Welcome To The Soul-Patrol Newsletter "Maysa's voice is sublime - down-home funky one moment and elegantly jazzy the next."- The Dallas Morning News
EDITOR'S NOTE: Just wanted to mention that 3 members of Soul-Patrol George Duke, Maysa, and Nicole Henry have been nominated for Soul Train Music Awards. Here are the links to all three here on the Soul-Patrol.com website:
My hope is that all three of these artists win a Soul Train Award.
All three of them released some great music over the past year and I am quite happy to have been able to feature that music on Soul-Patrol.com this past year.
I am actually not a fan of music awards TV shows.
Oh I used to like them and watch them religiously.
Back when there was only one.
But with the proliferation of them over the years they have come to remind me of a concept from my distant past.
They actually make me think back to my days of little league baseball.
(You know, when everybody got a trophy???)
I stopped watching TV music awards shows many years ago.
However this year I might have to make an exception and watch this one.
If there is anything that I hate more than TV music awards shows...
It is "internet voting."
I know that the Republicans love to talk about "voter fraud."
In fact next to denying medical insurance to poor people that is their main issue.
I know of no voting that is more fraudulent, than "internet voting."
If the Republicans ever decided to focus some of their "voter suppression" energy on eliminating "internet voting"
I would become a Republican in a heartbeat :)
However, in this one case, just this one time, I might have to make an exception.
Big Up's To George Duke, Maysa, and Nicole Henry.
And thanks to all of you who gave their music a chance, paid attention and actually took a listen over the past year.
You already know that these three artists are deserving of an award.
They not only managed to create some great music.
They managed to do so in the cesspool of mediocrity which seems to currently define our culture.
They swam against the tide.
And they have managed to overcome the obstacles.
Hopefully the "internet voting people" will think so as well?
Quickie Album Review: Shuggie Otis "Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love"
Quickie Album Review: Shuggie Otis "Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love"
Funk/Soul/Blues/Jazz/Pop/Electronica/Peace & Love
This review is also posted on the Soul-Patrol website: http://www.soul-patrol.com/funk/shuggie.htm
This is a GREAT album. I have been waiting for this album to appear since the mid 1970's. It's the best album I have heard so far in 2013.
The original "Inspiration Information" has actually been a key influencing factor in my thought processes and behavior since I first listened to it in 1974. Since that time I have probably listened to it more than any other single album I have ever owned, with the possible exception of Miles Davis "On The Corner." To this day, people who know me well (including "Mrs. Earthjuice") are quite literally sick of me talking about "Inspiration Information." I consider it one of the defining pieces of pure artistry that I have ever encountered in my life and I return to it over and over again when I feel lost. It helps me to "re-calibrate," in almost a religious way. (how's that for obsessive behavior.....LOL)
And it's not because of the music itself.
It is also about the persona of Shuggie Otis himself, his artistic genius, his relative youth at the time and how his "lost potential" seems to be a metaphor for other "geniuses" that I knew growing up. I want for Shuggie Otis (and all of the other young geniuses, that I have known in my life) to live up to their potential to change the world for the better.
The album is an impressive 2 disc set:
Disc 1 - Contains the original 9 tracks from the "Inspiration Information," the "genreless acid drenched one man band album" which consists of all "genres" that have memorized me for the better part of the past 35 years and is literally the "Rosetta stone" for late 20th century Black music. It also contains 4 "bonus" tracks that apparently were considered for the original album, but didn't make the cut.
Disc 2 - Contains a collection of songs that Shuggie Otis recorded between the mid 1970's - 2000's that have never been released before.
Great liner notes, rare photos, & more
DISC 1 - INSPIRATION INFORMATION - BONUS TRACKS
I am not going to review the original "Inspiration Information." I have reviewed it many times and I don't want to repeat myself. If you have any interest whatsoever in the human condition of 20th century earthlings, IMHO you should own this album.
Here are some quickie reviews of the 4 bonus tracks:
10. "Miss Pretty" (Recorded in 1971)
Sounds like: Sounds like: Early 70's Pop/Funk - Sly Stoneesque
11. "Magic" (Recorded in 1971)
Sounds like: Sounds like: Early 70's Pop/Funk - Sly Stoneesque
12. "Things We Like To Do" (Recorded in 1977)
Sounds like: Sounds like: Late 60's Pop/Soul/Jazz - Chicago/Blood Sweat & Tearsesque (Sans Horns)
13. "Castle Top Jam" (Recorded in 1971)
Sounds like: Sounds like: Late 60's Acid drenched Blues/Funk/Rock - Sly Stone/Steve Miller Bandesque
DISC 2 - WINGS OF LOVE
This is what I have been waiting for all of these years. This is an album that is filled with GREAT music, never before heard. These songs have little if anything to do with the original "Inspiration Information" album. A half dozen or so of these songs ("Special," "Tryin' To Get Close To You," "Doin' What's Right," "Wings Of Love," "Don't You Run Away," "Fireball of Love," "Fawn," "Destination You!") would have been hit records, had they been released on major labels during the period when they were recorded. Listening to these songs today, make the original "Inspiration Information" seem like just what it was. An experimental album constructed by a "genius mad scientist," simply because he could. This collection of previously unheard songs sound like they come from someone who now has totally perfected the whole "one man band" thing, is ready to unleash all of that knowledge into the commercial marketplace. Why Shuggie was never given the opportunity to release these songs to the public, continues to be a mystery and open to lots of speculation. However I'm glad to finally be able to hear them today.
As you look at my quickie reviews of these songs below, pay close attention to the dates they were recorded and the music I am suggesting a similarity with. In many cases, Shuggie is actually "channeling" these artists long before we ever heard of them!! In other cases you can certainly hear who some of his influences were. If you like the artists that I am making the comparisons with, then you will also like "Wings of Love."
Sounds like: 4 second of 'audience sounds" from a live show
(a waste of space)
2. "Special" (Recorded in 1980)
Sounds like: Mid 80's Pop/Funk - Princesque
3. "Give Me Something Good" (Recorded in 1977)
Sounds like: Mid 90's - Early 2000's Neo Soul - D'Angeloesque
4. "Tryin' To Get Close To You" (Recorded in 1976)
Sounds like: Late 70's Pop/Funk - Brothers Johnsonesque
5. "Walkin' Down The Country" (Recorded in 1977)
Sounds like: 1960's Pop Ballad - Johnnie Mathisesque
6. "Doin' What's Right" (Recorded in 1975)
Sounds like: Mid 70's Social Message - MFSB/O'Jays/Gamble & Huffesque
7. "Wings Of Love" (Recorded in 1990)
Sounds like: Reflective Slow Jam - Rick James/Urban Rapsodyesque
8. Give Me A Chance (Recorded in 1987)
Mid 80's eMpTVyish Power Pop Ballad - Luther Vandross/Phil Collinseque
9. "Don't You Run Away" (Recorded in 1987)
Sounds like: Mid 90's - Early 2000's Neo Soul - D'Angeloesque
10. "Fireball of Love" (Recorded in 1977)
Sounds like: Mid 70's Stone Cold Monster Phunk - Billy Preston/Prince/Eddie Hazel/Johnny Guitar Watson/Graham Central Stationesque
11. "Fawn" (Recorded in 1977)
Sounds like: Monster Wett Dreamy 1970's Slow Jam - Delfonics/Stylistics/Blue Magic/Denise Williams/Laura Nyroesque
12. "If You'd Be Mine" (Recorded in 1987)
Sounds like: Mid 80's eMpTVyish Power Pop Ballad - Luther Vandross/Phil Collinseque
13. "Black Belt Sheriff" (Recorded in 2000)
Sounds like: Live Acoustic Blues/Folk Cut
14. "Destination You!" (Recorded in 1975)
Sounds like: Early 70's Pop/Funk - Sly Stoneesque
I have listened to this album 3 times, since it arrived in my mailbox and each time I discover more and more to like about it. So I'll leave it here for now, simply because I am positive that I will be writing about it again. It is by far the best album I have heard in 2013.
PS - If you would like to compare the "Wings of Love" album to a modern day artist, check out an artist named "SonnyBoy" His music is also "genreless," yet also encompasses all "genres" at the same time.
Concert Review: Sugar Pie Desanto in Hell, Norway (9/6&7/2013)
The list of all the Queens still on this earth that were once on the Chess Record label is shrinking. Koko Taylor gone. Etta James gone. Big Maybelle gone. Myrtle Jones gone. Laura Rucker gone. Fontella Bass gone. Minnie Ripperton gone. Alberta Adams, sitting down at age 96. Laura Lee preachin' the Gospel. Irma Thomas still workin'. Martha Reeves still workin'.
Ms. Sugar Pie DeSanto, whom Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin loves so much that she has had The Sugar perform twice recently at her annual Christmas party. As I stated on Soul-Patrol before, The Sugar is The Queen of The West Coast Blues. What follows is a description of how one of the last Queens standing from the glory years of Chess Records took over Hell, Norway on September 6 & 7, 2013
I left Lake County at 7 p.m on Tuesday 9/3 and headed down Jim Moore's house in Oakland. Jim is eighty-somethin' years old has been Sugar Pie's manager for close to thirty years. Before that he was Big. Mama Thornton's manager. In an interesting bit of supersonic audio history, on the Big Mama Live In Europe album, at the end of track 15, Swing It On Home she highlights Jim and all of the band members as men she will marry one day. I had Big Mama in the cd player on the way down to Oakland
After arriving at 10 p.m. Jim and I were up until past midnight going over details of the trip. We were back up at 4 a.m. on Wednesday giving Sugar Pie and Jimmy (Jim's son) wake up calls. Jimmy picked up Jim and I, we all picked up The Sugar and skedaddled to SFO for our 9:00 a.m. departure. On the way we stopped at a food mart for sandwiches and coffee. As I recall The Sugar made her sandwich last almost to Amsterdam. She only weighs ninety pounds.
Checking in at SFO was a breeze with their new technology in place. We boarded the 767 which sported a Black pilot and we were airborne about 9:30.
Four and a half hours later we hit Detroit with enough time to make waste of some Popeyes Yardbird before we boarded a plane for Amsterdam. Bumped into our pilot as I navigated the touchscreen at Popeyes. He recommended staying out of the Coffee shops in Amsterdam. I'm already knowing...
Seemingly, it was a long jaunt between Detroit and Amsterdam. We chatted, napped and ate the bad plane food. We hopped on a KLM Cityhopper in Amsterdam which took us to Trondheim Airport, three minutes from Hell. The flight attendant on the flight was a woman of African descent who was fluent in English and Norwegian. She hardly cracked a smile. We arrived in Hell just before noon on Thursday September 5.
Hell, Norway is almost magical. It is a village of only 1100 or so people. However they sport two four-star hotels, a strip mall, a car dealership and they are snowed in six months of the year. They take great pride in their Blues Festival. From the moment we arrived Sugar Pie was the Grand Dame of Dames. The face of the Queen of the West Coast Blues was plastered all over the place; a huge banner on the Rica Hotel, on festival vehicles as well as on the cover of the official magazine of the festival. They treated The Sugar like the royalty she is. Whatever she wanted all she had to do was speak it.
While The Sugar was being given the treatment, I went and hung out with The Band which had arrived before us. All these cats are tried and true Chicago musicians. Willie Mitchell, bari sax player and Musical Director has his own star studded history. Well known as a top flight producer and arranger, Willie had hits of his own including Funky Chicken Pt.I and Dance Master. He produced all of Tyrone Davis's major hits and produced, played or arranged hits for Jackie Wilson, The Chi-Lites, Barbara Acklin, Donny Hathaway and many more.
Henderson assembled a mighty cast for Sugar Pie's invasion of Hell. On guitar he recruited Sir Walter Scott of the famous bass/guitar playin' Scott family of Chicago. The bassist was renowned Chicago music educator and former student of Henderson's, Phillip Castleberry. On keyboards was top session player Vince Willis. Rounding out the rhythm section was another very accomplished former student of Willie Henderson, Malcolm Banks. To quote Willie Henderson, "When you smell somethin' burning, it's bound to be Malcolm smoking those drums."
The horn section was razor sharp. In addition to Henderson's baritone sax, the great Willie Woods, a childhood friend of Willie Henderson's played trombone. Woods, a grade school classmate of Curtis Mayfield, has played or recorded with Nancy Wilson, Barry White, Otis Rush, The Dells, Jerry Butler, Lloyd Price, Charles Earland, The Ojays, Joe Tex and many others.
Rounding out the horns was the baby of the bunch, trumpeter Leon Quincy Allen. Brought on board by Willie Woods, Leon Q has worked with Tony Toni Tone and shared the stage with Common, Kanye West, James Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Jr. and countless others.
The horn section called a "secret" rehearsal Thursday afternoon in Willie Henderson's room. The horn arrangements The Sugar had sent ahead were for five horns and had to be pared down to three. Somehow The Sugar found out (ok, I confess) and she crashed the rehearsal with a still photographer and videographer in tow. Master Willie was just a tad perturbed. All in all though it went great. The horn section was so sharp they could perform major surgery without anesthesia.
After rehearsal we had dinner in the artist's hospitality section of the hotel. Three or four entrees with sides and desserts. They fed us well. I believe we all crashed early.
We all stayed at the Rica Hotel. They start serving a scrumptious breakfast buffet at 7 a.m. with every possible entrée imaginable. I was beginning to think we were in Heaven. Thursday found me scheduling interviews, transportation and other business for The Sugar and the band. I was in close communication with Jim Moore and Festival Director
Kjell Inge Brovoll. Hard to pronounce I know. He spoke credible English and everybody called him Hellboss. I kept my Jesus close!
The Sugar and The Band had a full 2 hour rehearsal at 2 p.m. It was amazing to watch. They couldn't do nothin' but have a great show Friday night. We retired back to the hotel after rehearsal and chilled until 6:30 p.m. when transportation picked us up for the band to hit at 7:00. Now it was supposed to be a secret that they were honoring The Sugar but she already knew. We were under the impression that they would be filming for broadcast later on Norwegian TV. At 6:55 Hellboss and the President of the Norwegian Broadcasting Network, came over and told me to be sure and have The Sugar ready at precisely 7 p.m. because they were going on live TV in front of 1.5 million viewers to present Sugar Pie as The Ambassador of The Hell Blues Festival! The presentation was fabulous and after the presentation a 45 minute set ensued. The Sugar and the band were on fire.
The next day it was all over the newspapers. Though the Friday night crowd was limited to maybe 300 persons, Saturday night was projected to be standing room only and indeed it was. The Sugar and The Band played essentially the same set list from Friday; Woke Up This Morning, Life Goes On, Slip In Mules, Use What You Got and I Want To Know. The band started the set off with Jimmy Smith's Back At The Chicken Shack and threw in an original Blues instrumental halfway through to give The Sugar a little break. She did her famous back flip and lured an unsuspecting gentleman to the stage and worked him over. She went out into the crowd and had'em dancin' in line. With her patter the show went over 60 minutes. Not bad for a Queen seventy-eight years young. Still standin', still dancin', still burnin' em up.
T. Watts, Road Manager Jasman Records
Soul-Patrol, West Coast Correspondent
Reporting from Hell, Norway
The Sugar and The Band would like to thank Hellboss Kjell Inge Brovoll and his incredible staff especially Randi and Jann.
Thanks also to Mona Johansen for the great pictures.
PRESS RELEASE: SOUL/JAZZ/R&B DIVA MAYSA DELIVERS FINEST ALBUM YET BLUE VELVET SOUL
The Critics Are Buzzing About Maysa
"…To die for…. warm, welcoming vocal tone and cool ear mesmerizers" - Philadelphia Daily News
"Maysa Leak's sensual, rangy and enticing voice always emerges triumphant." - Nashville City Paper
"One of the most identifiable and consistently enjoyable singers in underground soul." - Jazziz Magazine
"Maysa's voice is as smooth and as rich as chocolate...its pure, perfect tone is gorgeous and caresses with a languorous sensuality."-Blues And Soul Magazine
Maysa is the kind of singer who takes hold of a song and enraptures her audience in the palm of her hands, as she delivers lyrics, phrases, melodies and harmonies in a way that only she can. Blessed with an instantly identifiable honey-toned mezzo-soprano and an undeniably brilliant and magnetic stage presence, Maysa's alluring vocals, candor, humor and purity as an artist make her a rarity in this business. Having collaborated with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan to Incognito and Angela Bofill, Maysa can hang with the best. It is no wonder she is the recipient of Soul Train's "Soul Approved Underground Singer" Award. On June 18, 2013, the Baltimore native will release her tenth recording as a leader and sixth for Shanachie Entertainment, Blue Velvet Soul. " I hope the people who have been supportive of me through the years will enjoy this new music. That is all I can ask for!"
With the recent resurgence of soul singers, Maysa's organic, down-home, jazzy and bluesy approach is the essence of what people have been searching for. She is authentic and music is her truth. "I am a storyteller, a counselor and a friend that helps others through the good times and bad through my music. It's important for me to connect with the audience because it's my God given job." Blue Velvet Soul opens with the uplifting invocation "Beautiful Dreamer," a Maysa original co-written with Eugen Botos. This serene and inviting number opens with Maysa's buttery smooth and sublime alto crooning "If we could see the world through the eyes of a child, we never ever lose faith in all of mankind. I take this chance extend my hand to you. I reach across the world - show my love is true….""Sophisticated Lover," co-written with Chris "Big Dog," Davis, shows off Maysa's sensual side and finds her dropping a rap even Barry White would be proud of - as she woos us in the language of love. Maysa and "Big Dog" co-wrote six of Blue Velvet Soul's tracks including the devotional "Be There," the transcendent ballad "Pouring Rain," and the powerful testimonial "When Your Soul Answers." The duo also joins creative forces for "Inside My Dream," a moving number about faith and the power of dreams and the enchanting "When You Touch Me."
A special highlight on Blue Velvet Soul is "Good Morning Sunrise," an intoxicating and jubilant duet with Maysa's long-time collaborator, Bluey of Incognito. Although Maysa has been a driving vocal force in Incognito for over two decades, Blue Velvet Soul is the first time the duo has recorded together on one of Maysa's own recordings. Bluey and Maysa pull out all the stops for Bluey's get-on-the-dance-floor anthem, "Nothing But You." Maysa also does a stellar version of Bluey's energized, soul & groove heavy, "Put It On Me." The song "This Much" is a Mike City house groove that raises the temperature of Blue Velvet Soul a few notches and "I Care" is a glorious retro soul number fitting for Maysa's bluesy and riveting vocals. Blue Velvet Soul also features "What Can I Do," a funky gospel-inflected composition with convincing vocals from Maysa and the ballad "Quiet Fire," which Maysa was inspired to record in tribute to one of her long-time influences, Nancy Wilson.
The past year has been a difficult one as Maysa lost her dearest friend, her mother. "She made me promise to keep going no matter what," shares the singer. "I was able to continue with my live shows in almost a robotic state but when it came time to create. I was lost. I finished this record with God's help and a little help from my friends.
Maysa Leak was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and knew by the time she was six that she would be a musician. "I was six years old when my mom took me to see Purlie. When Melba Moore came on stage and sang her heart out, I knew at that moment I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel." Maysa graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in classical performance, meeting Stevie Wonder while a student. Upon graduating, she moved to North Hollywood to join Stevie Wonder's "Wonderlove," with whom she performed for a year, performing on the Jungle Fever soundtrack and such television shows as Oprah and The Tonight Show.
In the early Nineties, Maysa auditioned over the phone to become the new lead singer of the acclaimed British jazz/funk/R&B band Incognito, moving to London for four and a half years. She has appeared on over nine Incognito recordings and continues to appear as a featured vocalist with them from time to time. Maysa recorded her self-titled debut album for GRP in 1995, following it up with ALL MY LIFE in 1999, OUT OF THE BLUE in 2002 and SMOOTH SAILING in 2004. She then made an impact with her interpretations of classic soul music on two acclaimed albums for Shanachie, SWEET CLASSIC SOUL (2005) and FEEL THE FIRE (2007), on which she showed her ability to put her own unique stamp on familiar songs from the 1970s era. METAMORPHOSIS (2008) showed off Maysa's prowess as a composer and A WOMAN IN LOVE (2010) found Maysa returning to her roots as a jazz singer. MOTIONS OF LOVE (2011) which featured the ballad "Have Sweet Dreams" co-written by Stevie Wonder who plays harmonica and inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and the duet "Flower Girl" showcasing Dwele.
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.
Soul-Patrol Email Blast/Sponsorship Oppurtunities:
If you or your organization is has a need to reach Soul-Patrol Newsletter readers (Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, Rock n Roll fans) on a worldwide basis, then you may be interested in talking with us about doing a targeted email blast. They are inexpensive and highly effective for announcing a new CD, concerts, website launches, new products, new or existing businesses, etc.
We also have sponsorship oppurtunities available for Soul-Patrol's Website, Soul-Patrol's Daily Interactive Mailing List and the Soul-Patrol's Newsletter.
Contact us for the current rate schedules via email.
Bob Davis - Soul-Patrol
1852 Mt. Holly Rd #147
Westampton, NJ 08060
Click Here to Subscribe/Unsubscribe For Your Free Bi-Weekly Issue!