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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Nay-La (AKA Karisma): Runnin' Outta Time (Promo EP) (Sound Factory Studios, 200x)

A further demo from another Chi-Town artist that I know nothing about. There is no recording date (I don't know for certain but I believe the number 6-9-22 at the bottom is some sort of reference number) but the sound is early 2000s urban pop much in the same vein as this group here. Presumably a solo singer "Nay-La" but at times there sounds as if there are two distinct voices singing.

No Need 3:59
Runnin Outta Time (Full) 3:47
Runnin Outta Time (No Ads) 3:47
Runnin Outta Time (Instr) + Hooks 3:45

NOTE: After additional information has come to light, I am now aware that the above artist/group is in fact the Chicago R&B quartet Karisma. Their full demo - featuring the above tracks and more - can be found here.

Victoria Theodore: Demo (Promo EP) (1992)

Final 7-song demo from another obscure artist. I don't know if she is the same Victoria Theodore who played keyboards for Posse 2.0., the featured band on the Arsenio Hall Show in 2013 but all songs - mainly a mixture of New Jack Swing and 90s pop and soul music - were written, arranged & produced by her. 

Wannabe 4:19
You Want My Love 3:20
Boy 4:27
My Obsession 4:42
He's Got It 3:52
Never Go Away 4:29
Too Shy 3:44

Micha: Demo (Promo EP) (Big City Music, 199x)

The first in a series of cassette demos originally acquired by my good friend Stuart. None of the songs were ever released and many of the artists featured appeared to be former backing singers. There's no date of manufacture on any of them but if going by sound alone I would say most definitely late 80s/early 90s. The above one can be traced back to New York although I have absolutely no idea whom the artist featured is. The style of music is mainly late 80s dance-pop with the exception of track 2 which is early 90s hip house a la C&C Music Factory.

Spellbound 4:41
Reach Out (I'll Be There) 7:13
What's In It For Me 4:47

Pillow: Demo (Promo EP) (199x)

Further abandoned music from the early 90s, this time what appears to be late 80s/early 90s soul-dance music by a possible female duo or group. No information to be found anywhere; the tape is basically a recordable TDK D60 that gives out an L.A. phone number.

Surrender 3:47
Are You Man Enuf 3:37
Pump It Up 3:47
Love Is Strong 4:16

Kez: Demo (Promo EP) (Almo Irving Music Publishing, 199x)

More 90s soul pop music that went into the recycling bin. No leads on the artist (or possible group) featured but Almo Irving Music Publishing  was founded by Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss in the early 60s and served as the publishing division of A&M Records. It was dissolved in the early 2000s when it was brought out by Universal.

Your Eyes 4:24
Let Love Decide 4:38
Heartbeat 4:16
Back In Your Arms 2:48

Vicki Austin: Demo (Promo EP) (Mianvi Music, 199x)

I don't know for certain but I believe this artist originally featured on a 1991 song by Ronnie Dyson. The song was a classic soul record but it seems she was taking her own career down a slightly different path. The cassette contains 2 songs Cryin' (written and recorded in 1991) and I Confess (from 1994.) Both tracks could pass as AC (adult contemporary) pop music although the first one is dressed like a quintessential 90s soul ballad.

Cryin' 4:42
I Confess 5:05

Friday, April 22, 2016

Zobbie Music: Kiss It/Dream On (Promo CDr) (Krunchtime Productions, 200x)

A further two song demo from an obscure female artist. I can't find a scrap of information on her but she appears to be produced by Krunch Time Production, a traveling/performing band based out of Chicago, IL which is still quite active. The vocals are very neo-soulish but the music is a mixture of 'outsider' modern soul and contemporary R&B.

Kiss It 4:42
Dream On 4:41

Friday, April 15, 2016

Porschia: The Apology/Get Ready (Promo CDr) (Self-Released, 200x)

A private demo from yet another Illinois artist and one that I believe originally originated from Savannah, GA. I don't know for certain but the artist may or may not be Christian artist Porschia Mitchell although her name is listed as Porschia Hill on this 2-song demo. Not date of recording but possibly early 2000s judging by the neo-soulish, minimal sound...

The Apology 2:59
Get Ready 3:11

Lavondra: Give A Little (CDM) (Coppersun Records, 1998)

One and only single from Chi-Town's Lavondra Hinton, who with polished production from M-Doc and his Indasoul team, produced this smooth mid-tempo bomb in 1998. Unfortunately this seems to be the only thing they ever did together but it does come backed with a pretty tight talk box remix...

Give A Little (Radio Mix) 4:35
Give A Little (LP Mix) 5:14
Give A Little (Midnight Mix) 5:13

Col'Ta: The One (CDM) (M.O.B. Records, 2002)

One and only release from Col'Ta, a further independent Chi-Town artist I know little about but she did perform 3 songs on a 2000 compilation album dedicated to the Chicago stepping movement. It seems she recorded and released this single - a smooth, jazzy number - a few years later but I don't know if her proposed debut album Naive was ever released or not.

Many thanks again to Stuart for this contribution.

Radio Mix 3:39
Club Mix 3:50
Instrumental 3:48

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Nia: Next In Line - The Project (Self-Released, 2006)

Extremely hard to find debut release from Nia (real name: Stephanie Hearon), an independent singer-songwriter out of Chicago who is still quite active in the local music circuit. A jazzy, polished blend of neo soul and mid-2000s electronic R&B, comparisons can be drawn with early work by Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Mya and others. Mainly produced by local producers with the exception of track 3 Journey which was produced by Hi-Tek and track 8 Let's Be Real which uses the instrumental to I Still Love You by The Neptunes and 702. The above album is currently out of print and unavailable anywhere but fortunately, Hearon is still doing her thing and her latest work of art Gym Shoes is available to download via the digital service of your choice.

Intro - Next In Line 1:59
Can't Change UR Mind F/I.D. 3:49
Journey 3:36
Get Away F/Malik Yusef 5:48
Hard 4:35
Step On 3:57
Let It Ride 3:28
Let's Be Real 4:49
I've Decided F/ZZAJE' 6:26

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tiffany Villarreal: S/T (JP Retail) (Universal Records, 2004)

Along with Crystal Sierra, here is a further Hispanic diva who got shelved during the 2000s. Though more of a Brandy/Monica alternative, she had a great voice and a great team of producers behind her. Sadly she never got the promotion that her label mates JoJo and Lumidee got and her debut CD ended up being a Japanese import only. Unfortunately no stranger to failed attempts, she originally began her career in 1996

Monday, April 11, 2016

Syleena Johnson: Love Hangover (Twilight Records, 1998)

Before she began writing the chapters of her life, not many people know that Johnson was already a fledgling vocalist in the underground. Between 1995 and 1998 she had already released two albums via independent labels; the first - released in 1995 - was a joint effort between herself and her father, blues musician Syl Johnson, while the second - her official debut - was released in 1998. Both CDs contained modern but true-to-form takes on classic soul songs but her debut especially was a tour de force, containing electrifying & ethereal renditions of Love Hangover, Baby I'm Scared Of You, So Confused and other rare soul gems. She is as she always was: the queen of modern soul. Currently out-of-print and unavailable digitally, many thanks once again to my good buddy Stuart for an ORIGINAL COPY ;-)

Baby I'm Scared Of You 5:58
Love Hangover 4:27
Extac 5:05
Can't Get Over You 4:22
It Don't Matter 5:36
Keep Holding On 4:07
So Confused 5:17
You're Not The Man 5:34
Please Don't Stop 5:54
Touch Me Tonight 5:20

La La: Another Day In A Blue Reality (EP) (Commited Records, 1999)

Possibly from Philly, I am unsure whether this artist is the same La La as was signed to Motown Records in the early 90s but one of the producers here (and a guest vocalist) Aaron Washington has produced & written for Gina Thompson before. Mainly mid 90s smooth contemporary R&B with a touch of neo soul on track 4. 

Intro: Mommy makes It Better 1:18
Another Day 4:16
I've Been Waiting 2:45
I Miss You 2:32
Words Get In The Way 3:37
True Love ft. Aaron Washington 3:28

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Urmadré: In And Out Of My Love (Cassette Single) (Esenem Records, 1991)

The final entry in my R&B cassette obscurities section and the sole single from East Coast New Jack Swing/R&B trio Urmadré. Unfortunately I don't know much about them but one member Ursula Herring was formally a member of PA soul/disco group First Choice who were mostly known for the song Let No Man Put Asunder in the 80s. 

In And Out Of My Love 3:44
In And Out Of My Love (Instrumental) 3:44

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Amadeus: Sayin' I Do (Cassette Single) (Hard Pressed Records, 1993)

The penultimate of my cassette obscurities and this time classic early 90s R&B from another Chi-Town artist. Sadly I don't know anything about him but I don't think he is the record producer mostly known for producing Trey Songz and other major label garbage nowadays. I don't know if he ever did anything else but to me this is contemporary R&B in its purest form. I dig the saxophone intro.

Sayin' I Do 4:19
Sayin' I Do (Instrumental) 4:12

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Audra Woodson: The Mood (EP) (Self-Released, 1997)

Further obscure  music from Toledo, Ohio and self-released by the artist herself in 1997. Mainly modern soul/classic old skool R&B, the production isn't too bad but sadly the vocals are slightly off-key in places. Truthfully, I don't know how far the artist got with her musical career but nowadays I believe she is an author of adult fiction. 

The Mood 3:39
Anymore 4:37
Mr Right 4:47
Tonight's The Night 4:30

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

DXP Style: Can You Feel It/You Are My Lady (EP) (Holstick Records & Filmworks, 1992)

A further 90s local release from Atlanta, GA that I know absolutely nothing about. The first track has an uptempo 80s club vibe while the second one is a smooth R&B cut a la Jodeci. There are no pictures but there is more than one person singing so I am inclined to believe this is either a male duo or a group. The  sound is incredibly polished but the record company Holstick Records & Filmworks doesn't appear to exist anywhere outside of this sole release and none of the people involved turn up any leads either. Very obscure R&B.

Just remember where u heard it first.

Can You Feel It - Vocal 4:27
Can You Feel It - Instrumental 4:21
You Are My Lady 3:11

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Velosity: It's Like This, It's Like That (EP) (Trianta Records, 1990)

A further obscure item from the south, this time an old skool hip hop and R&B duo from Atlanta, GA. Sadly I know absolutely nothing about them or the other people involved but the main track, which appears to feature an unaccredited sample from Rufus & Chaka Khan's 1982 hit Ain't Nobody, is very upbeat while the B-side is more of a slow jam. Both are mostly golden age hip hop though the B-side does feature some vocals as well. 

Like This, Like That (Vocal) 3:12
Like This, Like That (Instrumental) 3:40
Do You Wanna Go (Vocal) 3:50
Do You Wanna Go (Instrumental) 3:21

Thomas Hunter: Forever Alone "I'll Forget About You" (Cassette Single) (Frenz Productions, 1996)

Rare modern soul out of the Carolinas with Thomas Hunter, who self-released an album in 2009 titled Eros. The album can be found easily but this early recording - recorded well over a decade before - is virtually impossible to find. No information on the label Frenz Productions but they were based out of Orangeburg, SC. 

Forever Alone 4:41
Forever Alone (Instrumental) 4:45

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Leslie Rochelle: I'm Whipped (CDM) (ENL Records, 1999)

Obscure R&B out of Detroit, MI with Leslie Rochelle who is now a backing singer for reggae-soul band Leon & The Peoples. Mainly funky R&B with a steady beat, I don't know if this is a demo or not but the overall sound is very DIY. Features three alternate takes of the title track featuring different instrumentation and vocalizations. No date of release but possibly 1999 as sourced from the front cover...

I'm Whipped 4:31
I'm Whipped II 4:44
I'm Whipped 4:38