soul Archive

The Fritz: A Vibe of Their Own

Keyboardist and songwriter Jamar Woods was part of an all-star lineup celebrating New Year’s 2018 at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. Billed as the James Brown Dance Party, onstage that night were former musical associates of Prince and Brown as well as members of the Roots, Tedeschi Trucks Band and more. The assemblage of musicians

Hundred Word Reviews for January 2018, Part 1

As we begin another calendar year, now seems like a good time to clear out some of my backlog. All of these albums are new (or at least newish) releases. Paul Moran – Smokin’ B3 Vol. 2: Still Smokin’ As a lover of soulful organ jazz a la Jimmy Smith, I was taken in by

Boxed Set Review: Isaac Hayes — The Spirit of Memphis

Isaac Hayes was the man. Certainly, he developed an outsized public persona, with his bare chest, furry boots, wide-brimmed hat, chains and gold-played Cadillac (though not all at the same time), and that persona was as cocksure and swaggering as the description suggests. But the thing is, he earned it. From his days as a

The Suffers: Like a Hurricane

It’s not unheard of for a band to change its style as it grows and develops. But Houston-based band the Suffers makes soul music that’s far more compelling than – and completely different from – the group’s original vision. Fresh from the ordeal of Hurricane Harvey, the Suffers played an Asheville, North Carolina date at

Book Reviews for the End of 2017

With so much of 2017 spent writing a book of my own, I’ve found less time than usual to read the works of other authors. Happily, three titles that I did read were all superb. Here’s a quick close-to-end-of-year rundown. Women of Motown: An Oral History by Susan Whitall Seeing Whitall’s name on this book

Album Review: The Fritz — Natural Mind

The phase-shifted synthesizer pads that introduce “Stuck in Between,” the opening track on The Fritz‘s new album Natural Mind, evokes thoughts of 1970s r&b outfit like the Brothers Johnson. But as soon as that thought forms, a repeating guitar figure enters, sounding like a more accessible version of the 1980s lineup of progressive rock giants

100-word Reviews for November 2017: New Music

So much great music and so little time. Here’s ten reviews: all new music, each summed up in 100 words. All are worth your time. Bryant Fabian Marsalis – Do For You? (Consolidated Artists) I struggle with a lot of current-day jazz. No matter how I try, much of it leaves me cold. Here’s a

Album Review: Sidney Barnes – ‘Sup’m Old, Sup’m New, Sup’m Borrowed, Sup’m Blue’

Sidney Barnes falls into the category of criminally under-appreciated musical figures. His career figures significantly into the histories of doo-wop, soul, funk, rock, pop and psychedelia. He cut “Wait” b/w “I’m Satisfied” way back in 1961, and while that record didn’t make a splash, it set him on a path he follows to this day.

‘Stax 60’ Album Release Campaign Features 10 Albums by 10 Legendary Artists

The venerable and legendary Stax Records was started 60 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally doing business as Satellite Records, the label founded by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton (and later hemled by Al Bell) would go on to release a catalog of staggering quality before falling victim to a host of problems that would

Evolfo’s Garage Soul … Now With Pizza

After years of shuttling back and forth between the group’s Boston hometown and gigs in New York City, seven-member band Evolfo relocated to the more creatively fertile landscape of Brooklyn. Guitarist Matt Gibbs says that moving here “shook up my views on music. It made me want to push things harder.” Keyboardist Rafferty Swink concurs.