Violinist and vocalist, Sudan Archives writes, plays, and produces her own music. Drawing inspiration from Sudanese fiddlers, she is self-taught on the violin, and her unique songs also fold in elements of R&B, and experimental electronic music.
Sudan Archives grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she “messed around with instruments in the house” and took up violin in the fourth grade, eventually teaching herself how to play the instrument by ear. When she discovered the violin playing style of Northeast Africa, her eyes opened to the possibilities of the instrument. “The way they played it was different from classical music. I resonated with the style, and I was like, ‘Maybe I can use this style with electronic music,'” she says.
This fusing of folk music and electronic production was the turning point for Sudan. “I started mixing my violin into beats,” she says, “It wasn’t complicated — I’d just sing straight into the iPad.” She honed her at-home style after moving to Los Angeles aged 19 to study music technology, and after a chance encounter at a Low End Theory party with Stones Throw A&R and Leaving Records owner Matthewdavid, she signed with Stones Throw. At the very start of her musical career, she’s already won plaudits from the likes of the New York Times and Pitchfork, and played live at experimental festival Moogfest.
Her EP Sudan Archives is an extraordinary debut statement from a singular artist. Over six tracks, Sudan Archives layers harmonies, violin figures and ethereal vocals, grounding them all with the hip-hop beats.
Banny Price made his living as a singer/guitarist in and around Shreveport, Louisiana where he was born. Although nothing was released, his first recording sessions were for Myra Smith’s local Ram records in the early 60s.
In 1963/4 Price went to the famous Robin Hood Brians Studios, just across the border into Tyler, TX for a recording session under producer Ken Demary. The tracks Price cut included the fine deep soul track “There Goes The Girl” and the exciting horn led instrumental “Monkey See – Monkey Do” which has become a firm favourite with R & B dancers all over the world. These tracks were first issued as Jewel 733 by Stan Lewis, the main music man in Shreveport, in October 1964. And although the 45 sank without trace, it didn’t stop Price making another trip to Tyler, TX this time with Dale “Suzie-Q” Hawkins. The top side of Jewel 749, which appeared the following year, was a version of the B B King song “You Know I Love You” but the flip, “You Love Me Pretty Baby” is the track that everybody wants to own. This is a rousing piece of minor keyed R&B with Price’s guitar showing some excellent Otis Rush styled licks and his tough vocals hitting just the right spot.
Edwin Leon Chamblee (24 February 1920 – 1 May 1999), known as Eddie “Long Gone” Chamblee, was an American tenor and alto saxophonist, and occasional vocalist, who played jazz and R&B.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in Chicago where he began learning the saxophone at the age of 12. After leaving Wendell Phillips High School, he studied law at Chicago State University, playing in clubs in the evenings and at weekends. He played in US Army bands between 1941 and 1946. After leaving the army, he joined Miracle Records. He played on Sonny Thompson’s hit record “Long Gone” in 1948, and on its follow-up, “Late Freight”, credited to the Sonny Thompson Quintet featuring Eddie Chamblee. Both records reached no. 1 on the national Billboard R&B chart. Two follow-up records, “Blue Dreams” and “Back Street”, also made the R&B chart in 1949.
From 1947, he led his own band in Chicago clubs, as well as continuing to record with Thompson and on other sessions in Chicago, including The Four Blazes’ no. 1 R&B hit “Mary Jo” in 1952. In 1954 he joined Lionel Hampton’s band for two years, touring in Europe, before returning to lead his own group in Chicago. He accompanied both Amos Milburn and Lowell Fulson on some of their recordings, and then worked as accompanist to Dinah Washington on many of her successful recordings in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The two performed vocal duets in a style similar to that later adopted by Washington with Brook Benton, and were briefly married; he was her fifth husband. Chamblee also recorded for the Mercury and EmArcy labels, and with his own group in the early 1960s for the Roulette and Prestige labels.
In the 1970s he rejoined Hampton for tours of Europe, where he also played with Milt Buckner, and he recorded for the French Black & Blue label. He also performed with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1982, and from the 1980s until his death with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, as well as in clubs in New York City.
He died in New York in 1999 at the age of 79.
Derek Martin was born in Detroit in 1938, and like many early R&B and soul singers, he got his start in gospel. His professional break came early when he was hired at the age of 17 to sing with Duke Ellington. In the early ’50s Martin joined the singing group the Pearls along with fellow singer Howard Guyton and pianist Dave Clowney (who would find success in 1959 with the novelty hit “The Happy Organ” as Dave “Baby” Cortez), and the group released its first single (as the Five Pearls) in 1954 and also recorded as Howie & the Sapphires, releasing a single under that name in 1959 for OKeh Records. Eventually the group changed its name to the Top Notes and recorded for several imprints, including Tuba, Sue, and Roulette as well as putting out a single 45 for Stax, the enduring “Soul Power”/”Sly Girl.” The Top Notes also released the original version of “Twist & Shout” in 1961 as the B-side to “Always Late” for Atlantic Records, and it was the Top Notes’ version that formed the template, albeit amped up, for the Isley Brothers’ later hit rendition of the song. Martin launched his solo career in 1963 with a successful cover of Otis Blackwell’s “Daddy Rolling Stone” on Crackerjack Records, and just missed hitting the Top 20 pop and R&B charts with the single “You Better Go.” For several years now, Martin has made his home in France, where he is rightfully lauded as a master soul singer, having earned the nickname “the Golden Voice.” EMI collected his Roulette releases for 2007’s Take Me Like I Am: The Roulette Recordings.
October 27, 2015 by BOB BOILEN
At first, I couldn’t pull my attention away from irrepressible singer Kam Franklin, whose down-to-earth but uplifting presence put a huge smile on my face. But as The Suffers’ set progressed, I became increasingly enchanted with the band, which was part Archie Bell & The Drells and part James Brown, with a touch of New Orleans and even Jamaican reggae.
It was a perfect mix of power and delicacy, as the band held back at moments only to steamroll me when my guard was down. The group has only two EPs, with an album on the way, and trust me: 2016 will be The Suffers’ year. Look for the band on far bigger stages soon enough.
The Chakachas were a Belgian based group of Latin soul studio musicians. Also known as Les Chakachas or Los Chakachas, they were formed by bandleader Gaston Bogaert, ex-Los Juano Boengs and The Continentals, percussion (conga and tumba); Tito Puente’s singer wife Kari Kenton, vocals and maracas; Vic Ingeveldt (a Dutchman from Liege), saxophone; Charlie Lots, trumpet; Christian Marc, piano; Henri Breyre, guitar and backing vocals; and Bill Raymond, bass guitar. All were native to Schaarbeek (a district of Brussels), or nearby Charleroi, Willebroek and Liege.
They started out in the late 1950s, and had a Belgian #1 in 1958 with “Eso es el amor”, which was sung in Spanish. In 1959 they recorded “Rebecca” (a.k.a. “Rebekka”), featured in the film The Battle of Algiers. In 1962, they crept into the UK Singles Chart for the first time with “Twist Twist”, which reached #48. Although they issued numerous recordings, they are best remembered as a one-hit wonder for their hit disco single “Jungle Fever” from 1971,which sold over one million copies in the United States, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1972. It also reached #8 in the US Billboard Hot 100. In the UK it fared less well: despite some airplay soon after release it was later pulled from airplay by the BBC, which took exception to the song’s moaning and heavy breathing. It peaked at #29.
September 6, 2016 by RACHEL HORN •
When we invited William Bell to the Tiny Desk, we looked forward to witnessing part of a veteran soul hitmaker’s journey back to the spotlight. Bell is known for writing and performing several of the R&B classics that emerged from Memphis’ Stax Records in the 1960s, “You Don’t Miss Your Water” and “Everybody Loves A Winner” among them. After decades away from Stax — and away from sizable record labels entirely — he returned to his old label home earlier this year to release This Is Where I Live. So we were ready to be won over by Bell’s rich, expressive voice and bandleader’s charm; we were prepared for emotionally dense songs that say a lot in only a few words. We just didn’t expect so much yellow.
Bell, who’s 77 and now makes his home in Atlanta, worked suavely through two new songs from This Is Where I Live. The title track follows an autobiographical structure common among soul singers of a certain age (see: Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Aaron Neville). It narrates the story of Bell’s life in specific detail, from the first time he heard Sam Cooke to the memorable hotel stay when he wrote “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” the song that “took [him] all around the world.” And “The Three Of Me” is a love song of measured regret, typical of earlier Bell ballads but for its patina of time-worn wisdom.
To close his performance, Bell led the Total Package Band through one of the most enduring songs he’s written: the blues standard “Born Under A Bad Sign,” which has been covered by folks like Cream and Koko Taylor since Albert King first recorded it in 1967. When Bell’s co-writer on the song, Booker T. Jones, played it at the Tiny Desk in 2011, his solo organ work lent the tune an appropriately eerie cast. For Bell and company, though, “Bad Sign” became a joyous, communal celebration. Nearly every member of the 12-piece band took a chorus before settling into an energetic vamp, their leader’s grin as bright as his band’s T-shirts.