Contemporary Soul and R&B Vocalists

Exotic DJ is back and better than ever with a new R&B mix! This one does not really have a theme, except for the fact that it contains some of the best classic soul artists and R&B songs in history.

Chante MooreFree

Originally recorded by the legendary Deniece Williams in 1976, Free was masterfully and tastefully remade by songstress Chante Moore. This track appears on the 1994 album, A Love Supreme. Moore’s full track also has a taste of the classic Commodores song, Sail On. Speaking of the Commodores, We will have an entry from Lionel Richie a little later.

Al B. Sure! – Nite & Day

This was the track that introduced Mr. Sure! to the masses. Quincy Jones actually discovered the artist. This track is off the In Effect Mode album from 1988. With his signature falsetto over the New Jack Swing Beats, it was that combination that shot him to superstardom. Al and his cousin, Kyle West, produced the album, and the duo became quite formidable. West also had hits with Tevin Campbell, Donell Jones and Ralph Tresvant just to name a few.

Force MD’s – Love Is A House

Perhaps the ultimate “what could have been” story in the history of R&B. Starting out as a rap group, the Force MD’s transitioned to smooth R&B, and their harmonies were second to none. Love Is A House is off their third album, Touch and Go. At that point, they were then poised for superstardom, then three of the members past away, cutting short what was to be a promising career.

Anita Baker – How Does It Feel

Ever since the song Angel was released, Ms. Baker has been entertaining audiences with her distinctive voice. How does it feel is off the My Everything album from 2004. Superstar creator Barry Eastmond wrote and produced the song, and even though it only peaked at 41 on the Billboard R&B Singles, it is still a fan favorite.

Eugene Wilde – Got To Get You Home Tonight

For me, Eugene Wilde was one of the smoothest voices of the mid 1980’s. It is just a shame that he did not have more hits. One of his best was Got To Get You Home Tonight. It hit number one on the R&B charts in 1985, and the track got a sort of reprieve when Foxy Brown and Blackstreet redid the song in 1996.

RJ’s Latest Arrival – Heaven In Your Arms

RJ’s Latest Arrival’s signature song is Shackles. Talk about some dance funk! Not to be overlooked is their hit slow jam, Heaven In Your Arms.

Tower Of Power – So Very Hard To Go

One of the original funk bands, Tower Of Power burned up concert venues with their electric stage shows. They are also very well known for their stellar horn section. It has been and continues to be one of the best in the business. So Very Hard To Go is by far their best slow jam, and the legendary Lenny Williams is on lead for this song. Dave Koz and the Summer Horns actually did a nice remake with Michael McDonald on lead.

Con Funk Shun – Baby I’m Hooked (Right Into Your Love)

Con Funk Shun hails from Vallejo, California, and they honed their chops by performing all over the Bay Area. They did not see a stage that they did not like, and the performances were high energy and fun. Amidst all of the funk, they did have a few slow jams, and Baby I’m Hooked fits perfectly in this mix.

Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It

I am pretty sure you have not listened to a Tina Turner song in years. This is just to remind you why she is a legend. This is off the 1993 album, Private Dancer, and the track is on the Billboard list of the 500 songs of all time. It was also the 2nd biggest song in 1984. The extended version is just pure gold.

Luther Vandross – I’m Gonna Start Today

Every music mix is better with a Luther Vandross song. I’m Gonna Start Today fits the bill for this mix. The track is off the Power Of Love album.

Brenda Russell – Piano In The Dark

I bet you forgot about this track. Piano In The Dark was one of the top songs of 1988, and it singlehandedly made Brenda Russell a household name. It is off the album Get Here.

Lionel Richie – Love Will Find A Way

Out of all of the hits for Lionel Richie, and there have been several, Love Will Find A Way is probably the grooviest of them all. The track is off the Can’t Slow Down album from 1983. Five singles were released from the album, but Love Will Find A Way was not one of them. I was listening to this song in the car, and I was determined to build a mix around the track.

Freddie Jackson – Nice N Slow

Back in the day, there was always an argument, or actually a conversation about Luther vs Freddie Jackson. It was always a “who you got” situation. I had always enjoyed both artists, as I was happy that I did not need to choose. Well, we have Freddie Jackson here with his entry, Nice N Slow. The track is off the 1988 album, Don’t Let Love Slip Away.

Michael Jackson – Liberian Girl

What, a Michael Jackson song in a smooth R&B Mix? Don’t get it twisted, Mike J had some great slow jams. The Lady In My Life continues to be my personal favorite – BUT Liberian Girl is also a hot track. It is off the BAD album from 1987.

Avant – Joy & Pain

What can you say about Joy & Pain? It was perhaps one of the most important soul songs of the 20th century. Frankie Beverly and Maze is one of the iconic bands of the era. We are switching it up here, with Avant singing lead on this track. This is off Silky Soul Music…An All-Star Tribute To Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. If you have not heard this album, you will need to make some time for this. You have Mint Condition, Mary J Blige, Raheem Devaughn and more with their tributes to the iconic band.

52nd Street – Tell Me (How It Feels)

Now I know you forgot about this track! It has that popular 808 beat that you heard from Loose Ends, Surface, The Controllers and others that used this beat back in the day. 52nd Street originated in the UK and they arrived here around the same time as Soul II Soul and Five Star. This is the long version of Tell Me (How It Feels), and it sounds just as fresh today as it did when it came out in 1985.

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