Somewhere between 1970 and 1980, the lines between blues and soul became blurred. In the urban areas, soul had given way to funk, and the emerging hip-hop and R & B genres, but in rural areas, particularly in the south, blues and soul remained. Production styles changed, the music became more electrified and sequenced, but the emphasis on singers, and on tales of juke joint parties and back-door affairs remained constant. This formula, known today as “Southern Soul” is a remarkable subculture, at once as insular as swamp pop or beach music. Its stars might be unknown outside the subculture, but they perform to packed houses night after night in places like Wetumpka, Holly Springs or Monroe, Louisiana, and O. B. Buchana is one of those rising stars.
His album “It’s My Time”, released in 2009 by Memphis-based Ecko Records, follows the usual formula, with feel-good party songs like “Groove Thang” and “Let’s Dance”, and songs about break-ups or cheating, such as “Looks Like It’s Over” and “We Know It’s Wrong.” Suggestive or even sexually explicit songs, often with the use of double entendre, are a big part of the genre, and Buchana offers those too, with “Did You Put Your Foot In It?” (a duet with Mr. Sam) and “Slow Lick It.” But the naughtiness and partying is suddenly forgotten with the title track “It’s My Time”, a moving soulful ballad that expresses both Buchana’s aspirations as an artist and his appreciation for his fans. The album is closed out by a duet with labelmate Ms. Jody called “One Way Love.” While “It’s My Time” offers little deviation from the accepted southern soul formula, it is a well-conceived and well-performed album, and a perfect introduction to this little-known genre of music.