Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wiley & The Checkmates We Call It Soul

The latest CD from the Rabbit Factory featuring Wiley & The Checkmates who are one of the bands at tonight's Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans backing Hermon Hitson, Roscoe Robinson and Ralph Jackson.
They call it soul, and we do too -- a pretty good approximation of older southern soul modes from the 60s and 70s -- served up by a group who really gets it right! The set was recorded at the legendary Playground Studios -- and in Memphis too -- and the overall feel is stripped-down southern soul, without any of the too-glossy, or too-modern touches that show up in other recent proponents of the genre. There's also a nice undercurrent of funk, too -- thanks to some tight backings -- and vocals are by a male and female singer, who shift during the set. Titles include "Up In Heah", "I Did My Part", "I Want Your Love In My Life", "Tryin To Get Next To You", "Have You Been Crying", and "Set Your Mind Free" Dusty Groove
The band consist of Herbert Wiley- vocals, band leader; Matty Crockett - congas, percussion;
Tricanna McGee- vocals; J.D.Mark - guitar; Matt Patton - bass and Anthony Amp Wortham
- drums.
Drop over to their MySpace to listen to tracks. Here's their blurb:
Herbert Wiley formed the Checkmates in his hometown Oxford, Mississippi in 1960. After a dozen years playing a circuit that stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, Wiley quit music to run the family business. After watching the Oxford punk band the Preacher's Kids rehearse in a local storefront, Wiley was inspired to reform the Checkmates in 2002.

Wiley and the The Checkmates have become a force of Southern soul with performances in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and the 2006 Ponderosa Stomp in Memphis, TN., where they backed soul singers Bobby Patterson and Harvey Scales and blues guitarist Fillmore Slim. The Checkmates have been feted in soul and blues magazines around the world and have appeared on the playlists of blues and roots radio programs around the U.S. as well as in England, Holland, Italy, and Argentina.

Wiley and the Checkmates full-length debut CD "Introducing..." and their "Streak-A-Lean" b/w "Deep Shit" 7-inch are available at

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