r&b Archive

Album Review: Jimmy Sweeney — Without You

Another in the (happily and) seemingly endless stream of unearthed gems, Jimmy Sweeney’s Without You is a collection of songs by a singer who was all but unknown. His claim to fame lies in a story – possibly apocryphal but leaning toward being true – about a demo he sent to Sam Phillips. That disc

Album Review: Nat Turner Rebellion – Laugh to Keep From Crying

I’ve written of similar observations before; here I am doing it once again. It amazes me to no end that so many years after the fact, never-before-heard recordings surface, and the quality of the music is remarkable. So it is with Nat Turner Rebellion’s Laugh to Keep From Crying. Recorded in various sessions between 1969

Before the (Family) Stone Age: The Viscaynes (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two … One afternoon soon thereafter, Chuck Gebhardt found himself mowing the very same lawn. “Next thing I knew, a limo pulled up, and my mom got out,” he recalls. “Come on; we’ve got to go to Los Angeles,” she told him. Gebhardt hesitated; he was only halfway done with the grass

Before the (Family) Stone Age: The Viscaynes (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Belying his eventual reputation as an erratic personality, the young Sly Stone was considered an engaging fellow. “He was a great guy,” Gebhardt says. In addition to being in the Viscaynes together, he and Sly “did plays together – he was a pretty darn good actor – and we played

Before the (Family) Stone Age: The Viscaynes (Part One)

An edited version of this feature appeared previously in Goldmine Magazine. The music and career of Sly Stone and his group The Family Stone is well known. What’s less explored is his earliest work, recordings made when he was still Sly Stewart, a teenager in Vallejo, California. Those original singles are now impossibly rare, though

Ryan RnB Barber: Can’t Hold Him Down

Ryan RnB Barber is one of the busiest musicians in Western North Carolina. He does it all: singing, rapping, songwriting, producing and arranging. And he stays busy with several bands (including BoogiTherapi and Orange Krush), participation in open mic/jam nights, and as a member of Grammy award winning kid-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s band.

30 Days Out, March 2020 #2: Sister Ivy, Graham Nash, Wham Bam Bowie Band, Eilen Jewell

UPDATE March 17: It looks as if all live shows are canceled for the foreseeable future. Please support these and other artists by buying their music online, viewing (and paying for) livestreams .. .whatever they may have on offer. We’re all in this together. Because of the worldwide challenge posed by the spread of the

Hundred-word Reviews for January 2020

Every so often – pretty often, in fact – I find a stack of CDs has accumulated on my desk. They’ve made the cut as albums deemed worthy of sharing with my readers. In the space of just one hundred words, I endeavor to convey what’s noteworthy or even special about these releases. Each of

Boxed Set Review: Land of 1000 Dances

Though there were certainly earlier examples, the era of the lavish boxed set began a few decades back; it more or less coincided with the CD era. And it persisted well into the 21st century. In the last few years, it seems to have trailed off, though superb exceptions to that rule continue to pop

The Lee Boys: Keeping the Love Light Aflame (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… “We are really blessed and fortunate to have a vast array of styles within our music,” Lee says. He suggests that if one listens to the group’s music today, “you got some Led Zeppelin in there, some funk, some modern stuff, and then you got that real gospel drive. That all