because of "On the Corner". While their artistry is something that can never be duplicated, it is their friendship that I most treasure. In the liner notes it says that "the reason that Miles Davis played with his back to the audience, wasn't because he didn't respect the audience, Miles said it was because he wanted to hear and watch his band play..." You see, Miles Davis knew what I knew, that his band was in fact the greatest funk band on the planet!!!....(Read the rest of the review)

--Bob Davis

Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
SOUL-PATROL/NU SOUL/CAMPAIGN 2008 (You Can Make It If You Try)
The use of classic Sly & the Family Stone lyrics during the speech by Senator Obama inspired us to create a broadcast of some NEW releases (Chuck D, Gerald Alston, Chip Shelton, Nadir & Rose Stone) that we are featuring both here on Soul-Patrol and on Nu Soul @ (, that fit with the overall mood of the cultural phenomena surrounding the campaign of Senator Barrack Obama.

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

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