Sweet Angel and Fifth Element Perform at the Coors Party at the Southern Heritage Classic @EckoRecords

Bands, entertainment, events, music


Coors Beer sponsors a huge party and concert each year at the Southern Heritage Classic, at the far northern end of the Fairgrounds near Central Avenue. Because the mayor and other important city officials attend it, it has traditionally been difficult to get inside the event, as it technically is invitation only. However, this year, a man in a Coors shirt waved me through the gate just in time to see the introduction of WDIA’s Bev Johnson as the announcer. She in turn introduced Ecko Records’ recording artist Sweet Angel, who came out on stage with her band and did a full set of her trademark suggestive blues songs, as well as a demonstration of her saxophone skills. Her performance was followed by that of a band called Fifth Element, which was first-rate and which did a series of Earth, Wind & Fire covers.

WLOK’s Annual Stone Soul Picnic

Bands, entertainment, events, music


By an odd coincidence of tradition, the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival always coincides with another Memphis tradition, radio station WLOK’s Stone Soul Picnic, which is annually held on the Saturday before Labor Day in Tom Lee Park. WLOK used to be one of two Memphis soul stations, with the other being WDIA, which was the first Black radio station in the United States. WDIA sponsored something called the Goodwill Revue, and it is likely that WLOK came up with the Stone Soul Picnic as their station’s equivalent, and since the name is taken from Laura Nyro’s song of the same name which was a hit for the Fifth Dimension in 1968, I expect the event goes back at least that far. Unfortunately, nothing stays the same, and both WLOK and its event are now restricted to gospel music, which to me is kind of sad. Not that I don’t love gospel music, because I do, but one would expect a “Stone Soul Picnic” to incorporate gospel, blues, soul, R & B, and maybe even family-friendly rap. But still, despite the extreme heat, a good crowd was gathered in the park, listening to the Brown Singers on stage when I arrived. Their band musicians were really good, especially the drummer, and I recalled that my homeboy Danny Peterson played drums for the Brown Singers at one time.