The Soul of the Net

21st Century Soul

The Soul of the Net is in archive mode.

Here are some recommendations for real soul released between the years 2000 to 2008.

Special thanks to David Cole, whose In The Basement  publication is my main source of information for this type of music - and for soul CD releases of all eras.

Eli Paperboy Reed is - the best thing in soul music since WIlson Pickett.
Here are some links to help you on your way to get into the Paperboy Groove:
Some Youtube clips:
Take my love with you, live at the Continental Club, Austin, Texas (2007)
Eli playing guitar and singing Poor side of town at Frist Act Guitar Studio (2008)
Doing William Bell's Every day will be like a holiday, at the Paradiso, Amsterdam (2008)
Tribute to Wilson Pickett - doing the Falcons' I found a love (2006s) 


Sure hope you mean it - Raphael Saadiq (Columbia) * 2008


Former Tony! Toni! Tone! member came up with a Motownesque neo soul album - The Way I See It in late 2008. This is the opening track off the album, setting the pace for most of the rest of the tracks. We are talking mainstream US R&B success her - the album peaked within the top 20 in the general Billboard album charts and top 10 in the R&B album charts.


Let's talk it over - Robert Peckman feat. Johnny Daye (Bonedog CD) * 2007

Robert Peckman is a blue eyed soul veteran, and on his Stirrin' Up Bees CD, he invited my favorite blue eyed soul artist of the 60's, Johnny Daye, the "Stay baby stay" man, to sing on a couple of tracks. I believe this is Johnny's first recording in almost forty years.

A man nust stand for something - Robert Peckman  (Bonedog CD) * 2007

Off the Stirrin' Up Bees CD, Robert Peckman and the band sounding soulful on song that could have been written by Joe Tex.

Could have been - Lee Fields (Daptone vinyl 45) * 2006

Now you know I sometime carry on about the arrangements of current soul not being good enough; when it comes to Daptone, I have no complaints. And when Daptone take a moment off their funky production line (not that I have anything against funky!) to record a ballad, the result is often brilliant, as is the case on this recording, released as a good old vinyl single. Lee Fields needs no introduction; he's been around for several decades, sounding like a James Brown protege; indeed, when the horns come in subtly after a guitar led beginning, it reminded mse a lot of the James Brown produced recording of "I'll work it out" by James Crawford.

The Heart - Hermon Hitson (Sweet Rose Express  CD) * 2006
Yes, the man who gave us one of Deep Soul's greatest moments "You are too much for the human heart" as well as couple of Northern Soul dance floor sounds, is back with a clasic current ballad in the southern soul chitlin' circuit style, recorded in Atlanta for his own label. See a review of the CD on Colin Dilnot's blog.

Leavin' - Natalie Cole (Verve CD ) * 2006
The title track of this CD is one of the most soulful recordings Nat King's daughter has ever made. The first part is semi-spoken, reminiscent of great early 70's rap ballads ('rap' in its original scense became the genre it is today), and then on the second part Natalie gives it all she got, over a heavy organ-led accompaniment.

Janiva Magness - You Were Never Mine (NorthernBlues CD) * 2006
Continuing the grand tradition of blue eyed soul, Janiva delivers this excellent ballad in a most commanding manner. From the opening bars this is classic deep soul all the way - music, vocals and lyrics -"I never really lost you, never lost you, you were never mine". Janiva is generally more of a blues artist than a soul one. Hear this track and some other sounds on the sounds page on her site .

Up to the mountain - Solomon Burke (Shout! Factory CD ) * 2006

It's great to get a new Solomon Burke album, Nashville, which is, as its title suggests, a country album. From this album, I've chosen a track with an accoustic guitar led arrangement that is not straight country. Solomon Burke has recorded over many accoustic guitar led backing tracks; many Bert Berns productions come to mind, and also his fine version of "What am I living for" on the Proud Mary LP, so this is yet another link in his long and formidable chain. Even if this is not really on par with his greatest recordings, the soulfulness of the man still shines through.

When hearts grow cold - Candi Staton (Astralwerks CD) * 2006

I didn't share the excited reception of many southern soul fans for Candi's "His Hands" CD, but still I can't avoid such an event altogether; so here's the best track off that CD IMHO; her voice is beautiful as ever, but as the case is with many current recordings, the arrangement is too rock oriented and does not have the subtelty of a real southern soul sound.

A perfect kind of love - Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators (Timmion CD) * 2005

It's been a long time since I heard a new release that sounded like Northern Soul. Well, this is not exactly the real stuff, but it comes close enough to merit inclusion on this page, and, in a way, predicts Amy Winehouse's sound that became a huge success a coupld of years later.

When you love somebody - Leela James (Warner Brothers CD) * 2005

I first heard this in my car on a mainstream radio station while driving my car with my family; as the first few bars played I stopped the conversation and listened with disbelief - is this really a new mainstream soul release? Well, yes; it's on Leela James's debut CD, A Change Is Gonna Come. And it's not a coincidence, too; here's an exceprt from Leela's Wikipedia entry: "In the lyrics to the album's lead single, entitled "Music", James laments the current state of contemporary popular music... while pleading for the return of the artistry, dedication, and sincerity displayed by musicians of earlier decades". This particular song is a spin-off to Blood Sweat and Tears' I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know. When I first heard it, I thought it was a full fledged cover and I was waiting for the phrase "I could be president of General Motors", but it didn't arrive; then I realized that it's not exactly the same song.  But then, GM's stock didn't do too well from 1968 till today, so maybe the phrase isn't relevant anymore anyway.

Crying to do - Willie Walker & the Butanes (One on One CD) * 2004

From his  Right Where I Belong CD. The Goldwax man with a new album, which is full of real soul all the way. My only complaint is that the tracks are a bit long; for my own listening, I edit them to get shorter tracks.

So called friends - Roscoe Robinson (Sound Mindz CD) * 2004

The great Roscoe Robinson, one of Soul Music's finest vocalists, in great vocal form, with a solid song, albeit a tighter arrangement would have made this one even better.

Have I told you lately - William Bell (Evidence CD) * 2003
William Bell's contribution to Vanthology, the tribute CD to Van Morrison, comrpising of soul artists' covers to Van Morrison compositions. William Bell's beautiful, tenderly soulful singing over a tasteful arrangement makes this, to me, the best track of the album. The fact that the line "Have I told you lately that I love you" is shared between William Bell's wonderful "I forgot to be your lover" and this Van Morrison song makes this even more touching.

Mel Waiters - Your kitchen was closed (Waldoxy CD) * 2003
One of the best southern chitlin' circuit releases of the  21st century. Jumpy, catchy rhythm, and typical southern lyrics "your kitchen was closed baby, so don't worry 'bout where I eat".

I can't stop - Al Green (Blue Note CD) * 2003

Al Green reunited with Willie Mitchell for the "I Can't Stop" album - and the result is no way disappointing; while this midempo track is in the mood of most his 70's hit, just like his 70's Willie Mitchell produced albums, there's plenty more to find in the album, including some fine ballads.

I kissed her gone - Clay Hammond (Desert Sounds CD) * 2003

Nice to see the "You Messed Up My Mind" man next to a 2003 release, and a soulful one at that. Another classic soul legend, Leon Haywood, is involved in the production, on the mixing side.

Please no more - Etta James (Private Music CD) * 2003

From her CD "Let's Roll" - her most southern soul sounding track off that ablum.

Thru the winter -  Bettye LaVette (Blues Express CD) * 2003

A ballad for a rainy day

Put That Woman First - Jaheim (Warner Bros. CD) * 2002

Jaheim is a mainstream current soul artist, but he injects much more true feeling and soul to his records than most of his contemporaries. This is take-off on William Bell's "I forgot to be your lover", complete with some sampling from the original record, is a case in point.

If you let me love you - Michael B. Sutton (Mibren CD) * 2002

From his CD "Hopeless Romantic" - not exactly traditional southern soul, yet a modern classic that deserves inclusion on any contemporary Real Soul playlist. Find out more about it on

  Don't give up on me - Solomon Burke (Fat Possum CD) * 2002

A new Dann Penn contribution for Solomon Burke's 2002 album.

I love being in love with you - Floyd Taylor (Malaco CD) * 2002

Johnnie's son - no mistaking that!

I don't wanna cry - Jo Jo Benson (Alpine CD) * 2001

Peggy can still sing - and so can Jo Jo! Soulful version of the Chuck Jackson classic.

Put it on paper - Ann Nesby and Al Green - Put It on Paper (Time Child CD) * 2002

Lipstick on his pants - Sheba Potts - Wright - Sheba (Ecko CD) * 2001

Two different people - J. Blackfoot with Ann Hines - Same Time Same Place (Basix CD) * 2001

I have never loved no one like I love you - Jimmy Lewis - That Baby Ain't Black Enough (Miss Butch CD) * 2001

I caught you - David Brinston - Fly Right (Susie Q CD) * 2001

Trapped - Carl Sims - M & M Man  (Waldoxy CD) * 2001

Guilty of loving you - Oscar Toney Jr. - Gulity of loving you (BGR CD) * 2001

Keep love alive - Oscar Toney Jr. - Gulity of loving you (BGR CD) * 2001

California girl - Oscar Toney Jr. - Gulity of loving you (BGR CD) * 2001

What a nice comeback from Mr. Toney - and nice of him to revive this Eddie Floyd beauty, isn't it?

I remember J. T. - Ernie Johnson - Squeeze it (Phat Sound CD) * 2001

Johnnie didn't know - Chuck Colbert - You Lied To Me (Mardi Gras CD) * 2000

Trinute to Johnnie Taylor - Tyrone Davis (Malaco CD) * 2000

Right thang, wrong man - Jackie Neal - Lookin' for a Sweet Thang  (Backstreet CD)* 2000

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