soul Archive

Album Mini-review: Chicano Batman — Freedom is Free

File next to: War, Mayer Hawthorne, Sly & the Family Stone The spirit of late-sixties psychedelic soul is alive in Chicano Batman. On this collection of twelve socially aware originals, the Los Angeles quartet – augmented with an alluring female vocal chorus – makes some of the best music of its career. Musically, Freedom is

Chicano Batman: It’s Playtime

The style of music known as “psychedelic soul” enjoyed an all-too-brief heyday in the late 1960s. Deftly fusing elements of African American soul and the dreamier end of psychedelic rock, the genre was exemplified by artists such as Sly & the Family Stone and The Chambers Brothers. But the incredibly rich and varied musical landscape

Album Mini-review: Wild Adriatic — Feel

File next to: The Heavy, The New Mastersounds, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings This NYC-based trio describes its music as “power soul,” and for once a genre label is dead-on describing an artist. Rich Derbyshire‘s kinetic basslines, taut and assured drumming from Mateo Vosganian and aggressive, wah-wah-laden guitar lines support Travis Gray‘s assured vocals on

Lee Fields’ Pure Soul Music

Sometimes it takes decades to become an overnight sensation. Such is the case of soul stirrer Lee Fields; though he released his first single, “Bewildered” b/w “Tell Her I Love Her” on a tiny label in 1969, he didn’t truly score big until 30-plus yeas later. And then his career truly took off some 20

Roy Ayers’ Positive Vibrations

Few popular musicians have been successful at making a switch from one genre to another while holding on to a substantial fan base. Singer and vibraphonst Roy Ayers has done it, and more than once. Famously gifted a set of vibes mallets by bandleader Lionel Hampton, Ayers earned one of his first professional breaks as

Quick Takes, Part Three

Today I take a quick look at ten archival releases of note. Tim Buckley — Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 The music of Tim Buckley (yeah, late father of the late Jeff Buckley) has earned a reputation as difficult. And while I’m not here to flatly counter that impression, I must say that this collection

Quick Takes, Part Two

More quick-take reviews … Pop Co-op – Four State Solution Making an album via file sharing – instead of the old-fashioned method of gathering in a studio – is now a well-established practice. The title of this set refers to the approach used to make it. Steve Stoeckel’s name will be familiar to pop connoisseurs;

The Nth Power: Maximum Musical Skills

New Orleans supergroup delivers spirituality and soul live onstage and on a pair of new albums The hypnotic, deep-groove funky soul of The Nth Power is a big draw on the jam band circuit. On the group’s web site, the New Orleans-founded quartet claims that it’s “on a mission to share the light.” There’s no

Amy Black’s Latter-day FAME

Singer’s Muscle Shoals Revue honors music made at legendary Alabama studio Amy Black didn’t set out to showcase the music of Muscle Shoals, Alabama’s FAME Studios; things just worked out that way. “It wasn’t planned,” she says. “It was kind of organic.” Black originally planned to record most of her 2014 album This is Home

Album Review: Mushroom — Psychedelic Soul on Wax

File next to: Brian Auger’s Trinity, Can, David Byrne The four cuts on Psychedelic Soul on Wax are as different from another as can be, but then Mushroom has always confounded easy classification. “Flesh Failures (Let the Sun Shine In)” is a cover of the hit tune from the Hair soundtrack, served up here in