Congratulations, L.C.!

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It’s not often you get to congratulate someone on the release of an album that’s been held up for fifty years.

But that is the case with 81-year-old L.C. Cooke’s Complete SAR Recordings (plus three). Originally scheduled to come out in 1964, it was initially postponed – and then, with Sam’s death, shelved – until its release

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Guest Blogger Mr C on The Five Royales

The “5” Royales were always at the heart of the discography of my book, Sweet Soul Music. As one of their album titles proclaimed, their music represented “the roots of soul.” Long before the internet made it possible to have the world at your fingertips, Joe and I discussed such matters long into the night. There was never any question in our minds that the “5” Royales should have been one of the first groups inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame – if there were any justice (if James Brown had truly ruled the world, as it seemed for a while he might), they would have been voted in by acclamation. It wasn’t so much the vast influence of their performances and compositions, for which Joe makes so eloquent a case, as the striking originality, the still-startling “presentness” of their music. But let Joe tell you about it – and then just give yourself over to the music. (But don’t forget “The Slummer the Slum,” and “It’s Hard But It’s Fair,” and “Monkey Hips and Rice,” and…oh, once you start, you’re never going to stop.

— PG

Mr C:

"Soul and Swagger" is a bold and declarative title for the new Rockbeat five-CD set, The Complete “5” Royales (1951-67).  It’s also cool and entirely appropriate.  Soul and Swagger is pink-tinged and packaged in a user-friendly, 45-sleeve-size bound book, a design model used in the

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Pictures from Life’s Other Side

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Ever since attending the “Celebration for Young Americans,” Lee Atwater’s Rhythm and Blues Presidential Ball, in 1989, I have been meaning to write about it. I kept extensive notes at the time (I mean, it was such an amazing experience!), and I always thought I would include it, under the title “My Adventures Among the Republicans,” in the anthology I’m still planning to

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