Sunday, July 14, 2013

Looking forward to Porretta

I'm off to to the usually sedate spa town of Porretta in central Italy this week for the annual Porretta Soul Festival. Most years the festival features mostly Memphis-based artists who have a connection with Memphis labels such as Stax or Goldwax. But this year the line-up has more of a Southern Soul feel to it and promises to bring a bit of the chitlin circuit to Europe, with some larger than life characters performing. Among the artists performing this year are the glamorous Toni Green, a very popular and soulful singer from Memphis, the Nashville-based soul band Charles Walker and the Dynamites, David Hudson, one of the stars of last year's show, who I first saw at the Town and Country Club in 1989, and Falisa Janaye, a very sexy looking young singer from Memphis who I haven't seen before.
Probably the biggest star is Latimore. Born in 1939 in Tennessee he first recorded as Benny Latimore for the Dade label in Florida in the mid sixties, before releasing some excellent albums for Glades including Latimore, Let's Straighten It Out (his biggest US hit), and Dig A Little Deeper, before recording some excellent material for Malaco in the 1980s and 1990s. I first became aware of Latimore when I visited New Orleans for the first time in 1989 (rather late in the day I think) but his performance at the Mean Fiddler with other Malaco artists in 1993 was outstanding.
Here are a couple of his tracks - first an early one (from 1967) on Dade.
Here's a classic from his Malaco period - Careful Man.
Next we have the wonderful Bobby Rush, who I guarantee will bring a rush of blood to the audience at Porretta, with his revue comprising some sexy big-arsed girls. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Bobby is aged around 77 but you wouldn't know it. Last time I saw him, in New Orleans, he had the looks and energy of a man half his age. But his show is rude, and it didn't go down too well when he played at the Barbican in London a few years ago. I think he's great though.
Here's one of his funkier numbers from 1979, I Wanna Do the Do.
And here's a photo of a 45 which I bought in Memphis after seeing him for the first time at the Daisy Theatre in Beale Street, Memphis in the 90s. The video clip gives an idea of what the Porretta audience can expect.
Finally, Mitty Collier, a Chess recording artist who is now known as 'Pastor' Mitty Collier. Her biggest hit, I Had A Talk With My Man, was also the only 45 she had released in the UK. A stone cold classic.
After some later singles for Chess and recordings at Fame in Muscle Shoals, Mitty gave up secular music and turned to the church. It will be interesting to see if she performs any secular music this time - and how she co-exists with Bobby Rush in the finale of the show. Here's a great soul track from her Chess period, Do it With Confidence.


At 12:49 am , Blogger john marriott said...

Spoke to Mitty Collier last week. She is categorical that she will only sing gospel although might change the lyrics of some songs. Graziano tonight said she is singing "I've been loving you too long" but with some changed lyrics

At 12:55 am , Blogger john marriott said...

Re Latimore, first time I came across him was after reading Dave Godins top twenty 45's of that year (1968) in Blues and Soul which included "The Power and the Glory" and got the record shortly after that. Its always been my favourite of his but only found out three weeks ago when he was on the show that the girl vocalist was Betty Wright. I never knew that.

At 7:25 pm , Anonymous Harry van Vliet said...

Hey Nick !
I'm sure your camera will be working overtime during the Falisa gig ! On a serious note ; there's a great book just out now on southern Soul ( 300 plus pages).
Title : Southern Soul Blues.
Writer ; David Whiteis.
Finally a book on "our" kind of music ! Very Recommended !!!
See you on friday !
Harry van Vliet.
Fingerpoppin'Soul , Amsterdam.

At 12:43 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Bobby Rush and Mitty Collier on the same bill. Should be interesting! See you in Porretta.




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home