Albums

$7.49

R&B - Released January 1, 1973 | Polydor

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$8.99

R&B - Released January 1, 1966 | Polydor

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
To truly experience the magic and soul of James Brown, one must do so in a live setting. Running constantly on all cylinders, the Godfather of Soul's infectious grooves and potent performances are elevated to a whole other level few others can dream of reaching. It's a Man's Man's Man's World captures one of those impassioned performances from the later stages of Brown's career, and finds him still in fine form. All of the classics are represented in this session, including an over the top version of the album's title track. While the performances are stellar and the quality of the record palatable, this is by no means an essential release except for die-hard Brown collectors and fans. Casual listeners should turn their attention to the groundbreaking Live at the Apollo series for a full-on orientation to the man and his magic bag of soul. ~ Rob Theakston
$7.49

R&B - Released January 1, 1961 | Polydor

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$11.49

R&B - Released May 8, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$11.49

R&B - Released January 1, 2011 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Although it should have been issued the previous year and Imperial Records even had a catalog designation reserved for the project (LP-9275), Irma Thomas' second long-player for the label also turned out to be her last. The vocalists professional relationship with songwriter/producer Allen Toussaint had been established several years earlier on the R&B hit "It's Raining." Here, he supplies a third of the disc's material beginning with the optimistic and stylishly orchestrated "Take a Look" -- giving the album both its title track and opening selection. The upbeat and sassy "Teasing, But Your Pleasing" is another Toussaint-penned tune and exemplifies the symbiosis between the artist and composer as the catchy melody and Thomas' carefree delivery are a custom fit. That certainly isn't to imply that she has lost any of her emotive capacity, as she so aptly demonstrates throughout the effort, and nowhere more so than "I Haven't Got Time to Cry," or Jerry Ragavoy's "You Don't Miss a Good Thing (Until It's Gone)" -- arguably William Bell's blueprint for "You Don't Miss Your Water." Thomas resonates a similar sensitivity on "It's Starting to Get to Me Now" sounding like a Dionne Warwick protégé thanks to the Burt Bacharach-like chord progressions and writing style of up-and-coming songsmith and producer Van McCoy. Still nearly a decade away from creating his own hits -- most notably the chart-topping dance monster "The Hustle" -- McCoy contributed a total of four selections. While his arrangement of "Some Things You Never Get Used To" could be an homage to the Bacharach/David classic "Walk on By," the edgier "He's My Guy" is an ideal match of singer and song as Thomas' attitude seethes right below the surface of her graceful delivery. Fans of Northern U.K. soul often rank the infectiously buoyant "Baby, Don't Look Down" among their favorite discotheque spins dedicated to preserving the spirit of the music and times. Wrapping up Take a Look are a final pair from Toussaint with the cheery and definitely Motown-inspired "What Are You Trying to Do." "Wait, Wait, Wait," on the other hand, is unique as it reflects Toussaint's early influence and love of '40s and '50s country and western music. One could easily hear Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, or Loretta Lynn lending their respective intonations to it. ~ Lindsay Planer
$12.99

R&B - Released September 10, 1993 | Reprise

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$12.99

R&B - Released January 1, 1986 | New Rounder

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Irma Thomas balanced classic and contemporary sensibilities on this 1986 album. She did such songs as "Gonna Cry 'Til My Tears Run Dry" and "I Gave You Everything" from the 1960s, and also did more recent tunes, such as the title track and a good remake of "The Wind Beneath My Wings (Hero)." In the 1980s, there was little interest at urban contemporary stations in older, more soulful artists, and thus this worthy session got almost no attention outside New Orleans and the South. However, Irma Thomas can still sing with authority and quality. ~ Ron Wynn
$38.49

R&B - Released September 24, 1991 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The title isn't just hype -- this absolutely essential three-disc box is where soul music first took shape and soared, courtesy of Ray Charles' church-soaked pipes and bedrock piano work. Brother Ray's formula for inventing the genre was disarmingly simple: he brought gospel intensity to the R&B world with his seminal "I Got a Woman," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Leave My Woman Alone," "You Be My Baby," and the primal 1959 call-and-response classic "What'd I Say." There's plenty of brilliant blues content within these 53 historic sides: Charles' mournful "Losing Hand," "Feelin' Sad," "Hard Times," and "Blackjack" ooze after-hours desperation. No blues collection should be without this boxed set, which comes with well-researched notes by Robert Palmer, a nicely illustrated accompanying booklet, and discographical info aplenty. ~ Bill Dahl
$8.99

R&B - Released January 1, 1969 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
If Count Basie had hired James Brown to replace Joe Williams as his featured male vocalist, what would the results have sounded like? Brown offers some suggestions on Soul on Top, which finds the Godfather of Soul making an intriguing detour into jazz-minded big-band territory. Recorded in 1969, Soul on Top unites Brown with the Basie-influenced orchestra of jazz drummer Louie Bellson, and stylistically, the results are somewhere between soul-funk and the funkier side of big-band jazz. This Brown/Bellson collaboration isn't straight-ahead jazz, nor is it typical of Brown's late-'60s output. But if recording a big-band project with Bellson was a surprising and unexpected thing for the Godfather of Soul to do in 1969, it was hardly illogical or bizarre -- Brown, after all, grew up listening to jazz (as well as blues and gospel) and was well aware of the legacies of Basie, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, and others. While some jazz snobs would have listeners believe that jazz and R&B have little, if anything, in common, the fact is that they're close relatives that get much of their energy and feeling from the blues. So it makes perfect sense for Brown to combine soul, funk, and jazz on this album, which finds him revisiting some major hits (including "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World") in addition to embracing "September Song," "That's My Desire," and other standards typically associated with jazz and traditional pop. Although not among the Godfather's better-known efforts, this fine album is happily recommended to anyone who holds R&B and jazz in equally high regard. ~ Alex Henderson
$129.49

R&B - Released September 20, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Ray Charles' seminal recordings for Atlantic have been boxed once before, as the triple-disc 1991 set The Birth of Soul. That box contained 53 tracks, the best moments of what is arguably the best period of Charles' career, but Rhino/Atlantic's 2005 seven-disc sequel, Pure Genius, doesn't bother with merely the highlights: as its subtitle makes clear, this is The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959). This is undeniably a major historical release, since it gathers all of the recordings Charles made at his creative peak, not just as a leader, but as a sideman for his saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and sides he recorded with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson. Also, it's not limited to studio recordings -- live sessions, later issued on the LPs Ray Charles in Person and Ray Charles at Newport, are here too. Despite the abundance of music here, there's not much that hasn't seen the light of day before. It may not seem that way at first glance, since the seventh disc contains nothing but unreleased material, but the great majority of that is devoted to a full-length rehearsal session with producer Ahmet Ertegun from 1953 -- something that is interesting to hear once, since it does give some insights into Ertegun and Charles' working relationship and how Ray acted in the studio, but even then, it's not exactly revelatory. So, apart from that rehearsal, outtakes of "(Night Time Is) The Right Time" and "Tell Me How Do You Feel" and an excellent DVD of Ray live at Newport from 1960, Pure Genius is devoted to material that has been reissued extensively during the CD era -- which is another way of saying that most fans will have this music already. Still, presented here in chronological order according to recording sessions, it's hard not to marvel at Charles' development as an artist and be astonished by his range. That is what makes this set worthwhile as something more than a library piece -- listening to the first six discs from beginning to end reveals exactly how restless and creative Ray was during this period. Most listeners will be satisfied by more concise collections of this period -- and even those who truly love the hard R&B and soul of Charles' Atlantic hits will likely find The Birth of Soul a more satisfying box, since it is devoted to that sound, whereas the rest of the music here that's not on the 1991 box is largely devoted to jazz sides and live performances -- but any serious fan or historian of American music will find this set essential. (Nevertheless, they may find the packaging of the set somewhat infuriating: it's a clever, well-designed replica of an old-fashioned, all-in-one record player, with the hardcover book and eight discs stored inside. It's a nice package, but a bit impractical, particularly for those who just want the music.) ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$11.49

R&B - Released February 22, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$11.49

R&B - Released January 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
At a concert held at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta on May 28, 1959, Ray Charles turns in a blistering version of "What'd I Say" and takes on the big-band era with versions of Tommy Dorsey's "Yes Indeed!" and Artie Shaw's "Frenesi," not to mention performances of "The Right Time" and "Tell the Truth." [This album was reissued in 1973 as a part of a two-record set, packaged with Ray Charles at Newport under the title Ray Charles Live (Atlantic 503)]. ~ William Ruhlmann
$10.49

R&B - Released January 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Taken from the same three sessions as The Great Ray Charles but not duplicating any of the performances, this set casts Charles as a jazz-oriented pianist in an instrumental setting. Brother Charles has five numbers with a trio (three songs have Oscar Pettiford on bass) and jams on three other tunes ("Hornful Soul," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and "Joy Ride") with a septet arranged by Quincy Jones; solo space is given to David "Fathead" Newman on tenor and alto and trumpeter Joseph Bridgewater. Fine music -- definitely a change of pace for Ray Charles. ~ Scott Yanow
$12.99

R&B - Released January 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$12.99

R&B - Released January 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$12.99

R&B - Released January 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
$12.99

R&B - Released January 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Genre

R&B in the magazine
  • The Carters are untouchable
    The Carters are untouchable The ultimate luxury for the biggest stars is to be able to randomly release an album without warning. Although much anticipated ever since their first collaboration in 2002, Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s com...
  • TLC, back to the 90’s
    TLC, back to the 90’s T-Boz and Chilli revive the flame of their vintage R&B ...