r&b Archive

Hundred-word Reviews for September, Part 6 of 8

Today I take quick looks at excellent reissue and compilation releases from three labels that excel at that kind of thing: Omnivore Recordings, Light in the Attic and Real Gone Music. Low Down Original Motion Picture Soundtrack The 2014 film tells the story of jazz pianist Joe Albany and his (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts to break

Shuggie Otis: The Music Keeps Calling Him Back (Part 4)

Continued from Part Three… Bill Kopp: A lot of highly-regarded musicians have named you as an inspiration. David Byrne was instrumental in the first [2001] CD reissue of Inspiration Information. Lenny Kravitz has said great things about your music. And I hear your influence in some of Prince‘s music. Those are just two examples. What

Shuggie Otis: The Music Keeps Calling Him Back (Part 3)

Continued from Part Two… Shuggie Otis: But the songs kept calling me back. A song would be really good, and I’d think about it, and realize that I have to face whatever it is that’s bothering me about this song. It might be something personal. It’s not not necessarily that the song has anything to

Shuggie Otis: The Music Keeps Calling him Back (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: You sent demo tapes to many labels, but nothing happened for years, until the reissue of Inspiration Information with the added Wings of Love material. That you finally got the notice you deserve seems to be more than luck. Why do you think you’re getting noticed now after being

Shuggie Otis: The Music Keeps Calling Him Back (Part 1)

“I look back now,” says Shuggie Otis, “and I think, ‘Wow. I must have a lot of patience!’” The multi-instrumentalist is reflecting on the curious arc of his career so far: his fame began in earnest when he was a young teen, continued into his early twenties, and ended abruptly after the relative commercial failure

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2015, Part 3

Blues, r&b, post-jazz and country-flavored singer/songwriter music: never let it be said that I only write about rock. Here are five fine releases in a wide array of musical styles. Rusty Wright Band – Wonder Man Take the attitude of big-band swing and electric guitar blues, and apply it to uptempo rock’n’roll, and you might

Album Review: Little Richard — Directly From My Heart

For music lovers of a certain age range, the work of Richard Penniman is the sort of music that one might only rarely make an effort to hear. The name and image of Little Richard is a virtual shorthand for some of the best qualities music has to offer: excitement, bravado, melody, energy, skill, humor…on

Matthew E. White’s Calibrated Subtlety

Matthew E. White has been musically active for many years, including collaborations with Megafaun and the Mountain Goats and three albums with avant-jazz group Fight the Big Bull. But as an artist recording and touring under his own name, he’s a relative newcomer. The story making the rounds is that White’s debut – 2012’s Big

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 6

Last week I presented 25 capsule reviews; 100 words each, these were quick critical looks at new CD (and vinyl) releases. This week, I dive into the pile of reissue/compilation CDs that have been crowding my office. Don’t mistake my relative brevity for mild praise; all of the discs reviewed deserve attention. Chuck Berry –

Album Review: It’s Jamaica Jump Blues Time!

For American readers and listeners, this new compilation from Fantastic Voyage requires a bit of background; when I first laid eyes on it, I had no clue as to either its contents or its overall theme. But thanks to the set’s excellent liner notes (courtesy of Phil Etgart), It’s Jamaica Jump Blues Time! Jamaican Sound