r&b Archive

July Capsule Reviews, #3 of 3

Today I present yet four more capsule reviews. Today’s crop includes reissues on the Real Gone Music label. RGM is committed to unearthing long- (and unjustly-) forgotten music, and these four titles — all from the too-often-maligned decade of the 1970s – certainly meet that standard. My self-imposed limit for this particular exercise is 150

Album Review: Various Artists — The South Side of Soul Street

Not meant to diminish in any way the staggering contribution Stax made to popular music, but that Memphis label was not the be-all and end-all for quality Southern soul music of the 60s and 70s. And while every time a compilation of previously-overlooked music comes out – Los Nuggetz, for example, or the deep-archival comps

Pygmies, Green Bullets, and Shitty Amps: Getting Loopy with Randall Bramblett

Randall Bramblett began his professional musical career in the 1970s. Working solo and then as a member of Sea Level, Bramblett crafted songs that synthesized a long list of American musical forms: soul, rhythm and blues, rock, and even gospel flavorings. The highly regarded musician recently released The Bright Spots, his eleventh solo album. He

Album Review: Pulp and Pop Culture Box Vol. 1

You know what’s cool? When the compiler of a collection of music makes no outsized claims of cultural import about the music. Sometimes it’s art, for sure, but sometime, it’s just…fun. That’s certainly the case with Rock Beat’s new Pulp & Pop Culture Box Vol. 1. One hundred-plus tracks filling four CDs, it’s jam packed

EP Review: Nakia – Drown in the Crimson Tide

Deftly walking the tightrope between crafting classic soul and serving up something contemporary, Nakia‘s EP Drown in the Crimson Tide has it both ways. Remaining true to the style and spirit of southern-fried soul of the Memphis variety, Nakia still sounds current; there’s no artifice nor hamfisted retro pandering in his six self-penned tracks. The

Album Review: Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign

Here’s one often reliable method for discerning whether an album is an important one: when you first hear it, do you recognize several of the songs via popular cover versions? I didn’t grow up with the blues; I’m the product of a white, middle-class suburban family; any “ethnic” music I heard growing up in south

Album Review: Freddie King – The Complete King Federal Singles

Freddie King was a big man with a big guitar sound. An important figure in the history of blues, he’s also one of the most accessible artists in the genre; his influence upon rock artists has been such that when rock-tuned ears hear him, it feels right, familiar somehow. His good-timing approach owed a lot

Album Review: Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective

Seven CDs represents quite a lot of music. And all of the music on Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective was recorded in the space of six and half year years. The earliest tracks date from spring 1965, and the latest cuts were recorded in fall 1971. But the 129 tracks span an impressively wide stylistic

Album Review: Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information / Wings of Love

There are many stories in pop music history centering around artists who – for one reason or another — never quite fulfilled their potential. More often than not, those reasons tend to fall into one (or both) of two categories: substance or psychological issues, and/or management that was bad, inept or (at worst) malevolent. Whatever

Album Review: Otis Redding – Lonely & Blue

Released in 1966, Lonely & Blue was perhaps Otis Redding‘s finest collection of songs centering on the heartfelt, pained end of the soul balladeering spectrum. With its trademark packaging design – as distinctive in its own way as the aesthetic of jazz giant Blue Note – the Volt Records release captured everything that made Redding