Best known for such sassy, early-70s r&b crossovers as “Trapped by a Thing Called Love” and “Now Run and Tell That,” LaSalle currently reigns over what's left of the chitlin circuit as “queen of soul-blues.” Unlike virtually every other artist in the genre, she rejects synths and the like, working with a horn-heavy band made up entirely of “real” instruments. She has a full, flexible voice that's deepened some since her salad days, and she can squeeze every drop of emotion out of a melody (witness the stirring soul ballad “Hold On Tight”). She's also mastered that old-school blues double-entendre; the shuffling title song, rest assured, is not really about gas prices. “Mississippi Woman” is a strutting cover of Charles Wilson's regional hit, and Denise's “Delta Blues” mix reprises with a honking harp and sizzling slide that takes the song way down home. The swaggering “Working on Beale Street and Crying” is just as earthy. Denise, who wrote or co-wrote six of her ten songs, can turn some nifty lines, too: “I wanted a man/ Someone honest and true/ So I prayed to heaven/ And hell gave me you.”
By John Morthland on 11.01.11 in Spotlights
For years, the Chitlin' Circuit - the network of mostly-Southern, mostly-rural clubs where black artists performed from the 1930s into the '60s - has been an elusive element in music history, often referred to but rarely...
By John Morthland on 11.12.14 in Features
The R&B electric guitarist topped charts and broke gender barriers in the '60s.
By Charlotte Richardson Andrews on 10.17.14 in Features
Elaine Constantine, director of 'Northern Soul', discusses homemade tattoos, gender politics and the dance floor as a place of liberation.
By Claire Lobenfeld on 10.08.14 in News
Fans of Frank Ocean and Miguel who have been jonesing for new music from them can find solace in Dirty Laundry, the upcoming EP from Toronto R&B singer Ben Stevenson. Its lead track, "Summer Dealer," was produced by Nath...