The Soul Of John Black

The Soul Of John Black
Good Thang

2011, Yellow Dog Records

By Lady K
October 2011

Luckily, the music on Good Thang isn’t as confusing as the artist’s name. Evidently John “JB” Bigham has multiple-personalities, including at least one who’s a musician – at least on this album. The alter-ego’s name is NOT John Bigham, NOT JB, NOT John Black, but The Soul of John Black (clerks in music shops/departments must be having a helluva time trying to figure out where to stack these CDs). Obviously ‘Lady K’ is not about to criticize anyone using a catchy pen-name, but at least ‘Lady K’ makes sense (to me). So, John Bigham, JB, John Black, aka The Soul, wrote all of the tunes on Good Thang, although Christopher Thomas had some input on “How Can I?” and “New York to LA.” “JB” also performs lead vocals and provided ALL of the impressive guitar work. Other band members include Oliver Charles on drums, Adam McDougall on keyboards, with background vocals provided by Jonell Kennedy and Nikka Costa (on “New York to LA”).

Lady K understands that there are blues purists out there who might not enjoy this album, but she will allow that there’s room for a little soulful funk, mixed with the blues – on occasion. Good Thang is fun, bluesy, soulful and innovative. The first track sets the theme: “Digital Blues” is very funky, with a little hip-hop tempo going on and definitely a look at life and love in the digital world. The tune is about being so involved with the digitals that he’s hypnotized – all he needs is his computer, AND Robot Sadie. He says “I don’t see you anymore, sure wish you was knockin’ on my door,” but at least with his flesh and blood lady gone, Robot Sadie is there for him!

The title tune, “Good Thang” is an upbeat number, celebrating a human-to-human relationship; telling the world he’s happy and that he’s no longer available to the pleasures of the single life – there’s a “Good Thang” at home. “How Can I” is a very sexy (think Marvin Gaye), slow-ish tune, with the singer imaging many romantic settings meant to win a heart: “You and me, a fireplace by the sea, How can I get you to love me?”

Lady K’s favorite track is “Strawberry Lady” – the extra background vocals give this tune a toe-tapping sound with both lyrics and music making it memorable and dance-worthy – “Strawberry Lady, won’t you be my baby? I’m strawberry worthy. You got a way to make a stray cat come crawlin’ on his knees.” And “Lil Mama’s In the Kitchen” is a very cool song about the transitions of life, and being all grown up. “Lil Mama” believes in him and his ability to provide for her and their coming baby.

Good Thang is a fun listen, combining blues, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and lots of funk – it sorta multi-tasks!

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