We often take for granted our natural resources. We just assume, for one reason or another, they will always be there, until they’re not, and then we often find ourselves in a “coulda-woulda-shoulda” frame of mind. We particularly do this with artists we love, forgetting the joy, truth and energy we once had with their gifts. This is nowhere no more apparent with one type of artistic natural resource on the verge of extinction: The Classic R&B/Soul singer.
With rhythmic electronic music and Hip-Hop keeping their stranglehold on the charts, the commercial viability of what was once the cornerstone of Black music in the second half of the 20th century is all but forgotten now, relegated to the histrionics of contestants on performance game shows who have little to no connection to the music and little to no connection to the history of the Blues. The organic feeling and warmth inherent in this genre is often now over-processed and auto-tuned into the ground.
And then, seemingly out of the blue, you get an e-mail: Angie Stone, born Angela Laverne Brown in 1965 in South Carolina and a woman with an almost 40 year songwriting and professional recording career under her belt, is poised to release a new album. Best yet, she is doing it on another independent label, and hipsters, take note: Ms. Stone has recorded for more indie labels than probably the next four acts you can name.
From the sound of it, she has found her groove again, and one that she knows well: songs that relate to the experience of being an intelligent, yet emotionally vulnerable woman who still wants the real thing, even though finding said thing is often a bumpy road and full of disappointments. She comes across as neither bitter or bitchy, but as a wise soul who still believes in the power of the truth, and most importantly, the power of love.
Angie Stone’s career seems like that of an actress, or any person with longevity in arts: lots of peaks and valleys, and even though they may not be on the biggest and best known stages, there is a dedication to craft that will always set them apart from the pack. For those of you who thought she was new when the Neo-Soul subgenre exploded 20 years ago, she already was a seasoned veteran, and one of the reasons her albums of the era sounded so focused and on point.
This hour long program can’t feature everything I wanted to include, including soundtrack cuts, work with other artists like Mantronix, Lenny Kravitz and D’Angelo, but who knows: if you want it, children of the revolution, nothing would make me happier than to continue to find the bandwidth and the time to pay tribute to a woman who has done more than her fair share of giving to us. Her new album, Full Circle on Cleopatra Records, just dropped last Friday, is garnering some of her best reviews since her solid gold classic masterpiece, Mahogany Soul, so don’t delay: you never know when this might be the last time you hear from something that is literally teetering on extinction.
All tracks by Angie Stone solo unless otherwise noted.
- Baby (with Betty Wright), 2007, The Art Of Love & War
- Backup Plan, 2012, Rich Girl
- Funk You Up (12″ inch mix), 1980, Monster Jam (Sequence)
- Time of the Month, 2001, Mahogany Soul (CD bonus track)
- I Wasn’t Kidding, 2005, Stone Hits: The Very Best of Angie Stone
- I Don’t Care, 2009, Unexpected
- Dinosaur, 2019, Full Circle
- Bone 2 Pic (Wit U), 1999, Black Diamond
- Seems You’re Much Too Busy, 1993, A Matter of Time (Vertical Hold)
- Slowdown, 1996, DEVOX featuring Angie B. Stone (Japanese release) (DEVOX featuring Angie B. Stone)
- In The Air Tonight, 2016, Covered In Soul
- Quits, 2015, Dream
- I Wanna Thank Ya, 2004, Stone Love
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Host, Producer, Audio Engineer and Writer
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