Jordan Valentine and the Sunday Saints
Jordan Valentine grew up in her parents’ restaurant kitchen, raised on her Great Grandma’s Alabama soul food recipes and her Mom’s love of Motown. She had her first gig at the age of 14, fronting a 20 piece jazz band featuring Wynton Marsalis; she’s since served as singer and occasional poker collateral for bands all over the country, most recently fronting Boston’s World’s Greatest Sinners. She won 2 WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll honors as Best R&B Act and was nominated for a Boston Music Award in 2007.
Her Sunday Saints represent the very best in R&B sidemen, having individually backed up a stunning cadre of R&B greats including Eddie Floyd, Roy Orbison, The Marvellettes, and more. Their drum-tight, sharp dressed soul review aptly reflects Valentine’s lifelong passion for the rhythm and blues music of the Delta, from Stax to Bourbon Street and every whistle stop in between. As the Boston Phoenix wrote, “Valentine… is a veteran of the Bucket of Blood circuit, where five or six sets of hard entertainment is what keeps bikers and other bar beasts from peeling each others’ skins off, and a good singer needs to be able to hold and bend a note in a firestorm of sound–just like she does.” The Saints’ show is part revivalist meeting, part Saturday night sin, and all soul satisfaction
The Sunday Saints’ first album is in stores now and Cultures of Soul is proud to be issuing their first 7 inch coming out in November.
Barbara Lynn Ozen or as she is known to soul enthusists around the world, Barbara Lynn, has been making music since she the early 60s and continues to this day. Although she’s had hits such as “You’ll Lose A good Thing” on Atlantic Records, I feel her best material was on the Tribe label. Here she recorded her seminal track “I’m A Good Woman” that still rings out edgey and fresh and easily fetches $100 on ebay in mint condition.
After sometime out of the spotlight she returned in late 80s to record the great comeback album You Don’t Have To Go on the Ichiban label. Since then she has received Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999 and had her material sampled by Moby on his 19 album.
Cultures of Soul Records is reissuing together for the first time ever on 45,
Barbara Lynn’s “I’m A Good Woman” and “I Don’t Want A Playboy.” Both tracks are in-demand 45s in their own right on ebay. “I’m A Good Woman” is a soul classic filled with drama while “I Don’t Want A Playboy” is a midtempo stomper with a chunky guitar groove. The 45 is limited 1,000 copies and is out now.
Original Black Sheep of the Family
Formed in the late seventies in West Medford, MA, the Original Black Sheep of the Family was the second incarnation of the Black Sheep of the Family, best known for putting out the funky single “In the Forest.” The group disbanded shortly after “In the Forest” was recorded. The mastermind behind the group, Bili Sparrow pulled a new team of musicians together to create the next phase of the Black Sheep. Now called the Original Black Sheep of the Family, the group included some support from the Sassa Brass, a Spanish horn section with no saxophones. The lead singer of the group was now Mike “Hollywood” Haywood. The band started playing live shows and bringing a dance party atmosphere to audiences across Boston.
Before the group had a chance to record a tragedy occurred when Mike Haywood was killed by a commuter train. Local Boston keyboard legend Lord Manuel joined the group briefly to bring his unique synth sounds to compensate for the lose of the Sassa Brass. Lord Manuel was even making his own synthesizers. The band was performing a lot of dance orientated music but with their own style attached to it. A sound that mixed drummer Dennis Bell’s “chick boom chick boom” rock drum style with Sparrow’s party vibe lyrics, disco funk guitar lines, Bruce Nayz’s tight groove filled basslines, and Manuel’s acid tinged synth licks.
After playing covers at live shows the group was jamming one night and the discofied funk bomb “Do You Wanna Dance” was created. Bili provided the lyrics which described the groups mantra of “We want you to dance to our music and to dig our sounds.” With lyrics like “I know where to send ya , I’m the prisoner of lenders,” expresses the sentiment of the Studio 54 era where a good time out on the dancefloor was not cheap. The live party experience of a Black Sheep performance was different and not exclusively for those with deep pockets. Acid rock groups like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix were thrown into the mix as well. Hendrix was primarily the main influence of Bili Sparrow, many of whom crowned him the Jimi Hendrix of Boston at the time. Lord Manuel shortly after left the group and the Black Sheep were left without a keyboard player again.
This time Bili filled the void. Richard Busbie also joined the group as rhythm guitarist and co-songwriter. Sessions started at the Baker Street Studios in Watertown, MA and out of this came the serene modern soul track “Heaven Must Have Made You Girl” with the music written by Busbie and sensual lyrics written by Bili. Sparrow said the song was about “meeting the most gorgeous girl in the world and in your mind she’s like heaven. And also thinking about what you would do to make her yours. Being a better person and not sinning.” The groove was kind of a throw back to “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb. Bili and many members of the group are still around the Boston scene today and performing. Both of the tracks have been unreleased and in storage until the fall of 2010. At this time our very own Deano Sounds, working in cooperation with Sparrow selected these two tracks for release amongst miles of tape. Look out for the official first release of the 7 inch containing both tracks in May of 2010.