DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

CD Review: Angel Rissoff Serves Up a Mean ‘Nu Soul Stew’

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on September 9, 2008

Genre: Soul

For the past 18 months, soul singer Angel Rissoff has been slow cookin’ a delicious concoction of classic soul, R&B, blues and jump. And now, from the mean streets of NYC comes Nu Soul Stew.

“This is the music I’ve always played, ” says Angel, who by the way came by his name during his early gang affiliations. “The first time I saw Elvis on TV, it got me crazy. Something clicked in my head … Little Richard … I found a record and played it over and over and over until my uncle who lived below us came upstairs and broke it.

“Growing up, I loved Chuck Berry, the Moon Glows, James Brown, the Everly Brothers. When I was 12 or 13, the music changed, got homogenized. Bobby Rydell took over. I was in a singing group when the Beatles came out, but I never played the British stuff. I’ve always been into this music — soul, old R&B, blues, jump, doo wop.

” I think of lot of the names are harmful. I hate the term ‘doo wop.’ I think ‘beach music’ is misleading; people think it’s surf music. If you go down the charts, you’ll find a bit of everything. That’s why the CD is ‘Nu Soul Stew.’ It all comes from the same pot.”

The just-released 13-track CD includes three originals. “I had more,” Angel laughed, “But I’m not sure if people are ready for them. I chose by what I like. The 5 Royales are one of my favorite groups.”

Two tracks on the disc were written by Lowman Pauling, songwriter/guitarist for the ground-breaking 5 Royales: “Think” and “Tears of Joy.” “Think,” which was also covered by James Brown in 1960, is a soulful, hip swivelin’ dance groove, and features uber-talent, Don Wise, on saxophone.

Opening track “Ain’t No Big Thing” is classic Northern soul, written by Gerald Sims of Chess recording group, The Radiants.

The Stax single made popular by William Bell, “Never Like This Before” features Angel and Rickey Godfrey on dual rockin’ lead vocals, and, man, do their voices work well together. When Angel and Rickey played together at the Lowcountry Blues Bash in Charleston earlier this year, event organizer Gary Erwin said, “Rickey Godfrey is the best blues guitarist you’ve never heard of…and Angel sings his ass off!” Rickey is joining Angel for the CD release tour, so you’ll want to catch one of the shows.

On “What Kind of Fool,” originally recorded in 1963 by the Tams, Angel’s versatile voice is front and center.

“With this CD, ” Angel says, “I got a chance to work with the people I want … Rickey Godfrey … Don Wise … David Spinoza, who played the guitar solo on Dr. John’s ‘Right Place;’ guys like Danny Draher from Chicago; George Naha; that’s Barbara Harris from The Toys on ‘One more Heartache.'”

The list of top talents goes on. “For Your Love” features Little Isidore and the Inquisitors. Renowned bass guitarist Johnny Gale also plays on “For Your Love.” New Jersey a cappella group Choice is featured on “Tears of Joy” and that’s Richie Migliacci on “I’m Gonna Forget About You.”
Angel co-wrote “Boogie Down Bronx” with Seth Glassman, his former bandmate from Little Isidore and the Inquisitors. It’s a jumpin’ homage to the artist’s home town, the Big Apple’s northernmost and most infamous borough.

Original tune “Geneve” was inspired by five magically sweet weeks in Switzerland. The third original, “Snows in July” is about a guy searching for the right girl (Angel calls it a caricature of himself).

The closer is Sam Cooke’s “I’m Gonna Forget About You.” There’ll be no forgetting this one.

Nu Soul Stew was produced and arranged by Seth Glassman and Angel Rissoff.

Angel doesn’t get down to the Carolinas all that often, so be sure to catch one of his smokin’ performances along the Grand Strand. There will be an open-to-the-public CD release party at J.B. Pivots (1662 Savannah Hwy South) in Charleston starting at 9 p.m on Thursday, June 26. The party moves to the Spanish Galleon (98 N. Ocean Blvd, North Myrtle Beach) on Friday, June 27 and at Chasers (601 Ocean Drive) on Oak Island, NC on Saturday, June 28, 9:30 p.m.

This review is also being published in the entertainment section of Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine, issue June 19, 2008.

Angel Rissoff website


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