Yolanda "La La" Brown & iCandi

The forgotten Midwest R'n'B duo that met a tragic end.

Ne-Yo

Unreleased from 2001, Ne-Yo as "Shaffer".

Mya's Liberation

Mya's doomed fourth album.

Girl Power!

Unreleased R'n'B/UK Garage from 2001.

From Tha'Rayne To The First Seed

Unreleased Yummy Bingham from 2006.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Umoja featuring TNO: Get Cha Wet (Promo Single) (Versachild-Black Phoenix Recordings, 1998)

From a now defunct community radio station in Atlanta, Georgia, another underground gem from 1998 and primarily a smooth R&B outfit with southern hip hop influences and sexy and titillating lyrics. There’s nothing about them anywhere but the song was said to be taken from the then-forthcoming album “The Sea.” Along with Kaize Adams, Andre and Michael Hall, definitely one of my highlights thus far of 2021.

Get Cha Wet - Radio 4:44 
Charge It To The Game 4:48 
Get Cha Wet (Seamix) Radio 3:27 
Get Cha Wet (Album) 4:44 
Get Cha Wet (Seamix) Album 3:26 
 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Andre: The Truth (Demo EP) (Tear Drops Productions, 199x)

Along the same lines as the artist above, here is another fantastic find from a now-defunct community radio station in Atlanta, Georgia which fortunately - despite being another quite old CDr - did play perfectly from beginning to end. Highlights for me are the gorgeous mid-tempo cut "Sorry" and the smooth 90s chill R&B vibe "Can I Kick It"...both very well written and produced by the artist himself who I believe is this guy here. According to a Japanese article sourced online, it seems he hailed from Houston, Texas although I am not 100% certain. 

Sorry    5:16
Sexy Got It    3:19
Can I Kick It    3:47
Jesus Love    4:25

Michael Hall: Millennium Soul (Demo EP) (LeSong.com, 2000)

Another absolute gem, which again came from the same defunct community radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. Hailing from Jonesboro, not much is known about him or his producer (DeShan Bowers) but the music is old school R&B at its finest with soulful, smooth vocals. "Sexy Little Playgirl" in particular is an absolute delight to listen to though the song and another (track 3) are very much ruined by disc rot. 

Sexy PlayGirl    4:06
The Heat Is On    4:39
Sweet Lady    4:45

Kaize Adams: Self-Titled EP (CBX/One Stop LLC., 1997)

From a defunct community radio station in Atlanta, another underground gem from 1997 and a mixture of 90s R&B, New Jack Swing and gorgeous modern soul with Bobby Brown-esque flava. The artist, who hails from Columbia SC, had aspirations to become an R&B singer straight out of High School before God showed him that R&B music wasn't for him. In an interview with UK Gospel website Cross Rhythms.co.uk, he said "God showed me that R&B wasn't me. It didn't reflect what I was all about, and the lifestyle and content of some lyrics didn't line up to my beliefs, my character. Gospel music, on the other hand, did." He released "Testimony" in 2003 and the rest is history, but in my humble opinion his R&B work should not be discounted. "Teach Me How To Love" in particular is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. 

The 1-4-Me    4:33
Cool Night    3:42
Love Possibility    3:29
You Are My Lady    6:08
The 1-4-Me (Remix Edit)    5:05
Teach Me How To Love    3:57
Cool Night (Remix Edit)    3:42
Outro    1:33

Monday, August 30, 2021

Unreleased R&B tracks from a well-known pop producer?

Guy Roche is not somebody that immediately springs to mind when I think of great R&B music but he had produced slower songs by some notable artists in the past, not limited to Brandy, Xscape, Chanté Moore, Aaliyah and Brandy. Outside of this he is mainly a pop producer and writer, having written and produced hits for Christina Aguilera, Vitamin C and others I don’t really listen to. Often taking gambles on certain unique things I find on eBay, I found and brought a rare promo CD of his last year which contained some pop-rock demos so if anything he is an extremely versatile songwriter and producer as far as popular music goes. Here are two surprisingly good unused cuts from him which were found on a quite rare BMG promo disc featuring a selection of his work throughout the years. The first “Something Special” definitely gives me Brandy vibes - could it have been written at the same time as “Almost Doesn’t Count” for her “Never Say Never” album? - while the second “Lost” (sung by an unknown male vocalist) is another of his sweeping soul ballads a la “The Arms of the One Who Loves You”. Both were unused from what I can tell with both being co-written by his regular writing partner Shelly Peiken. Notable songs that they had written together include "What A Girl Wants" by Christina Aguilera and "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. Not hardcore urban stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but just goes to show if you look hard enough you can still find enjoyable tunes in some unlikely places. 
 
 

Devoe: 1 Night (Promo CDS) (Shaydoss Productions, 200x)

Another unique find from a UK music producer and an early 2000s uptempo ballad from an unknown female artist. No clues as to who she is – the disc is basically just a hand scribed CDr with a hand-cut paper inlay – but she has a similar tone to Shola Ama.
 
1 Night    4:43

Cyan: The EP (Promo) (DMD Wreckadz, 2003)

More unknown contemporary blues and neo soul music from the UK and once again spotted in a pile of random finds from a music producer. The set yielded one single “Never Ever” in 2001, with the above EP being released in 2003 on 12” vinyl only. No ideas as to who the artist is but the writer of the set had worked with two other UK artists Fierce and Personèlle in the past.

Right For You    3:52
Love Has Got Me Crazy    5:09
Time Has Changed    4:14
Never Ever (Steady Mix)    4:15
Never Ever (Ready Mix)    4:40
Reasons Why (Smokin' Mix)    3:59

Monday, August 23, 2021

Elizabeth "Yummy" Bingham: From Tha' Rayne to The First Seed

Originally one third of the female R&B trio Tha' Rayne, Elizabeth "Yummy" Bingham's vocals were unique and lively. As the daughter of a seasoned producer (Dinky Bingham) and the Goddaughter of two Soul and R&B greats Chaka Khan and Aaron Hall, a career in music was something she was born to have. Starting out as part of Tha' Rayne in the early 2000s, Bingham's vocals were briefly everywhere before the label Arista Records decided that the group's album "Reign Supreme" was to never be released. Following this she became the appointed vocalist for De-La-Soul before hooking up with then-popular producer at the time Rockwilder to form Musik Park Records, making at the time her the youngest female executive in history. Sadly her first album for the label and its distributor Universal Motown "The First Seed" was never to see a US release despite all the odds in her favor. It seems she suffered a similar fate to Mya whose own album for the same label also had the brakes thrown on it. It will come as no surprise who the head of Universal Motown was at the time: Sylvia Rhone. It seemed - in Bingham's case at least - that there was a clash of titans. Released in the UK only, "The First Seed" was a solid and consistent set by Bingham who was destined to be a queen but ended up as little more than an afterthought. Once again found among a pile of random finds from a UK music producer, here is an unreleased track cut from the album that has since gone on to become one of my absolute favorites.
 
Intro 1:45 
Come Get It 3:27 
Is It Good To You (W_Shit) 2:41 
I Don't Really 3:35 
You Ain't Ready 3:50 
Quickie 4:23 
Never Happened 3:07 
Piece Of My Heart 4:01 
What More_ 4:32 
Just Leave 2:31 
One More Chance 5:46 
Had To Be 3:56 
All My Life 3:18 
Time 5:02 
Queenz 1:41

Celestine: Sampler (Promo) (Epic, 200x)

Further unreleased music with Celestine whose reply to Jay-Z's track "Girls Girls Girls" went unreleased in 2003. Credited to "Cellie" or "Teresa", the track can be found on a handful of white label and bootleg vinyls from the early 2000s, the most notable being the faux DJ Premier label "Empire Management Recordings." It was also remixed by UK Garage producer Ed Case and credited to "Ghetto Child featuring Celestine" via Sony UK's Urban Division in 2002. It seems at one point the artist was signed to Epic Records though there isn't as much of a scrap of information to be found on her anywhere though after doing some casual digging, there's a possibility she was part of the Bristol-based R&B trio Sha-Du-Ni (as Celestine Gordan.) It certainly is a small world, at least in the UK. She was also the original singer of the song "Married Man" which was later given to Australian singer Paulini for her "Superwoman" album in 2006. Though both vocalists appeared to have graduated from the Beyonce Knowles school of singing, Celestine definitely had the stronger, more distinct voice out of the two.

Guys, Guys, Guys     2:52

Married Man     2:32
Been A While     3:34 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

J'Nay: More great R&B music from the MOBOs

Further music from the MOBOs with J'Nay (real name John Adeleye) who won the Unsung Award for his song "Soul Glo" in 2003 (he is not to be confused with the female singer N'Jay who was also the recipient of an award at the MOBOs in 2001.) I am guessing the "Unsung" category was a later incarnation of the "Unsigned" category that they used up until 2002. We have found some amazing artists hidden away in these categories not limited to Alyson Brown, One82 and many more. West London born, Adeleye drew his inspirations from Motown, funk, rock and soul to create a masterful collection of tracks that sadly never saw the light of day. Telling BBC's Newsround back in the day "I enjoy pieces of things - I might take a hip-hop beat, and a soul guitar. My first thing is breaking molds". He was critically acclaimed, garnering comparisons to Al Green and other greats of their day but as with many artists that grace this rather overlooked category at the MOBOs, he got a record deal out of it and then disappeared without so much as a single. He was signed to Island Records and was penning songs with Lisa Stansfield and Guy Chambers, but in 2010 he appeared on The X Factor where he drew controversy for his past 'accomplishments' in trash tabloid The Sun. A great artist that was way ahead of his time but if anything else, he is still performing. 
 
Let It Rain    3:17
Let Me In    3:54
Live The Dream    3:38
Never Judge A Book By It's Cover    3:31
Party Outside    3:42
Party Started    2:54
Seasons    3:42
Shifted    3:37
Sometimes    3:58
Spooks    3:51
That Was Tomorrow    2:59
Want To Experience    2:38
Welcome To My World    4:18
What Is Your Problem    4:11
When The Talking Stops    3:26
Work It    3:48
You    3:12
You're Gonna Lose That Girl    4:01

 

Hear more great artists from the Unsigned/Unsung category at the MOBOs here

Dee C. Lee: Sampler (Promo) (199x)

Unreleased music from Dee C Lee, a former backing singer for Wham! and later a member of The Style Council in the early 80s. As a solo artist, she released 3 albums between 1986 and 1998 but her career overall spans more than 35 years. I am guessing these tracks were recorded for her 1998 album "Smiles" ("Don't You" did eventually make it on to the album) but the other two are seemingly unreleased. While her earlier 80s work pretty much picked up from where Style Council left off, her stuff in the 90s is a lot more downtempo. Sadly much of it was never released in the UK. 
 
Don't You    5:00
Dreaming    4:54
Say    3:10

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Lovemore And Buffalo (Associates): Sampler (Promo) (Go Beat, 200x)

Spotted by me in amongst a pile of random finds unearthed by a music producer, this duo is somewhat of a mystery to me but they did release one single "Giving It Up / Don't Cry" which featured production from a further UK Garage outfit, the Stanton Warriors. I think this is most likely the reason why it was lost in the UK Garage category but both tracks were quite radio-friendly urban-pop with male R&B vocals. I don't know anything about them but as per the above compilation, they were signed to Go! Beat at one point, either as a musical duo or as writers. The production here though - mostly a type of downtempo electronic music - is very stripped down and nothing at all like their 12". Were these unfinished demos? A very interesting find nevertheless with ties to the UK Garage scene. 

Want Your Love 4:22 
Running 4:54 
Sometimes 5:02 
Wild World 4:40 (features an interpolation of Cat Stevens' 1971 song of the same name)
Give Me What You Want 3:00 
Sexual 4:05