r&b Archive

Album Reviews: Two Alex Chilton Compilations

Editor’s Note: Today’s something of a milestone: my 3,000th post. As a general matter, I make a point of not writing reviews that are a response or rebuttal to other views. In fact, for the most part, I avoid even reading other reviews, at least until after I’ve filed mine. But I have been struck

Procol Harum’s Salad Days (Are Here Again) Part 2 of 2

Continued from Part One… Novum stands on its own as an excellent album of new material. Can you tell me about the circumstances leading to making the first new Procol Harum album in many, many years? Well, that’s a very nice comment, I must put in there. Thank you very much. Because that is something

Procol Harum’s Salad Days (Are Here Again) Part 1 of 2

Formed in 1967, the sophisticated and forward-looking British band Procol Harum had its origins in a very different outfit, the Paramounts. Along with pianist/singer Gary Brooker, guitarist Robin Trower, multi-instrumentalist Chris Copping and drummer B.J. Wilson were part of a group that focused on American-style rhythm and blues. The band scored a UK Top 40

EP Reviews: Two from the Koko Mojo Label

Larry Williams – Short Fat Fanny EP Today, the name Larry Williams is largely known once removed, as the American rhythm and blues artist who wrote and recorded songs that would be revived by the Beatles, the Who and others. Their covers are now more well-known than Williams’ originals, but it’s worth going back to

A Vinyl Roundup to Round Out 2018

So much good music has found its way into my ears in 2018. As the year winds toward its close, I’d like to share words on a few of these with you. All titles noted below are on vinyl (LP or 7′ 45 RPM single). Wes Hollywood – Dynamite It was more than six and

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 4 / conclusion)

Continued from Part Three… And even though Fantastic Negrito is now a high-profile Grammy-winning performer and recording artist, he still feels and maintains a close connection to that neighborhood. “The people I started my collective label [Blackball Universe] with, they’re all guys I grew up with,” he says. “We did everything – committed crimes and

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 3)

Continued from Part Two… The production on The Last Days of Oakland is “boxy,” and Xavier says that that quality is a deliberate aesthetic choice. “I wanted it to feel like I’m sitting right in someone’s living room,” he says. And I tried to minimize production; I was really going for a sense of urgency,

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… A 2014 EP titled Fantastic Negrito debuted Xavier’s new approach. Ostensibly blues, the five-song EP draws from a wider array of influences. Released to enthusiastic critical notices, the EP created a buzz but didn’t break through on a large scale. Undaunted and sure of his musical direction, Xavier created a low-budget

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 1)

(An edited version of this feature appeared in print in Living Blues Magazine.) All photos © Audrey Hermon Kopp Fantastic Negrito is a a lot of things. On the surface, he’s a stage persona, the human means of delivery for songs that chronicle the realities of life. But dig deeper and you’ll find Xavier Dhphrepaulezz,

Album Review: Taylor James — Insane

For me, the use of numbers and capital letters in place of, y’know, actual words is a red flag: it was kinda dumb when Prince did it, and it’s wholly unoriginal now, a generation later. So the discovery of the opening track “Back 2 U” caused me to lower my expectations in regard to finding