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Monday, 27 February 2012 03:33


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I would give anything to have lived in the times of Otis Redding, James Brown, Sam Cook, Young Aretha and Tina and others of their time. I’ve watched past television performances and they all radiate this sweaty, passionate essence behind their wails and screams. They also really knew how to MOVE. We live in a time where all artists are little to polished. There’s a lack of letting go in fear of the internet backlash that might surface post performance. Back then, Tina’s hair would whip while her raspy voice belted. Aretha wouldn’t let drops of sweat get in the way of her sexually driven vocals. Otis’ voice would crack and sweat stains would penetrate his three-piece suit…and it was brilliant.

What happened to that passion? What happened to performances like that? They played as if their love and life was at stake. They drove a song to the core of your soul and they did not do it quietly. Luckily, as a teenager many years ago, I came across a band (and a woman) that embodied everything I loved about music and my heroes that have come before them. Even Ike Turner himself attested “(they) Knocked me on my butt, I ain’t seen shit like that since you-know-who”. My dear friends and readers, I present to you the vivacious Café R&B!

I don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to highlight this Los Angeles gem. I came across them when I was a youngster scouring the California blues circuit. I was a regular player at Cozy’s in Sherman Oaks (which has closed down since) and so were they. Many of my peers would recommend I'd see them. They would tell me “you could learn a lot from them darling…” I was hot headed and finally made my way to a show…my life changed from the moment I saw them and lead singer that goes by the name Roach!

Hot damn, they are visually appetizing!! All of them men are dressed nicely in suits, fashioning ties. This makes them rise above your average blues bar band that’s usually dressed in T-shirts and cowboy hats. Then there’s the Roach:

Roach is a vintage goddess. A beautifully curvy black woman fitted tightly in mostly 60’s vintage attire with pointed pumps to match. Once the momentum of the show gets going, it’s likely those shoes won’t stay on. The last finishing touch is a banged, blonde wig, which has become her signature. Looks are a good way to reel you in, but then comes THE VOICE. Her voice is distinctive but true to the art of blues and R&B. Deep, throaty and sultry. She’s got the range and she’s got the grit. She can rock the dance floor as much woe you with a classic ballad. In a fit of passion she looks as if she's a voodoo priestess exercising demons. She’s hypnotizing. She takes the band from the local blues club to the four seasons.

Her partner in crime is Byl Carruthers (thus explaining the band’s name in which the R represents Roach and the B represents Byl). Byl wears many hats: producer, guitarists, band-leader, co-songwriter and husband to Roach (lucky man). It’s safe to say that his guitar playing is just as effective as Roach’s licks. His notes cut deep and the music transforms any room into a hot, sexy juke joint. By the end of the night, Roach gets so deep into the zone, you want to go down the rabbit hole with her.

I strongly encourage you to watch to the clip below because my words can’t explain any longer who much this woman wails and how this bands takes you back to beginning days of rock and roll. It’s gonna make you wanna cut that newly shampooed rug and dance til you’re sore.

"Hound Dog"

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Read 15260 times Last modified on Monday, 27 February 2012 03:44