Sunday, 5 October 2014

Doing It My Way - Breaking Down This Week's Soul Vibrations Radio Show

For the best part of 40 years it has been my ambition to present a radio show.

I was blessed to be given the chance to be a radio DJ less than two years ago. I now present "Soul Vibrations" every Friday at 6 pm UK time on Phat Soul Radio.

This week I feel moved to write about the show, not because I want to "blow my own trumpet" but because I feel the music, old and new, this particular week proved to be probably the best mix of tunes, the highest quality songs that I have had the privilege to put together.

That isn't to say that songs I have played in the past but omitted this week were in any way inferior; I have played some real crackers over the past 21 months. It's just that this show feels somehow special.

So, in addition to sharing the link to the replay of the show I would ask your forbearance as I wax lyrical about some of the artists and songs in this week's play list.

After the usual excellent introduction from Ronnie Grieco "Just Ain't No Love" we move straight into a Southern Soul threesome courtesy of Otis Clay, Marvin Sease and LGB.

Our first new offering is from Dasha Logan (a new name to me) featuring Paul Johnson, the extended Soul Mix of "Cleverly". Our October Album of the Month is from Gwendolyn Collins, entitled "Storytelling - Side 1", from which we play the remix of "Take A Walk". I was privileged to see Gwendolyn in concert at The Jazz Cafe in London last week; watch out for an upcoming interview.

Gwendolyn Collins at The Jazz Cafe in London
Another new name, Me'nage debuts on Soul Vibrations with "Tasty Love", followed by the first offering on this week's show by Adrena, who's "Cheatin' In The Back Street" reminds me of the kind of vocal performance that Denise LaSalle has made a long career with. Fitting then, that The Queen Of The Blues herself offers Adrena some advice, after the event, that she should have "Kept It In The Bedroom". Johnnie Taylor adds his ten-cents' worth with "Hijackin' Love".

After Al Green's classic "Sha La La (Make Me Happy)" we feature Donnell Sullivan with a great uptempo new song, "Leaving", before enjoying a slow to mid-tempo Motown mix, courtesy of Junior Walker, Jimmy Ruffin, Marvin & Tammi, The Supremes and The Spinners.

There follows a selection of some of the smoothest sounds around, beginning with our second offering from Gwendolyn Collins' album,"The Simple Things", probably my favourite track; I just love Gwen's tribute to her parents at the end of the song.

Next comes our Record of the Month for October: Nellie Travis joins Adrena trying to impart wisdom but the younger woman really doesn't want to give up "Another Woman's Man". This record has it all: great Southern Soul singing; real-life issues addressed by two wonderful vocalists. Watch out for Adrena - she has a great future - you heard it here first!

Jureesa "The Duchess" McBride has one of the smoothest Southern Soul voices around, although she can get Bluesy when necessary. On "I Want To Be Your Super Mistress" The Duchess reaches into her Deep Soul bag, oozes sensuality and delivers a fine vocal performance.

Lola Love is another fine Southern Soul vocalist. Following on from her "The Other Shoe", Lola is back with a great Soulful performance on "I Deserve Better".

One of the most highly respected Soul duos around, Kindred The Family Soul, from Philadelphia, bring us their smooth "A Couple Friends", the title song from a former Soul Vibrations Album of the Month.

Yet another current Soul Diva, Gina Carey follows her excellent "Through The Water", with the equally spine-tingling "Eyes Of A Child"; those high notes just melt me; reminiscent of Minnie Ripperton.

There are so many talented female vocalists on the Soul Music scene right now. Former UK Soul Chart-topping artist Marcia Mitchell brings us her recent hit, "Give Me A Chance To Love You".

Vel Omarr
Vel Omarr continues in the Smooth Soul vein with "The Greatest Song I Ever Sang"

Following these wonderful current  gems, we bring you a string of Southern Soul classics: Bobby Womack "Doing It My Way"; "Precious Precious" from Otis Clay; Ann Peebles "I Can't Stand The Rain"; then a twosome from a lovely lady who had a birthday this week, Dorothy Moore, "Let The Healing Begin" followed by her monster hit from 1976, "Misty Blue".

Karena K recently described her duet with Wily Bo Walker, "Love Will Find A Way" as Acapella Jazz, but I know I am not alone in loving the Doo Wop feel to it, so it only seems natural to follow with Carl Gardner & The Coasters' version of "If I Had A Hammer"; the 1969 remake of "Oh, What A Night" by The Dells and "One Life To Live" by The Manhattans from 1972 but could easily have been recorded ten years earlier.

We kick off the final part of the show, the get up and boogie session, with another Manhattan's track: from their self-titled album released in 1976, comes a great Philly "Modern Soul" foot tapper, "Searching For Love", sounding rather like The O'Jays.

We continue in the Philly groove with The Trammps and a long version of "Hold Back The Night"; Jackie Moore "Both Ends Against The Middle"; "Mighty Love" from The Spinners and "The Soul City Walk", my anthem from the Disco floors of '76, by Archie Bell & The Drells.

We then head back into the Motor City with a selection of Dance Floor Fillers: "I Got A Feeling" by The Four Tops; The Isley Brothers with "Behind A Painted Smile" (without the trademark drum burst at the end, which seems to have been deleted from the digital recording) and Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life".

The grand finale consists of five Northern Soul stompers, comprising, from Motown: "R Dean Taylor "Ghost In My House" and "Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones; then a Chicago threesome, "Right Track" by Billy Butler; Major Lance "The Monkey Time" and "Nothing Can Stop Me" by Gene Chandler.

How can three hours go by so quickly? I hope you enjoyed listening to the show; thanks for joining me and I also hope you find this blog interesting and entertaining.