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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Nu Vibe: Where Did We Go Wrong (CDM) (Slip N Slide Records, 199x)

From Opa Locka, FL, a very old skool R&B/soul group consisting of three brothers David, Christopher and Jeffrey Jones and their friends Carlton Williams and Charles Bell who had a similar “grown up” sound to many of the early 90s male soul harmony groups from the early 90s. They started out signed to Miami FL label Slip N Slide records, which in the early 2000s gained recognition for artists such as J-Shin and Trina, and were also signed to bass/freestyle label Vision Records. They haven't been documented much which is why I am posting them here but their other single "Stay Together" is on streaming from the label and is highly recommended listening for real R&B music lovers. 

Extended Version    4:02
Radio Mix    6:26
Vert Mix    5:56

Various: Sexy Lingerie (So Much, So Little) (LewLew Productions, 2004)

Despite the name and title, this is a very underground compilation of contemporary R&B, rhythm and blues and gorgeous modern soul tracks featuring mainly female artists. Produced by Rich Cason (a hidden but quite prolific player on the LA boogie/funk scene since the late 70s), notable features include California native Elyse Branch, Austin’s Kat Webb and many, many more. It is from 2004 but many of the recordings sound like they were from the 90s at the very least with the vast majority of them unmastered from seemingly original analog tape sources. For me, the highlight is most definitely Web's "How You Gonna Love Me", which is a gorgeous incarnation of late 80s boogie soul at its very best. The only male artist Just Love I know nothing about but the track is upbeat funky blues with a contemporary edge.

Sexy Lingerie    4:38    Just Love ft. Phenom
A Gift For You    3:56    Elyse Branch
Last Night    4:44    Elyse Branch
How You Gonna Love Me    4:37    Kat Webb
Don't Want A Partime Lover    3:17    Jackie McNeal
The Pleasure Is All Mine    4:36    Jackie McNeal
See The Rain    4:12    Jackie McNeal
Such A Silly Way    3:56    Jackie McNeal
I'll Make Love Easy For You    4:03    Jackie McNeal
Unmistakably You    3:54    Virginia 'Kim' Fowler
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet    4:31    Kat Webb
Let's Treat Each Night Like Christmas Eve    4:28    Joyce Cronin
 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Molly M: Demo (EP) (2003)

Further unknown female R&B demo won by Stuaaart on eBay a month or so back. No clues as to who the artist is but from 2003, the style is up tempo urban crossover R&B with a prominent hook, in the same vein as Blaque and a few others. I don’t know for certain but I believe it was produced for Cuddy Entertainment, a label owned by music industry veteran Mark Cuddy. The music here is outstanding but sadly not professionally duplicated; having a slight boxy sound, it appears that all the tracks were possibly transferred to disc from MQ lossy sources back in the day. 
 
Kinda Guy 3:47 
If You Knew 4:19 
Knockin' 4:20 
Your Boyz Wish 4:06 
9x10 3:53

Monday, June 21, 2021

Raw Talent Presents: Where Dreams Become Reality (EP) (Self-Released, 200x)

From Miami, FL, another random find from a certain popular shopping site and a blend of mid-2000s Hip Hop and Contemporary R&B with Southern and Underground flavors. The tracks were said to be part of a forthcoming compilation but I can’t find any information about that either. I don’t know much about most of the artists featured but at one point Shauna (appearing here with “Missing You”) was signed to Miami label Slip-N-Slide Records and recorded a song with Trina “Don’t Ring My Phone”. She was signed to the label’s Reggae Imprint Slip-N-Slide Reggae but from what I can hear her sound was mostly contemporary R&B. Funnily enough, there was a label called Raw Talent which did specialize in Reggae and Socca music but as far as I am aware these two labels are unrelated. "Check Yourself" by Kola is also R&B and is uptempo with 'hustla' influences. I have no idea who she is but I am pretty certain it is not Kola Marion formally of Doggy's Angels.

Thug Mistress 3:53 Mr. JiTT feat. Ms. Janlce  
Missing You 2:47 Shauna  
Da Life I Lead 3:49 Majest  
Check Yourself 3:51 Kola  
I'm Out Here 4:02 Mr. JiTT 
Jailhouse Rock 4:58 Ms. Janlce  
DaShoShot 4:22 ill Flow feat. Mr. JiTT 
 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Sharon Lee Williams: Demo (EP) (Lenz Entertainment, 1996)

I have found a lot of great R&B and soul music from Canada over the years; Ora, Divine Earth Essence, Wade O. Brown and many others have more than convinced me that the Great White North was more than capable of competing with the US when it comes to great R&B and soul music. This particular vocalist has a pretty interesting backstory, to me at least. A child of the 80s, I had heard her biggest hit (with Sway) “Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart)” an innumerable amount of times. It was somewhat of a one hit wonder back then but owing to its upbeat Caribbean flavor would frequently be the song of choice for many parties through until at least the early 90s. Prior to Sway, she was also the lead vocalist for Canadian soul outfit Basic Black and Pearl and performed backing vocals for Marc Jordan, The Whiteley Brothers, Bruce Cockburn, Glass Tiger and even Alice Cooper. She released her own single “Your Place or Mine” on Virgin in 1989 but it wasn’t much of a hit. Sadly, outside of Sway, her most notable work to date has been providing the voices for characters on Jim Henson shows and as a vocal coach on Canadian Idol. The above recordings were made in 1996 and the disc – a TDK CD-R74BX – actually dates from around 1997 (outside of the music it contains, it is quite a scarce disc apparently.) Mainly a mixture of gorgeous 90s jazzy modern soul and sophisticated “grown-up” R&B, I am inclined to believe the 7-song set may have been recorded for film of television use but not entirely certain. The production company Lenz Entertainment was established as a company in 1997. Another fantastic find.

I'm Addicted    4:45   
Always And Forever    5:45   
Love Takes No Prisoners    5:09   
If You Could Only See Me    4:26   
Pain    4:17   
Can I Trust You    5:03   
Here I Am    5:11   

Monday, June 14, 2021

No Sweat: Dutch R&B Flava (Dutch Music Foundation, 1997)

 
My final foray into R&B music from The Netherlands comes with the No Sweat All-Stars, a Dutch R&B collective consisting of all unsigned artists. Released in conjunction with the Dutch Rock Music Foundation, the compilation was a starting point for many careers including that of the Dutch R&B trio Dignity (appearing here with “Talk to Me” and “Hold Me”), Chozen 4 Soul and Voices in Motion. Dignity later signed to Virgin and their self-released debut was released in the Benelux Union only; Voices in Motion also had a brief career with Polydor, releasing three singles between 1998-2000. Other familiar features include Corey (see previous post) and the much sought-after J.Anthony. Altogether two great compilations showcasing the best that The Netherlands - formally a country mostly known for its cheesy Euro dance exports - had to offer back then. Dignity, J.Anthony and Little Brown especially were fantastic.
 
Keep Your Head Up To The Sky    4:43    No Sweat All-Stars
It Sounds Natural    3:50    J.Anthony
Talk To Me    3:47    Dignity
Till Da Early Morn    4:00    Joshua
Get Of My Back    3:10    Eszteca
Day And Night    4:19    Corey
Loving You    3:54    Voices In Motion
Play    4:24    Little Brown
Can't Live Without You    3:35    Chosen 4 Soul
Hold Me    4:07    Dignity
Another Girl    3:39    J.Anthony
Cruz Over Here    3:37    3rd Millenium
Hold You Tight    3:47    Chosen 4 Soul
Move Around    3:39    Voices In Motion
Down With You    3:42    Solid
All Da Way    4:12    Joshua
Give In    4:53    Eszteca  

Skillz Records Presents: New York • Amsterdam (Skillz Records, 199x)

Further music out of The Netherlands with the above US-themed project featuring many fantastic R&B and Hip Hop artists, some of whom later went on to have moderately successful careers in Europe (Sat-R-Day, Re-Play) and others which have remained popular among collectors only (Corey, Shameka.) Re-Play had a career going back to 1997 on Dutch label Rhythm Records where they recorded songs mainly in their native language but it seems at one point the label Skillz may have had distribution through Rhythm as a later release of theirs by the short-lived Dutch R&B group Natural Impact also had distribution through them (posted here.) Natural Impact does not feature on this particular set and neither does a further artist from those days J. Anthony but it did spawn a few good singles namely the very phat and euphonic “Everything But Love” by Corey (featuring Sadat X) and “Reasons Why” by Shameka (prod. by Dutch talkboxer Werner Kanhai.) All seemed to have garnered releases in the US where assimilation for most of them came pretty naturally. Corey especially had a wealth of experience under her belt at the time including appearances on National TV, as a supporting act for Adina Howard and even took her talents to New York where she survived the stage at The Apollo. She is also featured on  a few other similar compilations released around the same time and finally released her first album in 2006.
 
Try Love    3:22    Shameka
Everything But Love    3:14    Corey feat. Sadat X
Stop Messing With My Mind    4:55    Re-Play feat. Evil Son a.k.a Sonny Diablo
Make It Happen    4:14    M.O.D.
The After Party    3:59    Phatclip
Flight 704    3:13    Shadows In The Dark
All This Love    4:43    Sat-R-Day
Reasons Why    4:33    Shameka
Sick    4:59    M.O.D.
Glitter    4:52    One Step Beyond

Monday, June 7, 2021

Mo'dest: Modest Girl (CDM) (Phat Butt Wrecka's/BMG, 1998)

Only single by Mo’dest (Monique Loswijk?), an American/Dutch artist who was signed to the indie label Phat Butt Wrecka’s between 1997-1998. The label has been known for quite a few rarities (D-Cypha, 2-Nice) but I won’t be featuring them here, instead choosing to focus on the one quality female artist that nobody else has posted yet. The label’s most well-known release is probably “I Need Your Love” by Triple D and Channo ONE on which the above artist’s vocals can be heard in the R&B mix. “Modest Girl” and a further track by her “Confused” can be heard on a rare promo vinyl credited to Organized Groove (later Glaze.) Written by Chris Gerald (formally in Cella Dwellas?), more quality R&B from the Netherlands that nobody really knows about. The B-side track “Play With Me” is especially smooth. 
 
Modest Girl (Radio Edit)    3:34
Modest Girl (X-Tended Mix)    4:52
Modest Girl (Dance Hall Remix)    3:45
Modest Girl (Big 'N' Nasteez Remix)    4:32
Modest Girl (Funky Paradise Mix)    3:21
Modest Girl (X-Tra Acapella Mix)    3:28
Play With Me (Late Night Album Version)    3:59
 

Shanique: Spend Da Night (CDM) (BMG, 2000)

Since the mid-90s, the Netherlands has been another place known for making great R&B music. Fueled by the popularity of producers such as Soulshock & Karlin and later Cutfather & Joe, they had some great artists and bands throughout the 90s and going into the new millennium. I am not going to lie; I do find listening to music by non-native English speakers to be a little hard but a lot of these artists and groups had little to no accents at all. Basically, these artists could hold their own against any of the popular American or British acts at the time. Unfortunately, very few of them have been heard outside of Europe. Produced and managed by Cooly D, Shanique (real name Angelique Koorndijk) began her career in the late 80s on a Dutch TV talent show which also brought notoriety to Dignity’s Edsilia Rombley. In 1999 Koorndijk released two singles as “Shanique.” Both were produced by Dutch hip hop producer Cooly D and were one of a few of the more pop-orientated compositions that the producer did in the mid to late 90s. Neither were very successful despite sounding as phat and radio-friendly as work by fellow Dutch R&B artists at the time. In 2006, she was back on the TV, making it to the semi-finals of the Dutch version of Pop Idol.
 
Spend Da Night (Radio Mix)    4:08    
Spend Da Night (Bounce Mix)    4:14    
Spend Da Night (Jeep Mix)    3:49