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**ARCHIVED 2015 WRITINGS**

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BLUES CRITIC'S

Southern Soul Blog

A page for writings. Commentary, news and reviews.

Southern Soul, Rhythm & Blues News And Reviews

The Blues Critic is back! Well, sort of. Many of you may remember that this website began as an album reviews website of new and classic Southern Soul/R&B/Blues albums. We have decided to get back into the opinions game. It's just that...opinion. We actually question the usefulness of reviews so we are just doing it for entertainment purposes. People like to read reviews. Simple as that. We aren't accepting submissions for review. We will only review something we like or recommend. Our reviews will often be just as much commentary as review. If we don't like it we won't review it. Writing negative reviews is pointless and unnecessary in our opinion. People have their own tastes. There is no objective way to judge music. You either like it or don't. Yes we're totally self righteous but we have made peace with that. LOL.

In regards to reviews, we will use this grading system:

***** = Excellent. Best Of The Genre
****
= Very Good. Just Shy Of Great
***
= Good. A Solid Effort Though Not Extraordinary
**
= Has It's Moments. Mediocre Over All.

(C) 2018. All written material found on this website is the property of Blues Critic and may only be used with permission and full accreditation (either "Blues Critic" or "Dylann DeAnna of Blues Critic") and link to this website.


8/29/2015

Random Musings

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Why isn't Brenda Lee Eager a superstar? Right, you likely haven't heard of her. Well, she possesses a voice like Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin combined! A throaty, spine tingling powerhouse of sweet, churchy rasp. She is mostly known for duets with male soul singers. With Jerry Butler she scored hits with "Ain't Understanding Mellow" (#21 Pop, #3 R&B) and "They Long To Be (Close To You)" (#91 Pop, #6 R&B). The pair even released a full LP together in 1973 ("The Love We Have, The Love We Had" on Mercury Records-see pic above). I guess bad luck prevented this gifted woman from solo stardom. She managed two minor hits ("Gold Old Fashioned Lovin'" R&B #71 & "Watch My Body Talk" R&B #72) on the R&B charts on her own. More recently she was featured on Vernon Garrett's recommended 2002 Evejim album "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (Eager sang duets on the title cut and "If You Don't Know Me By Now") and self-released albums in 2000 ("Starting Over") and 2011 ("Joy"). Unfortunately, these latter two albums aren't available on CD. To hear her at full power take a listen below to her outstanding performance with Vernon Garrett on "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (her verse begins at 1:40 in the video) and Jerry Butler on "Ain't Understanding Mellow" (her verse begins at 1:44 in the video)

 


8/29/2015

Album Review

David Brinston "Back Seat Rider" (Delta Down)

*** David Brinston is one of the most essential and representative artists of this modern day "southern soul/blues" style. That voice, a gruffer, nasally Al Green, is instantly recognizable and comfortable like thick warm socks on a chilly day. "Back Seat Rider" is album number 14 for Brinston who began his career auspiciously in 1996 with the classic album "Hit And Run" (later reissued with one new track as "Slow Down" a year later) on the now defunct Jomar Records. A journeyman, who has appeared on quite the number of record labels (Jomar, METT, Susie Q, Waldoxy, Ecko and his own R&B and Delta Down imprints), has settled into a reliable one album per year routine on his Delta Down label just like he enjoyed with Ecko Records. Despite the slight decline post-Ecko in production values he's always able to salvage the typically clunky, toy keyboard- sounding production so ubiquitous in the genre. This is his third album in a row released independently but the sound is full enough to get the job done. More importantly, the record has well-written songs, albeit stingy on quantity (only 8 cuts).

Fans will find plenty to like here, the Chicago soul of "Just Like Your Mama" praises a chip off the old block lady and bumpers "Back Seat Rider", "Running On Empty" are sweet, smooth and sure to illicit toe-tapping. Meanwhile, "Damn Near Hate Each Other" has the most noteworthy lyrics about relationships that turn from infatuation to barely tolerable contempt ("I was talking with a friend of mine/just out of curiosity/I asked him how you and your woman been together so long/'Cuz it seems like you never agree/He said 'now one day you will learn as the years turn/You better try to get what you need/There's no need to change/just go on and do your thing...we downright, straight up damn near hate each other')". The song also features a terrific Motown-styled bridge.

What would a David Brinston album be without a aching, deep soul slow jam? Well, "I Want To Thank You Baby" fulfills the need. In summary, "Back Seat Rider" delivers a healthy dose of the David Brinston formula and that's what we want. BUY CD

**Second opinions about this album review? Email us at bluescritic@yahoo.com**


8/28/2015

Album Review

Val McKnight "Independent Woman" (Ecko)

*** 1/2 John Ward's Ecko Records has gotten a ton of mileage out of bold, brash, bawdy, bodacious "independent women". They began with Barbara Carr and carried on with Sheba Potts-Wright, Denise LaSalle, Sweet Angel and most notably, Ms. Jody. The label's habit of star-making of these tough gal artists is undeniable. "Vivacious" Val McKnight is first and foremost a songwriter. In fact it's unusual to receive a CD from Ecko where the artist has written the majority of the material. On "Independent Woman" McKnight wrote nine of the thirteen cuts. It's your typical shuffle-bumping, down-home blues, mid-paced southern soul (think Clarence Carter "Slip Away") with themes like  partying/dancing ("It's Party Time", "Juke Joint Party", "Move Your Body"), sex ("Make Me Shout Ooh Ooh Ooh", "You Put It Over The Fence", "I'm A Love Starved Woman"), relationships ("I'll Be Seeing You Around") and female empowerment ("Independent Woman", "Whoo Doo Woman"). A successful formula indeed and McKnight's attitude-filled voice and phrasing suits this material to a T.

Some of the highlights include the brutally honest, in your face message of "I'm A Love Starved Woman". A lumpy Blues head bobber with lyrics like "I'm a loved starved woman/The kind that can't be trusted/Some of the things I do/ You might be disgusted/I'm a love starved woman/Ain't No man off limit/Before the night is over/ I got to get a man off in it/Girls you better hide your man if you see me coming!". Yes indeed, this is much less, er, subtle than other man stealing songs ("I Intend To Take Your Place" by Peggy Scott-Adams for example). The use of the word "bitch" in a prideful bent had it's start in Blues way before it became the kitsch thing to do in pop with pop artists like one-hit wonder Meridith Brooks ("Bitch"), Britney Spears ("It's Britney, bitch"), Rihanna ("Bitch Better Have My Money") and Madonna ("Bitch I'm Madonna") all proudly announcing their bitchosity. Well, McKnight issues a warning to other gals who have dalliances with her man. They may get with him but she's the "Head Bitch In Charge". Granted it is surprising that McKnight seems okay with her man's cheating ways but every relationship is different I suppose. But maybe it's that same man that breaks it off with her on "I'll Be Seeing You Around". She sarcastically wishes him the best with the caveat "Someone out there might do the same thing to you". Val McKnight is not to be trifled with. BUY CD

**Second opinions about this album review? Email us at bluescritic@yahoo.com**


8/28/2015

Site Update

Did you notice we are implementing a new way to listen to samples of the CDs in our store? We are slowly adding a mini-player for those where the "LISTEN" link doesn't work. Here's a sample:


8/27/2015

Site Update

We have made some changes to the site. We have included a comprehensive index for the Soul Blues Artists section and expanded the CD Store to include more pages, which should make the site easier to navigate.


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(C) 2018. All written material found on this website is the property of Blues Critic and may only be used with permission and full accreditation (either "Blues Critic" or "Dylann DeAnna of Blues Critic") and link to this website.

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