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Thursday, 18 December 2014 19:31 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

darrellThere's no doubt about it, DARRELL BANKS' 'Open The Door To Your Heart' is a mighty fine soul record. The Ohio born singer recorded the song in 1966 for Revilot Records and 'Open The Door To Your Heart' became an instant classic (though oddly, the song's original title and under which it's copyrighted is 'Baby Walk Right In'). Produced by Don Davis and in part written by Donnie Elbert, the song was a massive US hit and it was all set to win a UK release on the Decca subsidiary, London Records.... when thing got murky.

The record was never officially released on London but it was always thought that some copies were pressed up. Up till now, though, no copies have ever surfaced. Its believed that all the London singles were destroyed when EMI eventually won the licensing rights to the record. Now, however, one copy of the London issue of 'Open The Door To Your Heart' has materialised.

It seems the "mythical" single is owned by someone who worked for Decca in the mid 60s and he's now putting it up for sale by on line auction.... and if you have a spare £10,000 to spare you might want to make a bid. Collectors and dealers, though, are predicting that it will fetch much more ... maybe even more than the £25,000 someone paid for a copy of Frank Wilson's 'Do I Love You' in 2009.



Thursday, 18 December 2014 18:56 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

rene_obit_11283770_ver1.0_640_480Sometime Stax soulstress WENDY RENE died on Tuesday 16th December. The singer, who was 67, died after a stroke.

Ms Rene was born Mary Frierson in Memphis in 1947 and as a child sang at the Church Of God Christ. In her teens she formed a vocal group – the Drapels – with her brother Johnny and friends Marion Brittenum and Wilbur Mondie. Living and working in Memphis, they auditioned for Stax and the group were offered a contract... and on the strength of her writing, Mary was given a solo deal.

She was originally given the stage name Wendy Storm, but Memphis folklore has it that Otis Redding suggested Wendy Rene and it was under that name that she recorded the edgy ballad 'After Laughter (Comes Tears)' with the rest of the Drapels in support. Released in summer '64, the song was a local hit. Stax archivists suggest that the Drapels , disgruntled by Wendy's name being out front on the disc, disbanded soon after.

Wendy's follow up was 'Bar-B-Q' – a novelty dance tune that was unsuccessful but she stayed at Stax and featured in their touring reviews and often sang BVs in the studio. Scheduled to fly with Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays to a gig in December '67, she pulled out at the last minute, saying she needed to be with her young baby. Sadly, of course, that flight crashed in Madison, killing Redding and six others.

Ms Rene retired from music soon afterwards and as Mary Cross (her husband was Stax employee, James Cross) she occasionally sang gospel in and around Memphis, though in 2010 she did appear in a soul review in New Orleans.

Several of her old songs a have been used in movies and commercials and various hip hop artists have sampled her repertoire – notably the Wu Tang Clan on their 'Tears'.


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 19:02



Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:30 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

DangeloEnigmatic neo-soul auteur D'ANGELO (real name Michael Archer) has kept a low profile for over a decade but has now finally released his third album, 'Black Messiah,' which is out now via RCA/Sony Music. The long-awaited follow-up to 2000's 'Voodoo,' the album features twelve freshly-minted tracks and is credited to D'ANGELO & THE VANGUARD.

D'Angelo rose to fame with his hit debut album, 'Brown Sugar,' in 1995, a groundbreaking set that established a stylistic template for what would be dubbed 'neo-soul.'

So, has 'Black Messiah' been worth the wait? Find out soon when SJF will give its verdict...





Tuesday, 16 December 2014 22:02 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

YOU_KNOW_HOW_TO_LOVE_ME_Remix_Artwork_BASHIYRASeasoned session singer BASHIYRA debuted in 2009 with her solo album 'Thought You Knew' and a month or two back she won more friends with her sparkling single 'Just Can't Be Wrong'. Produced by Herb Middleton for his Nu Vybe label, the song quickly became a modern soul fave – especially in its wonderful Soul Talk remix.

The single has just been officially released and the good news is that its B side is a fab new version of dear Phyllis Hyman's 'You Know How To Love Me'. Herb Middleton has given the wonderful song a sparkling new arrangement and Bashiyra does it proud and it all augers well for the lady's up-coming Spring album.

If you're in London, Bashiyra plays the Jazz Café Tuesday Dec 23rd - as part of the DIVA's night – which also features NATASHA WATTS and TIMOTHA LANAE.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 22:09



Monday, 15 December 2014 20:40 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

nivaFancy a different kind of Christmas tune ... something a little different to the usual turkeys and hoary old chestnuts then check out 'Gee Wiz It's Christmas' from NIVA THE SOUL DIVA.

Niva hails from Houston, Texas and won acclaim earlier this year with her single 'Numb' – which tackled the controversial topic of domestic violence.

This new Christmas song is a whole lot less complicated... just a simple celebration of the season and what's more its available via soundlcoud as free download

Find out more @

Last Updated on Monday, 15 December 2014 20:45




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