December 2019

The Soul Show’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Published December 28, 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.

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

The Soul Show’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Published December 28, 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.
  • Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her, since she never gets close.

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

Otis Redding performed in Cleveland the night before his death 52 years ago. TSS co-founder Don Patterson and Leo Green, singer of the band that opened for Otis that night, offered personal experiences surrounding that day in 1967. The Soul Show's interview archives are presented here: 

https://soulshowmike.org/2019/12/16/soulblog-soulshowmikes-shows-of-note-otis-redding-reflections-by-don-patterson-and-leo-green/

(A photo fr the 2018 Apollo tribute) On this 52nd anniv of Redding's death, we present personal stories about the CLE show hrs before the tragedy. One is from Don Patterson (TSS cofounder), the other from Leo Green, whose Imperial Wonders opened for Otis. Join us. The Soul Show on WYEP: The Robert "Kool" Bell interview

 

We've done it before, and it's always a lot of fun so we're doing another A to Z Week next week. All week long from 12/16 through 12/20, WYEP will be playing our music alphabetically by song title.

We're going to start with David Bowie's "Absolute Beginners" (appropriate!) on Monday at 6 AM and continue through Friday at 6 PM when we will end with "Zombie" by The Cranberries.

We're not playing our entire library alphabetically, though. We have around 20,000 albums in our library, so that would take almost two straight years of continuous 24/7 airplay to plow through our entire library alphabetically!

Here are a couple of answers to some questions you might have about A to Z Week:

 

Q: Are you playing the music alphabetically around the clock during A to Z Week?

No, we're starting the alphabetical songs at a 6 AM each day, and ending at different time throughout the week: 9 PM on Monday, 10 PM on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, and at 6 PM on Friday.

 

Q: Do you allow cover songs during the A to Z Week?

Yes! However, only one version of any one song. So while we might play, say, Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower," we wouldn't also play Bob Dylan's original version. Otherwise, they would alphabetically come right next to each other and we don't want to play the same song twice in a row (great as they both are).

 

Q: Hey, I just heard a song with a title that begins with "The" in a different part of the alphabet! What gives?

We're using traditional alphabetization rules. You know, the way books are filed in public libraries. All song titles beginning with the words "A," "An," and "The" get those words dropped from the title. Numbers are sorted as if they are words. Titles that begin with non-alphanumeric characters (like a parenthesis or an apostrophe) are sorted as though that character was not there.

 

Q: Is there any date/year range or cut-off for songs included?

Nope. The songs we're playing this year during A to Z Week span from a 1956 Elvis Presley hit through to this year. (Actually, we have a couple of holiday-themed songs that might pre-date 1956, but no spoilers!)

Also, the songs are not limited by style (there will be rock, folk, soul, blues, reggae, and more) nor geography (we'll have songs by Pittsburgh artists all the way to performers from Belgium, Ireland, and Sweden).


If you have any other questions, feel free to send 'em my way at [email protected] And enjoy A to Z Week!

~~Mike Sauter, WYEP Station Manager