Former singer of The Soul Children from 1968-1978, which scored hits like "I'll Be The Other Woman", "Hearsay" and "Don't Take My Kindness For Weakness". He went solo in 1978 and scored a hit in the early 80s with "Taxi". Born John Colbert in 1947, Memphis, Tennessee,,.'J. Blackfoot' is a nickname Colbert picked up during his early years due to his habit of walking barefoot on the tarred sidewalks of Memphis.
Blackfoot spent six
months as lead singer with a new line-up of The Barkays (after
original members were killed with Otis Redding in a plane crash).
The Soul Children
"The Soul Children" (Stax 1968)
1 I'll Understand
"Best Of Two Worlds" (Stax 1971)
1 Bring It Here
"Genesis" (Stax 1972)
1 I Want To Be Loved
"Friction" (Stax 1974)
1 I'll Be The Other
"Finders Keepers" (Epic 1976)
"Where Is Your Woman Tonight?" (Epic 1977)
1 Head On Collision
"Open Door Policy" (Stax 1978)
1 Stir Up The Boogie, Part II
"Chronicle" (Stax 1979)
1 Give 'Em Love
"Hold On I'm Coming" (Stax 1997)
1 Hold On, I'm Coming
The Soul Children "Still Standing" (JEA Music 2008)
1. Long Ride Home
***1/2 You could just as easily called this the new J. Blackfoot album because the throaty one sings lead on nearly all the tracks, often joined by Queen Ann Hines, Norman Wets , Cassandra Graham and a cameo by Toni Green. Both Blackfoot and West were part of the original Stax Records line up. Hines and Graham are standing in the roles of Anita Lewis and Shelbra Bennet. The foursome logged 11 charting singles on Billboard's R & B charts from 1968 to 1978, most notably "Hearsay" and "I'll Be The Other Woman", which both crossed over to the pop charts as well (at #44 and #36 respectively).
Blackfoot (born John Colbert) hasn't lost any of his powerful rasp and fairly tears it up on the yearning ballads "Long Ride Home" and "Love You For Life" (featuring the dynamite Toni Green) and "More Than A Woman"
Other than the strong live version of "The Sweeter He Is" the second half, beginning with the clumsy "Too Hot To Hold" is noticeably inferior. But not by much. This is a solid "Modern/Retro" whatever you-wanna-call-it Soul album.
"City Slicker" (Sound Town 1983)
1. Way of the City
*** Taking a cue from Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City", Blackfoot's first solo outing is a concept album about a young man going west. The album covers basic street life themes with "Street Girl", "One Of Those Parties", "Can You Hang" and "City Slicker" which incorporates 80s rap into his mix. The opening track "Way Of The City" is too close to Wonder's song for comfort! Blackfoot's drifter is also from Mississippi too. Despite the slightly dated production this remains one of Blackfoot's better discs. He scored a Top 10 hit on R & B charts with the smooth, soulful "Taxi".
"Physical Attraction" (Sound Town 1984)
1. The Girl Next
"U-Turn" (Edge 1987)
1. Breaking The Monotony
*** Decent follow up to "Physical Attraction" is a basic Southern Soul platter with no frills (no strings, horns, tricks) but still affected by 80s production sound. The title cut was released as a 12 inch single and made an impact on the street if not the charts. The album, however, peaked at #67 on Billboard's R & B Albums chart.
"Loveaholic" (Basix 1991)
1. After the Tone
**1/2 8 song debut for Basix Records is a mixed bag. The title track is a good Memphis thumper- the kind Wilson Pickett used to throw down. Blackfoot has the gritty voice to bring it home. He sounds especially sexy on slow jams like "She's Only Human", "After The Tone" and "Just One Lifetime", the latter being a duet with Anne Swanigan-Hines. There's also some weak tracks from writers Homer Banks and Lester Snell such as the clumsy "Comebacks Don't Come Easy" and "That's How Lies Get Out".
"Room Service" (Basix 1993)
1. Now Is the Time
*** Once again that plastic 80s synth n' drum machine attack creeps up on a few tracks but Blackfoot's gritty vocals and sinewy phrasing save the day. The set takes a drive in Tyrone Davis country with a slinky bedroom jam "Now Is The Time". But hits a pothole on the bland "Until Then" with Lynn White. Things pick up again in the love devotional "You Are My Glory". Elsewhere, "Losers Weepers" is a smooth, midtempo number and the sparse "Summer Lover" builds to a climax with a staccato of female backup singers. The disc also features Memphis Horns saxman Andrew Love.
"Reality" (Basix 1995)
1. Times Like This
** It's telling that the best song here is an update of his smash "Taxi" ("Taxi '95") as Homer Banks, Lester Snell et al fail to deliver truly remarkable songs. If it wasn't for Blackfoot's chops there's be little to recommend about this record. Additionally the pop ambitions of the production strip much of the soul away. Things perk up on two funky cuts, "My Bed" and "Sweat" as the remainder are mediocre contemporary soul snoozers.
"This Christmas" (Basix 1997)
1. Christmas Tree
"Stealing Love" (Basix 1997)
1. You Can Make It
*** Memphis all star Thomas Bingham, who played and wrote with Willie Mitchell and Al Green during the Hi Records heyday, is on board to co-write 8 songs (with Blackfoot himself), produce, play guitar, arrange and mix. The steady rhythm on "You Can Make It" sets the tone on this fine modern soul album. "Be That Way Sometimes" percolates with a groove the Staple Singers would love. "You're Mouth Wrote A Check" is a top shelf Southern Soul headbobber and both "So Good" and "Stealing Love" turn up the heat for the ladies,
"Having An Affair" (Basix 1999)
1. Show Me
***This tight collection had hit potential all over it. Hard-hitting soul pop like "Show Me", "I'm Not Your Man" and "Put A Little Something Down On It" are all polished, catchy gems that should be saturating radio. Same goes for Rich Cason's terrific slow churning "I'm Having An Affair". Blackfoot's vocals are smokier than BBQ ribs on this cut. There's also some Zapp & Roger-style funk via "Let's Ball", a splendid take on Gregory Abbott's smash "Shake It Down" and Isaac Hayes & David Porter's "I'll Understand", which Blackfoot previously cut with the Soul Children.
"At His Best" (Basix 1999)
1. Better to Have and Not Need
***Haphazard song choices belie the title of this record. Compiled from Blackfoot's 1991-1997 Basix Records material "At His Best" contains correct choices like "Taxi '95", "Just One Lifetime", "Love-A-Holic" and "You're My Heartbeat". BUT there's several good songs missing ("My Bed", "Sweat") in place of lesser moments ("Until Then") and that renders this compilation inconsequential.
"Same Place Same Time" (Basix 2001)
1. Same Place, Same Time
**** Another likable showcase for Blackfoot's raspy soul stylings with songs from a cavalcade of writers, including Thomas Bingham, Larry Dodson and Quinn Golden. There's smooth contemporary soul (title cut, "Special Kind Of lady", "Love On The Phone"), slick urban dancers (Johnny Kemp's "Just Got Paid", Roger Troutman's "Your Man Is Home Tonight"), hard Albert King-like soul blues ("I Gotta Do What I Gotta Do"), Memphis soul ("Happy Blues"), make out music ("In My Bedroom") & more. He even improves upon Johnny Kemp's bouncy jam "Just Got Paid". Blackfoot can sing 'em all well but I'm still waiting for the knockout soul record he still has in him. This one's real close.
"It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" (JEA Music 2006,2007)
* the 2007 re-issue contains "I'm Just A Fool For You Pt. 2" with Sir Charles Jones and "Two Different People" with Ann Hines
1. It Ain't Over
till It's Over
***1/2 It took 5 years but the man with the raspy power in his throat is back to stake his claim. Actually he was back on the charts last year dueting with Archie Love on "Same Woman" (also appears here) but this is his first LP since 2001's "Same Place Same Time". First the good news: J. can still sang and the fabulous Bar Kays join in on the hyperfunky "If It Don't Make Dollars". Plus the title track, the first single, is vintage punchy, forceful J. Blackfoot R & B with a typically potent vocal. Now the bad news...actually there's no bad news. It's a pretty good record but far from a knockout. Part of the problem is too many generic ballads with that requisite, creepin' groove ("Man Made Over", "I'm Just A Fool For You" with Lenny Williams) and banal lyrics like "my head saying no but my heart won't let go/I'm just a fool for you/Yes, it's true". They all sound the same. Forget the pretty bedroom jams let's get J. doing some Deep Soul. Also, a little mo' of that bubblin' bass, flirty female backups and chang-a-lankin' guitar found on "If It Don't Make Dollars" would've been the ticket. "It Ain't Over" sounds great (produced by Larry Dodson) but is short on great songs. That said, welcome back J. (note: "It Ain't Over" was re-issued in 2007 with two extra tracks: "I'm Just A Fool For You Part 2", a duet with Sir Charles Jones and a duet with Ann Hines).
"Woof Woof Meow" (JEA Music 2009)
"Soles Of My Shoes" (Locobop 2009)
1. Longtime Comin' (feat. The Barkays)
"The Last Soul Singer" (Basix 2011)
digital only compilation
"The Very Best Of" (JEA Music 2012)
1. Taxi (Live in Selma, Alabama)