Review from Spain: I have not yet decided if Angel Rissoff was born
to sing soul or if it was soul music that was born to be sung by Angel
Rissoff. We are facing one of the best, unique and stunning voices of
white soul. Angel has nothing to envy to British singer Tom Jones or
other greatest voices of soul music. In this new album Rissoff captivates
and catches us again with the privileged gift Lord has given him to be enjoyed,
not only by Angel himself, but also to be shared with all those people who love
music, either soul, blues or rhythm and blues styles Rissoff perfectly knows with
a natural control few singers have. Backed by a bunch of first class musicians, Angel
Rissoff gives us thirteen new songs that move from northern to southern soul, a formula
that totally suits with his vocal skills, following the path and vocal features of artists
like J.J. Barnes, Bobby Freeman, Major Harris or even Arthur Alexander, Solomon Burke,
James Carr or Don Covay among others. The cd opens with an impressive
version of Willie Dixon’s blues, "29 Ways" that will gradually let you imagine what you will
find along the whole cd. GREAT.
Flying Under the Radar
CD Review: Angel Rissoff Serves Up a Mean ‘Nu Soul Stew’
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.
to that small but select group of soul singers who value the great American soul and R&B
traditions while keeping their special musical language crisp and fresh. In an age
dominated by artifice and empty gesture, Angel sings in an easeful manner of someone with
an intimate understanding of the word “soulfulness.” Angel has a special affinity for
time-honored material from black vocal groups, cuts right to the emotional core, and his
songs pulsate with the joy of rediscovery.
With his deeply resonant voice dipping, swooping and vaulting ever so purposefully, he
adopted the name “Little Leopold” to sing lead on Little Isadore & the Inquisitors’ smash
single "Harlem Hit Parade."
From 1999 to 2007, Angel was a member of the acclaimed vocal group, Kenny Vance and The
Planotones. As exemplified by their signature song Looking For An Echo, their material
is influenced by the music of the 50’s and 60’s, but they consistently bring a unique and
musically sophisticated point of view. In this sense they are classicists, opening the
eyes of a new generation to a rich historical musical style.
Angel is a Bronx, New York native. He started singing R&B on street corners when he was
twelve, and joined his first band, The Soul Masters, as bass player in 1970. His
distinctive vocal style is a result of an array of influences; doo-wop’s Nolan Strong,
jazz balladeers, Arthur Prysock and Billy Eckstine, soul giants, Howard Tate, Don Covay,
Harvey Fuqua and the blue-eyed soul of Young Rascals, Felix Cavaliere.
Angel has been active in soul, R&B
and rock circles as well as in the beach music scene, where he is known as The Bronx
Bomber of Soul. He was lead singer for the Florida-based band, Kollektion, and made an
album as part of the critically acclaimed group, Diamond, Angel and Crooks. He also
fronted the GC Dangerous band with original Rascal, Gene Cornish on guitar. He played with
the legendary Chuck Berry, and has worked with such notables as Dion, Matt Guitar Murphy,
Bobby Byrd, Robbin Ford, Darlene Love, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Jackson, Paul Schaffer, The
Blues Image, and Harvey Fuqua and The New Rascals.
Among other current performaces and appearances Angel jams with John "Ratso" Gerardi as a
duo as well a member of MARS Project with Ratso and Mike Marble.
He also is performing Nu Soul Stories with Johnny Gale, Seth Glassman aka Junior
Mintz and Tony Gallino.
In 2006, Angel’s CD, "Where Have You Been," was nominated for Best Solo Album of the Year
at the Carolina Beach Awards, and recognized as one of the best R&B records of the year by
soul-jazz producer, Bob Porter. The track, "I Want a Love I Can See," was nominated for
National Dance/Shag Song.
Play "I Want a Love I