words & photos by Jacob Blickenstaff
Eli 'Paperboy' Reed and Barbara Lynn @ The Bell House
The 1st Brooklyn Soul Festival was a great success. Sell out crowd on the 1st night and nearly so on the second. The crowd was a nice mix of the soul intelligentsia, older music fans and twenty-somethings out to hear some good music. Both backing bands, Eli Reed and the True Loves and the Sweet Divines/Divine Soul Rhythm Band did a phenomenal job bringing the groove and nuance out of a large range of material with obvious love and attention. That set the stage for the artists - Hermon Hitson, Roscoe Robinson and Barbara Lynn on the first night and Maxine Brown and Otis Clay on the second - to shine brightly and deliver stunning performances.
One of the great highlights for me (among many) was Maxine Brown performing a gorgeous take on "Piece of My Heart" - the song originally performed by Erma Franklin, then Janis Joplin, and then interpreted again by Ms. Brown around the same time. If felt as if the whole room was singing along.
The music at the festival was able to connect the different groups and ages in attendance as well as the artists themselves. Many musicians who had played previous nights at the monthly series Dig Deeper were in attendance. Dean Parrish, Lenis Guess, Otis Clay (on the night before he performed) and Baby Washington were all enjoying themselves, watching each other perform with respect and reverence.
The music of the festival spanned blues, gritty funk, Brill Building craft, Hi Rhythm grit, gospel raves and plaintive ballads - and most importantly connected with the audience as great music of the here and now.
More pictures from the first night, below...
back stage with the True Loves
Otis Clay (2nd night performer), Roscoe Robinson and Hermon Hitson
Otis and Roscoe
Roscoe and Otis
Roscoe, Otis, Hermon
Attis Jerrell Clopton, drummer
True Loves Horns
Roscoe and Hermon watching from the side
All 3 joined for the finale, Ray Charles' 'What I Say '
Pictures from Night Two coming soon.