r&b Archive

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

Album Review: Sam Samudio – Sam, Hard and Heavy

“Wooly Bully!” Yes, if you remember pop music of the 1960s – fondly or otherwise – you will recall this garage rockin’ classic. With its wheezing Farfisa organ lines, manic-and-stomping delivery, the biggest hit for Sam “The Sham” and the Pharaohs was all over the radio (#2 on the charts in June 1965). The novelty

DVD Review: Ike & Tina on the Road 1971-72

If I told you there was a new DVD compiled of a bunch of Ike & Tina Turner‘s home movies, you might well shudder. Thanks to Tina’s biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It, in the minds of a whole generation of potential music fans, Ike Turner is a bad guy, and not much

Album Review: Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys – Say Yes

From a superficial standpoint, there’s not a huge amount of common stylistic ground between the music of Austin-based Akina Adderley (& the the Vintage Playboys) and Adderley’s grandfather Nat, or with her great uncle Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. But with a peerless musical pedigree such as hers, she can – no, must – be expected at

Album Review: Lou Ragland – I Travel Alone

Way back when I was nineteen, I was a full-time college student, but I also held down a part-time job in retail. I became friendly with a co-worker name Wade White, and our conversations often centered around (you guessed it) music. Our backgrounds couldn’t have been more different: I was a suburban kid, and he

Album Review: Father’s Children – Who’s Gonna Save the World

The story of Father’s Children is fascinating, but not altogether unique. Group comes together, develops a style, records an album, sinks without a trace. This Washington DC-based group recorded an album for Mercury at the tail-end of the 70s, but by that point they were past their prime, had endured myriad lineup changes, and had