Like everything on Memphis Slim's album Goin' Back to Tennessee or Alvin Youngblood Hart's "Tallacatcha" (a Western swing performance worthy of Bob Wills), Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's 1975 Barclay album Down South in the Bayou Country completely transcends any and all attempts to confine this diverse artist within the artificial parameters of blues or any other preordained category. Consisting mostly of songs written by Hoyt Garrick, Jr., Charles Gressett, and David Craig with additional tunes by J. Loyd and Joe Stampley, this pretty parfait of country & western, Southern rock, cowboy hoedown, and electric Cajun soul music was recorded during February and March 1974 in Bogalusa, LA. Gatemouth, fresh from his tenure as Deputy Sheriff of San Juan County, NM, sounds particularly pleased to be active at the center of a project so completely infused with authentic Southern sensibilities. Perhaps the most satisfying track off of the original album is "Loup Garou." This hoodoo funk ritual with background vocals by Geraldine "Sister Gerry" Richard sounds as if it might have been influenced by Dr. John's "Loop Garoo," which had appeared on that artist's Atco album Remedies in 1970.
These two late-'60s albums were released at the peak of Joe South's commercial success and visibility, coinciding with his hits "Games People Play" (which appears on 1968's Introspect) and "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" (which is on 1969's Don't It Make You Want to Go Home?). This Raven reissue combines both records onto one CD, with the addition of the way-cool psychedelic soul outing "Hole in Your Soul" (from the Games People Play album) as a bonus track.
This classic recording has a beautiful balance of African aesthetics meet American soul, jazz, funk, rock and pop. The songs have a vintage sound that could only have been made by a South African playing American music in 1971. Along these lines, the album cover is the perfect visual representation of the music. While having a 1970's sound, "Hugh Masekela & the Union of South Africa" is by no means outdated, nor will it ever. The disc has an enjoyable mix of slow ballads, township infused instrumentals and fast funk. The song writing is superb, the musical improvisation is good and the voices soar.
Gold by The Beautiful South is the third greatest hits album to be released by the band. It is similar in design to other "Gold" albums released by bands either currently or previously of various labels under the Universal Music Group. The album is a 2 disc collection of both single and album tracks taken from the first 8 of the bands back catalogue. It was released without the band's consent and had zero input from the band.
As music director for Dave Koz and keyboardist for such icons as Teena Marie and Janet Jackson, Brian Simpson has earned a stellar reputation for his funky grooves and brilliant melodies. He is a nominee for the 2010 American Smooth Jazz Awards Keyboardist of the Year and, as music director of the Smooth Jazz Cruise, appears before thousands of fans as he performs with such greats as Smokey Robinson, Dave Sanborn, Boney James and many more! As the buildup for the release of South Beach continues, Brian will be featured on the Smooth Jazz Top 20 countdown which reaches over 50 major markets. In addition, a national tour is being booked in support of the release. Brian will be featured on the Dave Koz radio broadcast and will be the featured performer at the American Smooth Jazz Awards Show in October. Highlights include the smash hit radio single "South Beach," a slammin' duet with groovemaster George Duke on "Fire Sign" plus the exquisite "Summer Song," featuring the acoustic guitar of Peter White.