soulBlog: The Soul Show’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Every year this work is both coveted and dreaded, the former because it demands a review of the year’s really great music, the latter because of the required demotion of candidates. One thing that changed for The Soul Show in 2019 is that WYEP’s rule of listing the albums sequentially was not imposed. In truth, slicing and dicing with such granularity sometimes bordered on whimsy.

If you compare my playlists with the Top Ten selections, you might not see the correlations you expect. Sequencing of shows requires managing of ebb and flow, equity of representation, and other factors. Some albums were discovered late, but deeper review revealed true gems that simply had not been given adequate airtime.

And so on…..

Final thoughts:

  • Female rappers (Little Simz et al) truly came into their own in 2019.
  • Charles, Olatuja and Sessoms are all songbirds.
  • BFE is a perennial contender. Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her.
  • Brittany Howard was a very late album discovery, but the early single had me expecting a lot. I wasn’t disappointed
  • Pittsburgh’s Starship Mantis hit the big league, and it’s so sad that they are dissolving.
  • How can one not include the Daughters? They are a synergistic powerhouse of craft, and that’s before the songs hit you.
  • Saadiq brings pain to beautiful West Coast styling, or the other way around.
  • Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her, since she never gets close.
  • BFE is always in the mix.

The List, alphabetically:

  • Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Stay Good
  • Tanika Charles – The Gumption
  • G&D – Black Love & War (Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime)
  • Brittany Howard – Jaime
  • Little Simz – Grey Area
  • Alicia Olatuja – Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women
  • Our Native Daughters – Songs of Our Native Daughters (Amythyst Kiah, Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Leyla McCalla)
  • Raphael Saadiq – Jimmy Lee
  • Vivian Sessoms – Life II
  • Starship Mantis – Black Hole Radio AM/FM

soulBlog: soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for the holiday week, On-demand Black’n’Brown Christmas music, Otis Redding and Robert “Kool” Bell specials on The Soul Show

Shows of Note

  • Howie Alexander Trio at Con Alma, 12/23
  • JazzLive at Backstage Bar, 12/24
  • A Taste Of Soul at Genuine Pub, 12/24
  • Calvin Stemley & Stemtecs Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/26
  • Roger Humphries at Con Alma, 12/27
  • Jazz Night at Parkway Theater, 12/27
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/28
  • Live Music Saturday at Backstage Bar, 12/28
  • The Holiday Hangover Jazz Show at Wooley Bully’s Juke-joint, 12/28
  • Artistree at Crafthouse, 12/28

Christmas Music for Folks of Color

Here is the archive of The Soul Show’s 12/21/19 Annual Christmas Special, including the Robert “Kool” Bell continued interview:

and a 100% Christmas Mix, aired on The Soul Show on WTJX on 12/21/19


and here is 12/14/19 edition of The Soul Show on WYEP, including Otis Redding reflections by folks who were connected with his final performance. Also, this episode airs the first segment of a three-part interview with Robert “Kool” Bell, in this the 50th year of The Gang’s existence.


The Robert “Kool” Bell interview

If you’d like to hear the interview segments separately from the actual TSS episodes, here are all three segments for your convenience.

Kool interview, Part 1 – ORIGINS
Kool interview, Part 2 – FIRST ALBUM THROUGH 1975
Kool interview, Part 3 – THE “JT” ERA

soulBlog: soulshowmike’s Shows of Note, Otis Redding reflections by Don Patterson and Leo Green

Shows of Note

  • Howie Alexander Trio at Con Alma, 12/16
  • Sembene Film Festival – Eddie Jefferson Film Documentary at City of Asylum, 12/16 +++++highly recommended+++++
  • JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, 12/17
  • Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge, 12/17
  • “A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, 12/17
  • Spirit Sessions: Live Open Mic & Stage: Kelsey Hillock at Spirit, 12/18
  • Roger Humphries Quintet Thursday Residency at Con Alma, 12/19
  • Up Close and Personal: Winter Chill Jazz Series (#1 of 4) at The PA Market, 12/19
  • The Flow Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/19
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/21
  • Live Music Saturdays at Backstage Bar, 12/21

and on the horizon, …

  • 4th Thursday with Calvin Stemley & the Stemtecs Band at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 12/26
  • The Holiday Hangover Jazz Show at Wooley Bullys Juke-joint, 12/28
  • Spirit NYE 2020, 12/31
  • New Years Eve with The Clock Reads, Shaq Nicholson & Afro N’at at Salem’s Event Center, 12/31
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant & Sullivan Fortner at MCGJazz, 1/21/20
  • Soulive, February 2020

Otis Redding reflections

On the 52nd anniversary week of Redding’s death, The Soul Show presented personal stories about the Cleveland show hours before the tragedy. One is from Don Patterson (TSS cofounder), the other from Leo Green, whose Imperial Wonders opened for Otis. Here are the interview excerpts from the 12/14/19 episode:

Don Patterson
Leo Green

soulBlog: Shows of Note updates and reminders; The Soul Show’s December preview (Kool, Little Richard, Top Ten reviews)

Shows of Note coming up real soon


The Soul Show on WYEP this weekend

Over the next few weekends, TSS will feature a Robert “Kool” Bell interview, the Top Ten Albums of 2019, and the Christmas Special. On 12/7, get ready for a Little Richard birthday. Also, Lou Rawls and Barbara Weathers of Atlantic Starr. We’ll dig into the Prince “Originals” album some more, and continue to review music in the Top Ten “primaries”.

soulBlog: First Night Events of Note

I just got back from the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2020 Announcement event at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Here are some items for your radar:

  • Sierra Sellers at August Wilson Cultural Center
  • The Zuzu African Acrobats at August Wilson Cultural Center
  • AAMI Jazz Ensemble at Dollar Bank Stage
  • Feralcat at Dollar Bank Stage
  • Hugo Cruz and Caminos at Greer Cabaret Theater
  • Tania Grubbs at Fairmont Pittsburgh

More later!