Marlon Saunders - Concert Review: December 11, 2006

Marlon Saunders
Soul Music for Soul Folk was the mantra for tonight. The Winter Soulstice event at Franks Lounge was Soul event not to be missed. Soul greats both performed and came out to support soul music. Tonight was a gathering of some of the best of the soul scene. Tonight's performers included Marlon Saunders, Allison Crockett, Angela Johnson and Russell Taylor. In the crowd showing their support was Shelly Nicole, Monet, Abby Dobson, TN'T, and Rogiers. The soul music community was present and accounted for on this special night.

            Allison Crockett was the first up and gave a stripped down performance of just two instruments, one being her voice the other being keyboards. A hush fell over the crowd with the emotional delivery of "Since you been gone". The next selection was special treat for the audience because it was a preview on something she is working on for her next album. The song titled "Everything is Beautiful" is a soul moving ballad with lyrics deep and provoking. If this song is any indication of what to expect from Allison's next project than her fans will not be disappointed and she will create many more. Allison went on to perform "I don't know" and end her set with her hit "Like Rain". Allison's emotional performance set the tone for the night of a soul show for soulful folk.

            Russell Taylor was the freshman in this show of soul veterans. Russell showed that he had what it takes to take the soul scene to the next level. Not only is he carrying the touch but added fuel to the fire. Russell open with his funky "Can I Sing", we tapped our toes and nodded our heads to "How Deep". Russell went on to prove why he deserved to be among such indie-soul greats with his Jazzy-Funky-soulful improve that left the crowd breathless. To keep the soul going the crowd was treated to a rendition of Russell's album title track "Somewhere In Between" a heartfelt ballad about following your heart. Closing his set Russell sang a few bars form audience requested song "Lady".

            Angela Johnson with Lisala on background vocals kicked up the funk up a few notches. Opening her original classic "Ordinary Things" the crowd knew that Angela was going to take us for a ride. Oh so funky and way too cool is all that cam to mind as Angela funked out the crowd with bass bumping rendition of "Rescue Me" and "Anything". Angela's funky rendition of "On My Way" sent audience members scrabbling to the CD table for their copy of her album. Angela may have slowed things down a bit with "I'll always Love you" but that jazzy, soulful vibe never lost its momentum. Angela's energy and delivery of "Some kind of Wonderful" and closing song of "No Betta Love" wore the crowd out.

            Marlon Saunders, who was the mastermind behind tonight's soul jam fest, closed out the night with an energetic set. First jam to move the crowd was "Afro Blue My Mind". Marlon flexed his musical muscle with Jazzy ad-libs and riffs that left the crowd wondering how did make that sound. Marlon continued to move the crowd with an Oh-So-Bluesy performance of his original live show hit "Love's Philosophy". Marlon called Angela Johnson to the stage to join him in a scat-filled version of Boz Skaggs "Low Down". Marlon is a instrumental vocalist in which his voice does not sit on top of the instrumentation that backs him but he becomes a part of the band itself. Marlon really brought this talent to the forefront with his rendition of Rose Royce's "I Wanna Get Next to You". The Finale of the night Marlon called on Monet, Angela Johnson, Abby Dobson, TN'T, and Shelly Nicole to belt out an ass shakin' version of Marlon's original "Keep Doing What You Do". It was the perfect evening of singing, dancing, laughing and love a`la soul style. Christmas came early at Franks Lounge this year. Soul music lovers were given the gift of great music.

AyeJay (Da' Muzik Hunta') Spraggins

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