Given The Right Support, Sneezy’s Latest LP Could Open A Lot Of Doors For The Group

Courtesy: Color Red

Independent soul/funk group Sneezy released its latest album early last month in the form of Open Doors.  The band’s third album, the 14-song presentation is a breath of fresh air among this year’s new albums and independent albums.  Over the course of its 41-minute run time, the record’s featured arrangements make that clear.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content (and that are just as accessible as said content) makes for its own share of appeal.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing ties in with the album’s musical arrangements to make for yet more engagement and entertainment.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album an enjoyable new offering from Sneezy that is well worth hearing.

Open Doors is a record that given the right support, could open new doors for the currently independent soul/funk group.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question blend the best elements of old and new school R&B, soul, and funk from one song to the next o give listeners a fully enjoyable experience from beginning to end.  Right from the album’s outset in ‘Vibez,’ the group exhibits influence of The Four Tops in its original, unique, catchy composition.  The use of the horns, keyboards and even some rapping join to give the song that unique identity.  From there, the group goes the reggae route in ‘Not Sorry,’ the album’s second song.  What is so interesting here is that while the reggae influence is there, the keyboards give the song a touch of a disco influence.  ‘A Little Bit Better’ changes things up somewhat with a more modern R&B vibe.  That alongside the more rock oriented guitar line gives this song its own unique touch, too.  On yet another note, ‘Crème Brulee,’ which comes just before the record’s midpoint, lends itself to works from the likes of Jamiroquai.  Just as much of note is the late entry, ‘Battles.’  This song’s arrangement, with its subtle horns and keyboard alongside the equally controlled vocals, lends itself to comparison to certain works from the likes of D’Angelo.  Yes, this critic went there.  It is that slow jam style work.  Between this song, the others noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the record’s musical content forms a solid foundation for this record and reason enough for audiences to hear the record.  It is just part of what makes the album stand out.  The record’s lyrical content works alongside its musical counterpart to make the album even more appealing.

The lyrical content featured in Open Doors is important to note because it is just as accessible as the album’s musical content.  The short and simple of the record’s lyrical content is that it focuses on relationships and on general positive outlooks on life.  The optimistic outlook on life is presented right from the album’s outset in ‘Vibez’ while also incorporating in the noted elements of a relationship.  The group sings here of having “a good feeling” while mentioning a woman and just being positive in general.  ‘A Minute Past’ also takes on that topic of relationships.  In the case of this song, it would seem that this song centers more on a broken relationship, despite the positive vibes exhibited through the song’s arrangement.  ‘Pieces of a Puzzled Heart,’ meanwhile, is yet another example of that accessible theme of relationships.  In this case, the song seems to hint at a relationship at its infancy.  It is just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content proves itself so accessible.  When this and so much else noted here is considered with everything else in the album, the overall lyrical content leaves no doubt that the record’s lyrical content will appeal just as much to audiences as the album’s musical content.

Taking into account the impact of the overall content featured in Open Doors, it clearly gives audiences reason enough to hear the album.  It is just a part of what makes the album stand out.  The sequencing of that content brings the content together and completes the record’s presentation.  From beginning to end, the album’s sequencing keeps the record moving fluidly.  The energy keeps flowing from one song to the next, and with the longest song coming in at only three minutes, 34 second, that is relatively easy even when the record gets relaxed.  The record’s sequencing ensures that listeners will remain fully engaged and entertained throughout.  The general effect is that it leaves audiences wanting more in the best way possible as they will not even realize the album has ended until moments after it has ended.  Considering this and the impact of the content itself, the whole makes Open Doors a surefire  hit for any soul, funk and R&B fan.

Sneezy’s latest album, Open Doors is a work that will appeal widely among soul, funk and R&B.  That is proven easily throughout the course of the record.  Its musical arrangements in themselves do well to support the noted statements.  They bring together the best vintage and modern influences of said genres so fluidly from one song to the next and within the songs themselves.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content is just as accessible as the record’s musical content.  It will connect with audiences just as easily, thus ensuring listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment even more.  The sequencing of that collective content puts the finishing touch to the presentation, completing the whole and making the record even more appealing.  The time and thought that went into the sequencing will leave audiences not even realizing the album has ended when it ends until after the fact.  To that end, it leaves audiences wanting for more in the best way possible.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of Open Doors.  All things considered, they make this record a work that given the right support, could finally open a lot of doors for Sneezy.

Open Doors is available now through Color Red.  More information on the album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:




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‘The Blurred Odyssey’ Is A “Clear” Success For The Sh-Booms

Courtesy: Limited Fanfare Records

Independent neo-soul/funk outfit The Sh-Booms is gearing up for a new short North American tour run.  The two-week tour, which features a performance in Carrboro, N.C. on May 31, is in support of the band’s debut album The Blurred Odyssey.  The 10-song record was released March 22 through independent record label Limited Fanfare.  It came a little more than three years after the band released its debut EP Usage Fee.  Whether counted as a follow-up to that record or by itself as the band’s first full-length studio recording, the 38-minute record proves to be an impressive new offering from the Orlando, Fla-based band.  The record’s soulful midway point that is ‘Late Night Lover’ is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Dry Eyes,’ which immediately follows ‘Late Night Lover’ in the album’s sequence, is another of the record’s most notable entries.  It will be addressed a little bit later.  ‘Drop ‘Em Dead,’ which comes even later in the album’s run, is yet another of the record’s most notable additions.  It will also be addressed later.  When it is considered alongside ‘Dry Eyes,’ ‘Late Night Lover’ and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the LP becomes a work that is easily one more of this year’s top new independent albums.

The Sh-Booms’ debut full-length studio recording The Blurred Odyssey is a work that very much paints a clear picture of the band’s future.  It is a record that, with the right support, can potentially make the band just as popular as similar acts, such as Alabama Shakes, Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.  One of the songs featured in the 38-minute record that serves to support that statement comes halfway through the album in the form of ‘Late Night Lover.’  The song’s musical arrangement is a rich, soulful composition whose horns, guitars and drums couple with vocalist Brenda Radney’s vocals to create a work that lends itself to comparisons to works from Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin.  It is a work that will certainly be a favorite for couples everywhere.  That is especially the case considering the song’s lyrical content.

The lyrical content of ‘Late Night Lover’ is clear to say the least.  Radney sings in the song’s lead verse, “Late night lover, what you doing to me/As I hold you close/I feel your heart skip a beat/Late night lover/How we doin’ on time/You’re under cover, catchin’ hearts on your line/All the time/It’s 10 til 2, and I’m watching the tube/I hear a knock at the door/And it’s gotta be you/You remove your vest from your chest/That’s my cue to undress and now it’s time to caress.”  She goes on to sing about feeling heat and feeling certain other physical sensations at this point.  She adds in the song’s second verse, “Now the smoke’s all clear/And you’re still here/And I think to myself/Am I a dwindling tear/But before you go/You must know/There’s something about your love/Makes my desires grow.”  Again, there is little to no doubt as to what the song’s subject is saying here.  This is one of those old-school works that is a romance song that focuses…well…on being with that someone late at night in the most intimate way.  The work of Radney’s band mates on their respective parts does an expert job of helping to illustrate the very strong emotions felt during those late night moments, too.  Credit where due, their work, coupled with Radney’s own powerhouse vocal delivery and her equally obvious story to create a song in this case that is one of the album’s highest points.  It is just one of the works that exemplifies the overall strength of The Blurred Odyssey.  ‘Dry Eyes,’ which immediately follows ‘Late Night Lover’ in the album’s sequence, is another of the record’s most notable works.

‘Dry Eyes,’ like ‘Late Night Lover,’ stands out in part because of its upbeat musical arrangement.  The arrangement — complete with horns and drums — throws back to the Motown sounds of days long ago.  There are hints in this arrangement, of The Temptations, The Four Tops and other similar acts that are certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  The firm foundation formed by the song’s old school arrangement is just part of what makes the song stand out.  Its equally accessible lyrical content, which once again focuses on the familiar topic of love found, is just as certain as the song’s arrangement to find wide appeal.

Radney sings in the song’s lead verse, “Oh boy, this happy Sunday/Left at home/to dry my eyes/I fell…on Friday/When his eyes/They met mine/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/Well as I met mine/And we danced all night/He left me home/To dry my eyes.”  She adds in the song’s second verse, “I woke up to tequila sunrise/Next his hands were up my thighs/I woke up feeling a bottle/But he was gone to my surprise/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said a fool can’t be true/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/As his eyes met mine/And we danced all night/He gave me hope /To dry my eyes.  This is a celebratory statement.  It is someone who has found that special other person after having been down for such a long time, and is simply exploding (metaphorically speaking) with happiness.  That is illustrated so well by the song’s equally celebratory arrangement, which boasts so much fire and energy.  When the two elements are coupled, they create a whole in this case that is without argument another example of what makes The Blurred Odyssey a clear success for The Sh-Booms.  It is just one more of the many songs that can be cited to support that statement, too.  ‘Drop ‘Em Dead’ is one more example of what makes the album in whole stand out.

Where ‘Late Night Lover’ and ‘Dry Eyes’ boast a clearly old-school R&B influence, ‘Drop ‘Em Dead’ lends itself to comparisons to works from famed guitarist Dick Dale, who is listed on the group’s official Facebook page as one of its influences, along with Aretha Franklin and other famed acts.  What’s really interesting here is that the band took that Dick Dale influence and coupled it with its R&B influences to make a whole that stands out (and quite well at that) on its own merits.  The whole in itself, is more than enough evidence of what makes the song stand out among the album’s 10 total entries.  Of course one would be remiss to ignore the song’s lyrical content in examining the song along with the song’s musical content.

The song’s lyrical content The lyrics are slightly difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference.  However, from what can be deciphered, it can be inferred that this song, lyrically, is a loud, proud statement of self-confidence.  Radney seems to sing something to the effect of “You got the story/I got the truth/I am the rubber/You are the glue…I’m gonna put up a fight” in the song’s lead verse.  There is little else to the song in terms of lyrics.  From that point on, listeners get repeated refrains of “I’m gonna drop ‘em dead” throughout the remainder of the song.  It would seem that from that single verse and the repeated refrains, that this song is lyrically a work that is one of those musical middle fingers to naysayers as a refusal to give in and give up.  It is certain to become one a fan favorite.  When it is considered alongside ‘Dry Eyes’ and ‘Late Night Lover,’ this trio of songs in itself more than shows what makes The Blurred Odyssey a strong new offering from The Sh-Booms.  When they are considered along with the seven remaining songs that make up the rest of the album, the whole of the record becomes an LP that is a clear success for the band.  It is available now.  More information on The Blurred Odyssey is available online along with The Sh-Booms’ tour schedule, news and more at:










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ABKCO Records To Re-Issue Classic Rolling Stones Song This Summer

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

Today, May 12th, is an important date in the modern history of music.

Fifty years ago today, Mick Jagger and his band mates in The Rolling Stones first recorded the band’s hit single ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.’ While not the band’s first ever single, it was the first of the band’s singles to go #1 in the United States when it made its debut in June of 1965. In celebration of the anniversary ABKCO Records announced Monday that it will release a special edition of the single on vinyl this summer.

ABKCO Records announced Monday that it will release ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ as a special 12” limited edition vinyl single on Friday, July 10th on 180-gram vinyl. The A-side will feature the final single known to all audiences. Fans on both sides of the Atlantic will be happy to know that this special edition re-issue will also feature as its B-sides the songs ‘The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man’ and ‘The Spider and the Fly.’ The songs in question were its original U.S. and U.K. B-sides respectively. Their appearance here marks the first time ever that they have been presented together on one record. Audiences that might not be so familiar with either single will be interested to learn of the prior of the two singles that its history is rooted in the band’s experience with London Records employee George Sherlock. As the story goes, the band wasn’t entirely enamored with Sherlock. The band allegedly saw him as someone that was just another music industry yes man decked out in a seersucker suit and toupee. The song indirectly makes him the target lyrically as it makes commentary about music industry insiders unnecessarily involving themselves in the creation of bands’ songs. It was loosely based on Buster Brown’s hit single ‘Fannie Mae.’ It wasn’t used in the UK as record executives with DECCA felt that British audiences wouldn’t get the numerous American references throughout the song. That led to Decca opting for ‘The Spider and the Fly’ being used as the B-side for ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ in the UK.

The single’s cover features a picture of the band taken by award-winning photographer David Bailey. It is the same cover art used in the original single’s release. Carl Rowatti re-mastered the single at Trutone Mastering Labs from the song’s original mono tapes for its upcoming 45 rpm 12-inch release.

‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ was originally released as a single by London Records in the U.S. on June 6th, 1965. It reached the #1 spot on Record World’s charts not long after on July 3rd. By July 10th, the single had hit the top spot at Billboard and Cashbox pushing The Byrds’ ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and The Four Tops’ ‘I Can’t Help Myself.’ It held the top spot on Record World’s Charts and for four at Billboard and Cashbox respectively. By July 19th of that year, it had gone on to become the band’s first ever single to be certified gold by the RIAA. It would go on to be released August 20th in the UK on DECCA Records and would become the band’s fourth #1 single overseas.

Many audiences might find interesting that both the song’s title and main guitar line were developed by guitarist Keith Richards. And the song that audiences have come to love to this day is not the song’s original take. The original take of the song was recorded at Chess in Chicago on May 10th, 1965 before being tossed. The take that went on to become the final product was recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA on May 12th. Even more interesting to note of the song is that Richards’ guitar line was originally going to be performed by a horn section instead of guitar. However producer/manager Andrew Loog Oldham and engineer David Hassinger opted for Richards’ guitar instead, leading to the now famed line that audiences know today as one of the most famous in music history. Despite popular belief, the song’s lyrical content does not only make reference to sexual frustration but to a dislike for all of the consumerist messages out there. The icing on the cake of the song’s story is that only two people were against publishing the single—Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The upcoming re-issue of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ will be pressed in a limited quantity of 10,000 numbered copies in North America and will be released fifty years to the day that the song was originally released. It can be pre-ordered now via Amazon at More information on this and other releases from ABKCO Records is available online at:




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Liquid Pleasure Plays Penultimate Alive At Five Concert

Courtesy: Lisa Rueh. Downtown Morehead Revitalization Association/Tom Kies

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C.–The Downtown Morehead City Revitalization Association (DMCRA) is winding down its annual Alive at Five concert series. The penultimate concert in this year’s series is next Friday, August 3rd from 5pm until 8pm. Headlining next week’s second to last concert in the series will be Liquid Pleasure. Liquid Pleasure has been performing for over two decades. The band has performed with the likes of Hootie and The Blowfish, R.E.M., Chuck Berry, Eddie Floyd and Ben E. King, Whitney Houston, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and even Aretha Franklin. The band has even had the honor of performing at President Bill Clinton’s Inauguration Ball and for President George W. Bush, as well as a variety of sports teams and corporations. Liquid Pleasure’s repetoire inlcudes beach music, rock, Top 40, Motown, and more. More information on Liquid Pleasure is available online at

After next Friday’s concert, only one concert will remain in the city’s annual Alive at Five concert series. The Spare Change Band will close out the series on Friday, August 31st. The Alive at Five concert series is sponsored by R.A. Jeffrey’s and Bud Light, Twice The Ice and Potash Corp. of Aurora. It is hosted by the DMCRA. For more information on the Downtown Morehead City Revitalization Association and its events, go online to or call 808-0440.

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