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Soul Survivors

The '70s Soul Revue and The Lone Star Shootout and Gulf Coast Blues Blowout

All told, the four acts that'll be taking the stage at the '70s Soul Revue -- the Stylistics, the Dramatics, the Chi-Lites and the Delfonics -- produced at least a dozen songs that, all those many years ago, inspired you and your lady to snuggle on the love seat, sipping that five-year-old bottle of Thunderbird and trying not to mess up your Afros on the armrests.

It seems like every year, thankfully, a tour like this rolls around to remind people how wondrous and vocally amazing these singers were -- and still are. Hell, they all grew up in the thick of it. Both the Stylistics and the Delfonics arose from that peerless Philadelphia sound, while the Dramatics of Detroit kept sweet R&B alive in the Motor City and the Chi-Lites showed that Chicago wasn't about only rough-and-tumble bluesmen.

These groups have probably helped produce more babies than a workaholic midwife. Let's see, there's "Oh Girl," "Betcha By Golly, Wow," "La-La (Means I Love You)," "Have You Seen Her?" "In the Rain," "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," and the list just goes on and on. What's sad is that in 25 or 30 years, what will folk be reminiscing about? Songs about thongs or pimpin' or being a ride-or-die chick. That ain't right. Perhaps later generations will realize that these classics are the only classics we'll ever have. -- Craig D. Lindsey

Oh, girl, the Chi-Lites are still smooooth after all these years.
Oh, girl, the Chi-Lites are still smooooth after all these years.

The '70s Soul Revue, featuring the Stylistics, the Dramatics, the Chi-Lites and the Delfonics, will be Friday, June 9, at Houston Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway. 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $40. For more information, call (713)988-1020 or (713)629-3700.Lone Star Shootout and Gulf Coast Blues Blowout -- In Juarez, Mexico, from 1957 to 1970, Long John Hunter was known as the "border-town legend." These days he's a legend anywhere and everywhere, cutting records for nationally distributed Alligator Records and touring the country. His stop in Houston this week brings Hunter back to familiar territory, the East Texas turf (specifically the Golden Triangle), where he used to work $7-a-day gigs before relocating to Juarez, where he headed the Lobby Bar house band for 13 years.

Last year Alligator teamed Hunter up with Lonnie Brooks and Phillip Walker to record Lone Star Shootout, the surprise blues hit of the year. All three guitarists started playing in the Beaumont area during the '50s. Together, the trio is a virtual encyclopedia of Texas blues over the last half century. No wonder their CD was the most-played blues album of 1999, according to Living Bluesmagazine; the session is also up for a W.C. Handy Award for Best Blues Album of the Year.

The Lone Star Shootout and Gulf Coast Blues Blowout is Sunday, June 4, at Billy Blues Bar & Grill, 6025 Richmond. Doors open at 3 p.m., and the music starts at 4 p.m. Aside from the three axmen of note, the show also boasts some of the region's best blues artists, including Joe "Guitar" Hughes, Jimmy "T-99" Nelson, Barbara Lynn, Pete Mayes, Calvin Owens and the Ervin Charles Night Riders band. (The late Charles, incidentally, was another extremely talented Golden Triangle blues guitarist, whose star never rose to great heights because he chose to keep his feet firmly planted on Texas soil.) Admission is $25. Proceeds benefit the estate of Ervin Charles, the medical fund for Long John Hunter's wife and the Houston Blues Society's programs, including the Juneteenth Blues Festival revival fund. For more information, call (713)942-9427. -- Aaron Howard

 
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