XII - The Vision
Hey!! B. Williams here. As some of you know, I've produced, performed, and done remixes on records for Vickie Winans, Jadakiss, Janet Jackson, Lin Rountree, Lalah Hathaway, Pharoahe Monch, L.J. Reynolds, Jay Electronica, Eric Roberson, Gene Dunlap and countless others.
While I have had the privilege to produce many successful songs for other artists, it’s time for me to debut my work as a Producer and Musician... to show the man behind the music, and the heart and soul that I pour into all of my productions and performances.
So... let me explain the vision a bit. I'm from Detroit. Motown!! Detroit has always been known for its great music (Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, Anita Baker, etc.), but it seems to me that people have forgotten that Detroit is a great city of music with some of the best musicians in the world.
What I'm intending to do is, be a catalyst for some of those great musicians. I've built a lot of relationships with "extablised" artists, and I want my fellow musicians to reap the benefits of that. So, as an example, if I have a song with Bernard Wright (Who Do You Love) on my album, and the supporting cast behind him are musicians from Detroit, they will absolutely get recognition, because they will sound great backing up a big "name." That is my goal -- to shine light on musicians in Detroit again.
Now of course, light will shine on me because I'm the producer of the record, but this is about my musician family and less about me. While I've been in the process of recording this album, I haven't thought one time about how much money I will make from it, or how famous I could potentially become. I just want the world to know that Detroit still ranks as one of the top cities in the world when it comes to music.
I want people to hear good music again, to demand more musical and artistic arrangements from mainstream artists… will you join me?
Some of the special guests on my album include:
Matt Cusson, Anesha Birchett, Frank McComb, Robert Glasper, Quamon Fowler, Denaun Porter, Bernard Wright, Geno Young, Don Blackman, Li'l John Roberts, Gerald Veasley, Karriem Riggins, Amp Fiddler, Larry Kimpel, Choklate, Derrick Hodge, Nicholas Payton, Marcus Baylor, Jean Baylor (formerly of Zhane)... and many others!!
Sending much love, peace and positive (((energy))) to you today and everyday..........Brandon 'B.' Williams’
Release Date: Monday December 8th 2014
1. The Hopkins Bros - Shake Cheri 2:29
2. Candi-Bars - You're The One 3:34
3. The Mansions - Stop, Let Your Heart Be Your Guide 4:59
4. Elbowed-Out - In The Book Of Guiness 4:53
5. Citation - We've Come A Long Way 4:57
6. Matural Impulse - She Went Away 4:37
7. Curt Darin - Two On A Cloud 3:27
8. Jesse JAmes - I Don't Want A Divided Love - 2:52
9. The Hopkins Bros - Kiss Of Fire 2:47
10. The Tret J's - We Got A Thing Going On 2:49
11. The Mansion - The Girl Next Door 4:09
12. Candi-Bars - I Believe In You 2:06
13. Citation - Inspiration Of My Life 2:29
14. The Trey J's - I Found It All In You 1:45
15. Oliver Cheatham - Good Guys Don't Make Good Lovers - 3:50
16. The Coalitions - Colour Me Blue 4:52
We Got A Sweet Thing Going On is a compilation album dedicated to the art of the harmony soul sound. A genre that was founded in the Doo-wop era of the 1950’s and embraced and continued by the generation that it influenced into the 1970’s.
Although often regarded as a genre performed by vocal groups we have used some poetic license by including three solo outings such as Curt Darin’s (a.k.a Curtis Gadson) mellifluous “Two On A Cloud” as well as two recent unissued gems from the late Oliver Cheatham “Good Guys Don’t Make Good Lovers” the flipside of his now deleted 2012 smash “Don’t Pop The Question (If You Can’t Take The Answer)”. Followed by Jesse James with his sublime “I Don’t Want A Divided Love”.
The group’s featured in this compilation begin with the highly desirable Hopkins Brothers northern/funk anthem “Shake Cheri“ accompanied by the previously unissued full length version of their Magnetik 45’s flipside “Kiss Of Fire”.
Seattle outfit Elbowed-Out are included with their “In The Book Of Guiness” a previously unissued sweet soul ballad that’s a complete contrast to their recently released uptempo, Soul Junction 70’s dance tracks. Moving down the Western Sea Board we also feature Richmond California’s “Natural Impulse” with their now timeless modern soul anthem “She Went Away”. Milwaukee is well represented by former prison group “The Mansion” featuring both sides of their illusive 45 “Stop, Let Your Heart Be Your Guide” and “The Girl Next Door” which they recorded (while still in incarcerated) for the independent Gibbs label. The other Brewtown outfit featured is the Candi-Bars with their crossover classic “I Believe In You” followed by their harmonious “You’re the One” which appeared on their own custom Candi-Stix label.
From the same Detroit production team that gave us the previously mentioned Curt Darin release, Probe 1Productions, we have included both sides of their Red Line release on vocal group The Citation “Inspiration Of My Life” and “We’ve Come A Long Way” the latter featuring a live audience.
Atlanta, Georgia duo The Trey J’s contribution is both sides of their solitary Tee Fletcher produced 45 release. The popular horn driven “I Found It All In You” and the more soulful ballad “We Got A Thing Going On”, the track which inspired the title for this compilation.
Last but not least featured is the Philadelphia outfit “The Coalitions” with the title track of their recently discovered “Colour Me Blue” album that had remained in the can since the late 1970s.
For further information please contact Soul Junction at:
Tel: +44 (0)121 602 8115 –
How To Sing Your Way Out Of Jail: The Charles L. Blakely Story
In 1969, a 20 year old Charles Lorenzo Blakely along with fellow members of the street gang he hung out with became involved in a shoot out with another rival Milwaukee street gang which resulted in the death of one of their rivals members.
Following the arrival of the Police, the shoot out developed into a high speed car chase with Charles being the driver of one of one of the evading vehicles. Charles’s vehicle was eventually brought to a halt when the Cops shot all four tyres out which caused the car to crash at 90mph into a department store called Schuster’s Warehouse. The other occupants of the vehicle managed to get away with the exception of Charles (who himself was packing a gun) being shot twice by the Cops in the back and shoulder as tried to vacate the vehicle as well as sporting a broken arm received in the crash.
Following his arrest and conviction he was sentenced to 30 years for ‘Attempted 1st Degree Murder’ (due to the shots being exchanged with the Police) and a consecutive 10 year sentence for ‘Eluding’ (evading) arrest in a high speed car chase. After a subsequent retrial Charles as the car driver was found not to have been directly involved in actually shooting at the Police, so the initial 30 year sentence was quashed. This left Charles to continue serving his other 10 year sentence at the high security Green Bay Reformatory in Allouez, Wisconsin.
At the time a common practice within the US Prison System was to encourage inmates who had shown some musical ability to channel their energy into performing as groups for their own and their inmate’s entertainment. Thus in 1970 Charles Blakely formed his first ensemble under the name of the Mansion, a name he chose after reading a book on English Stately Homes!
The Mansion’s line up included at different times Michael Locke, Stanley Newburn, Carl Anderson, John Crawford, Michael Smith, Larry Moses, Ronald Hardin, Jerome Wagner, Lewis Lister, Maurice Payne and Charles himself. One day while rehearsing in the prison chapel, The Mansion attracted the attention of the warden’s wife who happened to be showing some local dignitaries around. Impressed by what she heard the warden’s wife was instrumental in The Mansion being invited to perform for the city’s television station WBAY, where they recording two holiday programs.
The warden later gave them permission to perform outside the prison which brought them to the attention of a Milwaukee neighbourhood program adviser by the name of Al Dunlap of the Commando Project One. It was through Dunlap that The Mansion recorded their solitary 45 release in 1974 “The Girl Next Door /Stop! Let Your Heart Be Your Guide” for the local Milwaukee label Gibbs (406). The label’s owner Bill Gibbs held the release back until some of the members of The Mansion were granted their release papers, as Prisoners were unable to sign contract agreements while still incarcerated at that time.
Although Charles Blakely remained incarcerated, he was later moved to a medium security prison in Fox Lake County, Wisconsin. While there he formed a further group, a gospel ensemble called the ‘Bell Tones’ who’s line up included Charles, Mayweather Lee, Joe Hayes, and Levell Rudd. The formation of this group was seen as major factor in Charles’s rehabilitation which led to his eventual parole in late 1976, thus serving 7 years of his initial 10 year sentence.
The Final Chapter
James Taylor Charles (Sonny) Bryant Charles L. Blakely Van Kimble
Once on the outside Charles with former ‘Bell Tone” member Mayweather Lee were joined by Charles (Sonny) Bryant and Jimmy Taylor to form a new ensemble by the name of The “Final Chapter”. As the final Chapter in 1980 they recorded a solitary release for Milwaukee main man Marvel Love’s New World Label “Now I Know/Get Down For Your Action” (NW800), a brief association that for several reasons was to eventually break down. Although Jimmy Taylor left to pursue a career as a blues musician the remaining three members of the ‘Final Chapter’ continued to perform until they finally disbanded in 1987. Although recorded, further Final Chapter songs post to their new World release remained unissued, a situation soon to be rectified with their inclusion as part of a future Soul Junction project.
Charles himself is still active in the music business and is currently working on a gospel project. Following his parole in 1976 Charles has left his notorious past behind him and has stayed on the right side of the law with not even as much as a speeding ticket to his name to this day.
The Mansion Group Photo taken in the Prison Chapel during 1972
The group line-up as follows:
Back row Left to Right: Michael Locke- Ronald Hardin- Morris Payne- Charles Blakely
Front Row Left To Right: Carl Anderson- John Crawford.
Words By: David Welding
Acknowledgements to: Charles L. Blakely for the colourful interview and photographs.
Label scans courtesy of Mark (Butch) Dobson.
The above article is an extended version from the sleeve notes of the forthcoming Soul Junction CD album “We Got A Sweet Thing Going On” catalogue number SJCD 5009. Which will feature both sides of ‘The Mansion’ 45.
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings "Just Another Christmas Song"
Out November 18th!
100 copies with "Spruce Green" colored vinyl available as part of our Countdown to
100 colored vinyl series.
Though the postmodern lyrical tilt of this soulful romp into yuletide carols by Daptone heavyweights won’t be lost on our more discerning listener, the sincerity of the band’s delivery is unquestionably without irony. Somehow Jones is able to acknowledge the clichéd din of shopping mall christmas Muzac, and at the same time transcend it to tug gently upon that lone innocent heartstring which still clings to the magic of St. Nick’s Snowy Festivities. Perhaps it is “just another christmas song,” but with a groove like this it’s hard to say we don’t need it. On the flip, Saundra Williams (of rising Saun & Starr fame) has penned a playful little diddy. She shoulders up with her old friends Sharon and Starr to knock it out Andrews Sister style in an impromptu holiday session at the House of Soul. It’s a great holiday record for the whole family! (Saundra has sworn up and down repeatedly that any entendre in Big Bulbs was completely unintended.)
As the proud recipient of both, the 2014 MAC Award & 2013 Bistro Award, the Queens, NY native is a force to behold! With the uniquely soulful and melodic voice of an Angel, TANYA'S vocal abilities span different genres of music including Musical Theater, R&B, Pop,Gospel and Standards. TANYA has packed the house of the Iridium, the Metropolitan Room, Eighty Eight's & others numerous times! A talented songwriter/arranger, TANYA is a supporter of charities for HIV/AIDS & Cancer awareness! She's currently working on her duet show, with Robert Fowler (tba). TANYA is especially blessed and proudly embarking on her solo career, starting with the release of her beautiful New Single "I AM NOT BROKEN"! The single and video are receiving awesome reviews!!! "I AM NOT BROKEN" available on ITunes. Also. .listen out for Tanya Holt & Robert Fowler's duet "Happily ever after" on Lovebeams! Coming soon!
This heartthrob is known to have made a many swoon and hearts soar, with his silky smooth baritone voice and killer smile! It's no wonder why this Bronx native and handsome crooner has shared, stages with the likes of Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Holliday , Stephanie mills , Toni Braxton and the Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV).. (Just to name a few)! Robert's no stranger to the airwaves! He's had earlier successes with his silky smooth rendition of "Everything In My Life" of which he Co - wrote! Robert's ecstatic to be gracing the stages once again, with his soon to be released New songs"Out in the rain" & "Help is on the way" & "Duet with Tanya Holt "Happily ever after" from the "Lovebeams" upcoming release "Unbroken". Robert's has graced the Broadway stages in shows like "the Producers", "Beauty and the beast" & "Dreamgirls"..just to name a few.
Lost Soul Gems
November 04, 2014
Gems Records has compiled 11 of the greatest soul songs you've never heard for
'Lost Soul Gems.' The label famous for defining R&B/Soul's
"Philadelphia Sound" in the 1970s presents a truly timeless
collection decades in the making.
11 tracks are being made available as digital singles for the first time ever.
two brightest "gems" are the previously-unreleased tracks by
chart-topper William DeVaughn, but forgotten hits by Ebb Tide, The Charmetts,
and Tommy McGee make for an album to be enjoyed by soul fans young and old.
Gems Records founder Frank Fioravanti says, "Hit songs are hard to write, but when an intensely
emotiotional story enters your mind with a extremely catchy hook that simply
comes from heaven, you have a chance. It's an era where singles rule, so it takes a
very special album to compete. 'Lost Soul Gems' is that album."
1. Asia Luckey
2. Ebb Tide
3. Senjay Luckey
4. William DeVaughn
6. Al Brown Rhythm Band
7. Tommy McGee
8. The Charmetts
9. William DeVaughn
10. Crystal Motion
Follow Sound Gems Records on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SGRaliah.
Pre-order 'Lost Soul Gems' at
We are delighted to offer our first limited edition 7 " vinyl record .
In 1978 Wilson Williams recorded the album , ' Up The Downstairs ' in Detroit , Michigan .
Ten tracks that dripped with soul perfection. A modern soul masterpiece of uptempo, mid tempo ,crossover , and ballads. This album has a soulful delivery of the highest standard.Unfortunately , ' Up The Downstairs ' never gained the commercial success it thoroughly deserved .Today the album has become hideously elusive for soul collectors worldwide.
CratesOfSoul Records are pleased to offer two sumptuous mid tempo soulful tracks of equal calibre from the album.Re- mastered to suit a D J friendly 7 " vinyl format , ' I Think It ' s Gonna Work Out Fine ' backed with the soulful ' I Like Being In Love With You ' . This 45 won't be around long.
Preston Shannon was originally from Olive Branch, Mississippi. At the age of 8 he moved with his family to Memphis, Tennessee where his initial fascination with the genre of blues music began. During the 1970’s while working for a Hardware company he joined a band called Amnesty. Preston later ditched the day job to become a full time musician, securing a gig as the opening act for Shirley “Woman To Woman” Brown’s touring band.
In 1991 Preston formed his own band and it was while performing in the Rum Boogie Cafe on Memphis’s world famous Beale Street that he was discovered by producer Ron Levy, who was instrumental in securing Preston a recording deal with the Rounder Record label.
Three album releases followed on Rounder’s Bullseye Blues subsidiary label, firstly “Breaking The Ice” (1994) followed by Midnight In Memphis (1996) and “All In Time (1999) both recorded under the tutelage of Willie “Pops” Mitchell at his renowned Royal Studios on
Lauderdale Street, Memphis.
Following a move to the Title Tunes label in 2006 Preston released the “Be With Me Tonight” album featuring a subtle blend of southern soul and electric blues. It is the title track “Be With Me Tonight” a sublime southern soul ballad that has been chosen for the b-side of this 45 release.
While the A-side “The Way I Love You” a more energetic southern soul dance track has been taken from Preston’s most recent album project “Dust My Broom” which he recorded for the Netherlands based Continental Record Services label. This version of Preston’s “The “Way I Love You” features excellent musical accompaniment from one of the Netherlands most respected blues ensembles ‘Fat Harry &The Fuzzy Licks’.
Nowadays Preston is a regular performer at B.B. Kings Blues Club in Memphis, while he also appeared at this year’s Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport Iowa.
Gene Washington & The Ironsides $4.99
Don't Throw Your Love Away 7" Single
Some sweet, sweet SOUL from the bay area's own Gene Washington & The Ironsides. The A-side just kills, but don't sleep on the B-side, a TSU Tornadoes cover!
"An affluent singer, composer and songwriter, Soulful R&B crooner Victery Tutson
also known as VT is a veteranin the Atlanta music scene"
Originally from Detroit Michigan, this multi-talented artist is a music industry triple threat.With production skills he is able to run with the most established and talented producers & songwriting.
VT’s abilities are Grammy worthy, and he’s blessed with silky vocals that are often compared to the legendary Luther Vandross, VT is an R&B force to be reckoned with. However, with his velvet vocals, smooth persona, and heart stopping lyrics, VT is set apart from the rest. With a very successful run of his self promoted first album "One Bad Habit", VT took his act across the country and sold more than 3000 CDs in Chicago, Detroit, California and Arizona. Opening for a variety of different artist such as The Legendary Delphonics, Wayman Tisdale, and D12, just to name a few, VT’s fans believe he is very seasoned when it comes to gracing the stage.
In the summer of 2000 he joined Jam Tam Entertainment as a producer, songwriter, and singer. Now in 2006 his new album entitled “Lets Do It Tonight”, with 13 blazing tracks, is a Grammy nomination in the making. VT put his heart and soul into this project and is sure to win the hearts of everyone who is lucky enough to pick up a copy. Getting exposure every which way he can, VT has performed songs from this album all over the Atlanta area and even had a cameo on a major film Meet The Browns and local Atlanta soap opera called "A-Town East".
VT is one artist you doesn’t want to sleep on. So, look out for one of the hottest singers in the new millennium. A Soul aficionado, Victery, is compelled to create great recordings with innovative sounds inspired by Luther Vandross, Will Downing and Donny Hathaway and many other soulful crooner recording artists from back in the day.
Victery’s sounds are very unique and are continuing to blaze a path of its own......
Singer, songwriter and producer Dionne Kirby (professionally known as Dionne), is a contemporary soul-singing recording artist, whose songwriting skills caught the attention of Billboard, with her first EP release “Living In The Music”. Dionne has performed in various major cities throughout the U. S. including: New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta and has graced the stage with respected entertainers in the industry, such as Jennifer Holliday, Jillian Michaels, Tanya Blount and Niecy Nash. With her upcoming new album being released independently, Dionne will captivate audiences with her signature melodic vibrations and uplifting lyrical content.
A native of Dallas, TX, Dionne attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (also known as Arts Magnet), where former incomparable alums, singer Norah Jones and Erykah Badu attended. An avid writer, she earned the Editor-in-Chief role at Arts Magnet, where she was chosen for studio recordings with the acclaimed Dallas Black Dance Theater. Her classical training and vocal technique made her one of the sought-after upperclassmen at her school, where she acquired her first professional gig as a background singer, which steered her in the direction to perform at the prestigious Fairmount Hotel’s Venetian Room and invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall with her high school choir.
After graduating high school, Dionne attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, majoring in English and Education. Although she was an astute academic student, her desire to pursue her love for music increased. Following graduating from Lincoln University with her Bachelor’s degree, Dionne received opportunities to sing background for gospel star LaShun Pace and was lead vocalist for The Odyssey Big Band, singing jazz arrangements of Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole and Norah Jones. For Dionne, music is the essence of her being as she states, “I wake up every morning singing—whether I’m excited, furious, confused or whatever else I might feel. There is music in my head, coming out of me all of the time.” Along with following her passion in music, Dionne has worked extensively with young girls as the Deputy Director of an arts and academics program in Washington D.C.; to help young girls with their self-image, leadership skills and sense of purpose. She was also a teacher for many years working in the Baltimore area. Her musical pursuits have helped catapult her to continue her educational outreach in helping young girls to follow their dreams whether in music or academics.
Dionne’s gift is the ability to express thoughtful themes in simple yet poetic terms. In 2010, she developed her own publishing company, Lyrics First Music to help fulfill her gift of songwriting. “The words and thoughts you share are very important, especially the way they are received by young people. Whether I’m 53 or 93 – writing for myself or someone else – lyrics as a priority is never going to change for me,” expressed by the songstress. Also in the same year she was signed by BLG Music Group’s 111 East Records, where her EP “Living In The Music” was released and debuted #1 on Amazon’s soul charts. The EP received consistent radio rotation on more than 20 radio and internet stations in both the U.S. and International markets. Her sound was recognized by those in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. In 2011, she was recognized in the Washington D.C. tri-state area by former founder and CEO of Uptown Records, Andre Harrell, for his soul superstar search, where she was a finalist in the competition.
She also was a finalist the same year as well in the Budweiser’s Opening Act competition in Philadelphia. Both competitions helped catapult her career in the music industry.
Currently, Dionne is in preparation for the release of her highly anticipated new album entitled Helium, which in relevance means expanding the possibilities – as this is the focal point for creating this album. As she states, “That’s what this project is doing for me personally and musically. It pushed me to extend myself. My first project was an experiment of being ‘unrealistic’ and ‘living in the music’ that brought surprising dividends. With Helium, I’m maneuvering this musical hot air balloon to all the places I want to go, and also trusting it to guide in concert with the Universe.” Her lead single from the album is “Swim Around”, which describes her resolution when faced with life’s greatest challenges. “I hope it inspires people to see their challenges and move through them,” says Dionne. Helium features notable producers: Ty Macklin (India Arie, Noel Gourdin and Erykah Badu), Maurice “MoDigga” Randolph (Raheem DeVaughn and Cheryl Pepsii Riley), Tony Ballard (CommonFolk, Rickey Smiley Show Theme), Ahmed Sirour (Eric Roberson and DJ Spinna) and David P. Stevens (Frank McComb, Gerald Albright and Carol Riddick). Musicians featured on this album include: King Robinson, Jr. (on drums), Kevin Arthur (on bass), Drew Zaremba (on saxophone), Michael Campagna (on trumpet), Alan K. Green (percussion) and Allen Cato (on guitar). Helium will be released June 27, 2014, and will be available on Amazon and iTunes.