soul Archive

Album Review: Idiot Grins — State of Health

Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield made some of the most enduring cinematic soul of the 1970s. Not coincidentally, both men created works that lent themselves exceedingly well to juxtaposition with onscreen images; Hayes composed the soundtrack to Shaft; Mayfield did the same for Super Fly. Of course their work transcended soundtrack music, but the connection

Don Bryant: This is All I Know (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… Around that time, the Bo-Keys’ regular singer Percy Wiggins started having health issues that precluded his involvement in some live dates. “Percy was out of performing live for about six months,” Bomar says. “We had shows booked, and all of a sudden our band needed a singer. I asked Don if

Don Bryant: This is All I Know (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… By the middle of the 1960s, the Four Kings had broken up, but Bryant remained as a vocalist with Mitchell. Between 1965 and 1969, Bryant released at least nine singles on Hi; for most of those, he penned either the a- or b-side; sometimes both. Unbeknownst to Bryant, Hi Records had

Don Bryant: This is All I Know (Part One)

Don Bryant started releasing soul 45s under his own name in 1965. But it wasn’t until nearly four years later that he’d finally record and release an album. A collection of well-worn standards, Precious Soul was an excellent showcase of Bryant’s vocal prowess. But it displayed only a fraction of the man’s talents. His gospel

2017’s Top Ten You Might Not Have Heard/Heard Of

My brow furrows a bit when I read “Best of” lists published in November or early December; are December releases set aside for consideration in the following year? Or are they ignored? A look at albums released in the last month of 1967, for example, includes Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love, Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy,

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