Category Archives: Blues & Soul

Looking Back at sixties blues and soul hit “Being Without You” by Maurice Williams

They had a huge hit with “Stay” Just a little bit longer, but Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs recorded several cool soul songs during the 50s and 60s.  The last few days a listened to a uptempo song called “Being Without You”.  

Performing under different names

Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs performed under several names. Back in the day a whole lot of musicians did it.  I alway guess the reason behind it.  Williams and the Zodiacs started as the (Royal) Charms, the band changed its name to the Gladiolas in 1957 and the Excellos in 1958, before finally settling on the Zodiacs in 1959.

Hit single  “Being Without You”

“Being Without You” was recorded on a vinyl 7″ single in the US in June 1966. The up-tempo rhythms, swinging horns, and tight lyrics make songs enjoyable for many hours.  I also like the fact “Being Without You” is completely different than “stay” which is remarkable for the slow but intense rhythm and vocals.

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Soul Filled Rhythm and Gospel how we Like It Most! Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost’

You may call him the new voice of Soul. His voice digs deep through your veins and his live performance is a show to remember. Do You get the feeling I’m describing: Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost brings beautiful soul filled rhythm and blues, added with funk and gospel to your house, bar or festival.

His grandfather played piano in juke joints for the legends including B.B. King, Albert King, and Louis Jordan. Rev Sekou, together with his band is continuing the legacy or -family-tradition- of his grandfather.

The Band Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost

Writer, producer and lead vocalist Rev. Sekou is a third-generation Pentecostal preacher and long-time organizer, author, and activist, grounded in the traditions of liberation theology. Beside him stands the Arkansas Delta Blues Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jay-Marie Hill (she/they) is a Black y Boricua genderQueer activist, teacher, and renegade born and raised in the Oakland Bay Area.

Next, you have Jay-Marie who works to deconstruct, liberate and recreate possibility through work at the intersections of youth, Black art, and radical activism. This band brings much more than jest very good songs. They all have a mission and extend it among other things through their music.

Debut Album release in 2016: “The Revolution Has Come”

Well, now we got to the point of their music; their debut album “The Revolution has Come” was released in January 2016. They describe their sound as: “The sound of Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost is a symphony of gospel, blues, soul, funk and freedom songs laced with sanctified blues and lyrics that range from religious to risqué”, and that pretty much includes their sound well.

Rev. Sekou – Resist – 5/5/2017 – Paste Studios, New York, NY

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SEE: The Speakeasy Three: “When I Get Low, I Get High”

These ladies from England are influenced by the sound and style of female legends like: The Andrews Sisters, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Josephine Baker, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf.

Video: “When I Get Low, I Get High” The Speakeasy Three

A few years ago they released their video of “When I Get Low, I Get High. Now the video has been viewed over four and a half million times. The historical setting and the intriguing vocals really are inspiring.  Follow the Speakeasy Three here.

Prepare to swing, sway, sizzle and swoon! The Speakeasy Three are rolling out their show-stopping, room-swinging, after dark agenda for your delight.

Photo credit: Screen from video “when I get Low. I get High. The speakeasy three

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Albert King’s album The Big Blues – “Had You Told It Like It Was

Albert King’s album The Big Blues – “Had You Told It Like It Was

The Big Blues Album by Albert King was originally released by King Records in 1962. On this album you’ll find a whole lot of great songs, like “I get Evil” or “This Morning”, but my favorite is “Had You Told It Like It Was”.

Debut album: The Big Blues

Most songs are composed by Albert King himself. The Big Blues was his first album and the only one before he signed with Stax Records, where he would record most albums in his career.

Had You Told it Like It Was

“Had You Told It Like It Was”, is a highly grooving song remarkable for the relaxing vocals and the laid back speech of Albert King. I never heard someone telling so relaxed that his girl was yelling at him, but Albert King does it easily! The backing vocals bring the context of this song so damn nice in place.

Photo By Grant Gouldon [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

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Ina Forsman covering Bill Broonzy’s Sixteen Tons


Ina Forsman covering Bill Broonzy’s Sixteen Tons

Ina Forsman from Helsinki, Finland caught my attention with her version of  Merle Travis and Big Bill Broonzy’s Sixteen Tons. Big Bill’s version of the song has always been a true soul-blues classic to me. Now Ina showed us how to deliver it.

With a similar easy as Big Bill she nails this song. Ina Forsman is a highly technical singer and blows out the speakers with that Burnt Honey voice.

Debut Album Ina Forsman

She had been around for a while and you might have seen her on the blues stages off Europe. She represented Finland at the 2014 European Blues Challenge. this year she released her self-titled debut album, and tours with the Ruf Records Blues Caravan 2016 with fellow singers Layla Zoe (Canada), Tasha Taylor (USA).

Sounds like: Claire Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes | Amy Winehouse | Etta James

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Unique voice in the Blues: singer Little Miss Cornshucks

Unique voice in the Blues: singer Little Miss Cornshucks

She was a talented performer of Jump Blues, Rhythm and Blues and Soul ballads in the ‘after hours blues’ nightclubs from Los Angeles to Harlem. She also enjoyed a long stay as a singer in the famous Chicago club DeLisa. With her unique soulful voice Little Miss Cornchucks is an big influence in blues history.

Loneliest Gal In Town Album

This afternoon I was searching through the Chess records discography and discovered besides a whole lot of fantastic musicians Little Miss Cornshucks’ album LP-1453 – “The Loneliest Gal in Town”. When she recorded this album for Chess Records in 1961 she already had a long career behind her as a performer in Nightclubs and recording for several labels. She met Atlantic records owner Ahmet Ertegun in the late forties before he started his label and she blew him away.

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Bay Area soul and blues by The Monophonics

Bay Area soul and blues by The Monophonics

The San Fransisco Bay Area is home to some great blues and folk musicians. Like Jesse Fuller  who wrote his hit song “San Fransisco Bay Blues” and K.C. Douglas wit his hit ” Mercury Blues”. In line with the heritage of Fuller and Douglas as Bay Area citizen you will also like Soul and Blues inspired band Monophonics who deliver some of the finest modern soul and blues around the world.

Since the Monophonics started in 2005 they have released several  albums. Two of those albums are avialable on bandcamp Into The Infrasounds, released in September 2010 and  Sound of Sinning in April 2015. Listen to it here..

Monophonics Influences

If you listen to this San Francisco based band you’ll hear multiple genres, styles and grooves. You could see them as a big cocktail with liquor from  great soul acts like Al Green and Little Johnny Taylor. On the other hand the  psychedelic sound of the 60’s and 70’s. Bands such as The Zombies, The Beatles, Beach Boys and Pink Floyd.

“Can’t leave it Alone”  is a song that fits perfect in the repertoire of Dr. John, this groovy New Orleans like blues song swings as hell and kicks of with some great harmonica. On the other hand you will find songs like ” Sound of Sinning” in the Monophonics repertoire, which contain soulfull vocals and deep melodies.

Sounds Like:  | Memphis Soul | Vintage Trouble | Dirty Gentleman | Little Johnny Taylor | Johnny Adams

Photo Credit: By Kevingoesrawr (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
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