Stan Mosley | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Stan Mosley


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When he began performing in the late 60s, still in his teens, Chicago native Stan Mosley dreamed of making it big singing his own songs. But after more than two decades working the midwestern blues and R & B circuits--mostly performing other people's hits--and a failed early-90s solo disc for a small local imprint, he was convinced that his only hope for success was as a songwriter. In 1997, Mosley traveled to Mississippi to sell some material to Malaco, the country's premier black-oriented soul-blues label, and Malaco president Tommy Couch, impressed by Mosley's grainy, Bobby Womack-influenced vocals, hired him on the spot--as a singer. Mosley's tune "Makes You Wanna Cry," from his debut for Malaco, The Soul Singer, got some airplay around Chicago, but his most successful recordings have been of other people's material. In fact his new album, Souled Out, doesn't contain a single original; Mosley's songs have reached their widest audience not on his own records but in sets by stars like Tyrone Davis and the late Johnnie Taylor. On his current blues-radio hit from Souled Out, "Anybody Seen My Boo," his gritty-sweet imprecations and Malaco's roiling production combine to transform a wry tale of lost love into a minor epic, laced with just enough good humor to keep the mood light. "Who Is He," on the other hand, prickles with tension, as Mosley's coarse, sobbing murmur threatens to erupt into rage at any instant. On the ghetto party anthem "We Be Keepin' It Real," he ascends into a keening, high-tenor wail reminiscent of Al Green, and on "Don't Walk Out" his pleas to a wronged lover evoke the too-late-to-cry desperation of J. Blackfoot's mid-80s hit, "Taxi." Here Mosley will be backed by the tight, versatile Platinum Band, led by guitarist Kenneth "Hollywood" Scott--Chicago's best blues and R & B show band, with a flair for improvisation that could put many an acid jazzer to shame. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage; 773-342-0452.


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