Friday, 17 November 2017 09:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSoul drummer BILLY "STIX" NICKS died on Wednesday, 15th November after a short illness. Nicks, who was a long time member of Junior Walker's All Stars and a regular Motown player, was aged 82.

Born in Greenwood, Missouri in 1934, the Nicks family relocated to South Bend, Indiana in 1943 and at school Billy taught himself drums... taking his sticks everywhere with him; hence the nickname. His first band was The Blue Notes who later morphed into Billy "Stix" Nicks and the Rhythm Rockers. The sax player in that band was a certain Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. who music fans know and love as Junior Walker. The call from Uncle Sam meant the end of the Rhythm Rockers but after leaving the army Billy eventually reconnected with Walker when he joined the sax man's All Stars in 1965. The drummer went on to work other Motown notables, including The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

After Motown moved to the West Coast and worked started to dry up, Nicks set up home back in South Bend where he became a respected drum teacher with an honorary music teaching post at the University of Notre Dame. In recent years he fronted his own band Billy "Stix" Nicks & the Motown Machine, playing clubs and festivals throughout the local area.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2017 09:39



Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:46 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altPAUL STUART DAVIES is a young British singer with a passion for vintage Northern soul. Earlier this year he fronted a band called The Northern Soul Survivors on a revival of 'Do I Love You Indeed I Do' (the rest of the band, by the way, were Tommy Hunt, Dean Parrish, Sidney Barnes, Pat Lewis and Chris Clark!). Then under his own name, Paul issued 'Tomorrow's Love' – a song he recorded in Detroit with a couple of original Vandellas, soulstress Pat Lewis, Northern icon Tobi Legend and the great Kim Weston!

For his latest single Paul has enlisted more soul legends to assist. The backing vocals on Paul's 'Baby, It's Yours' are supplied by the current line-up of the Fantastic Four and between them they brew up a proper, authentic sounding Northern storm. The B side is the equally pleasing 'That's The Truth' –which might remind Northern veterans of The Marvellettes' 'I'll Keep Holding On' . (Paul and The Four are pictured on the sleeve, above and below)

The two songs are available on 7" vinyl and need investigating by anyone who really cares about Northern soul... they're as authentic as anything you're likely to get right now. Find out more @


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017 17:19



Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:44 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOver the last few years the lovely LINDSEY WEBSTER has created a name for herself via two acclaimed soulful, laid back albums – 'Back To Your Heart' and 'You Change'. Now Ms W makes a pitch at the Christmas market with a well-timed 'It's Gonna Snow At Christmas'. Taking inspiration from Nat King Cole's version of 'The Christmas Song', Lindsey and husband and keyboardist, Keith Slattery penned and produced the new song themselves and they've sure succeeded in capturing the holiday mood of Christmas classics like 'The Christmas Song' (though I do know some listeners have compared the melody of 'It's Gonna Snow At Christmas' to 'Ain't Misbehavin' and/or 'Makin' Whoopee!').

Anyway, you can make up your own minds as 'It's Gonna Snow At Christmas' wins release on Shanachie and becomes available via your favourite download portal.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:55


S.E. L newie....

Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:37 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altUK soul artist, Soulful Emma Louise - S.E.L. – impressed all and sundry with her last outing 'Flowered Tears'. Indeed the track became something of a modern soul anthem –winning itself a coveted place on the legendary, annual 'Soul Togetherness' compilation.

For her follow-up, Emma Louise offers something quite different as she covers Des'ree's 'You Gotta Be'. Don't know about you, but here at SJF we've always though the song rather dreary and in her original tweak S.E.L. doesn't really manage to alter that melancholy!

The good news is that young S.E.L. has commissioned two special mixes from DJ Spen who had also worked on 'Flowered Tears'. In his "SEL soul" mix he creates a more soulful ambience with tighter beats and a clearer direction while on the "Gotta" mix we enter soulful house territory. File under "interesting".

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:56



Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altJENNIFER SARAN is an American pop/adult, singer/songwriter who now works out of Hong Kong and in normal circumstances we probably wouldn't feature her here in the august pages of SOULANDJAZZANDFUNK. However, her latest album, 'Soulful Christmas' is worth checking for a number of reasons. First, it was produced and arranged by Narada Michael Walden (it was recorded in his Tarpan studios); second, the main backing vocals are provided by our old friend Cornell CC Carter; and third, the album features a guest appearance from the mighty TEMPTATIONS!

The Emperors of Soul duet with Jennifer on the album opener 'Christmas Lover' and it's a seasonal, soulful stunner. Temptations' main man Otis Williams opens proceedings with a brief but spine-tingling spoken intro before the rest of the band (chiefly Ron Tyson) duet with Ms Saran. The harmonies, as you'd expect, are impeccable and Otis offers another monologue midway, building to a harmonic finale. In the absence of any new material from the Temptations, this is a Christmas must have!

Elsewhere on the 17 tracker, Jennifer offers her versions of Christmas favourites alongside a selection of her own songs. Standout, though, is the Temptations-featured 'Christmas Lover'.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:43


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