It’s a collaboration of the top female beach music voices ranging from young to old(er). The Queens of Southern Soul is a project between thirteen performers throughout the Southeast with unique voices and styles coming together to create one album titled Back by Popular Demand. It began last year and has been slowly picking up steam and also being played on Shag City USA.
The album begins with the title track and the vocals of all thirteen women. The following tracks let each woman show off their pipes individually, starting with Make Me Yours by Susan Trexler, who has been performing professionally since 1972 and has been named “Female Vocalist of the Year” three times by Carolina Beach Music Awards. Molly Askins gets a little more upbeat with Save Me. Askins has also been named “Female Vocalist of the Year” five times and has also sang jingles for companies like Coke, K-Mart, and Mattel Toys. Then it gets slowed back down with I’m Glad There is You by Linda Little, who has performed with artists from the Motown family and was mentored by Shelley Burger and Fuller Gordy.
One of the newest members of Queens of Southern Soul is April Amick. Her track Missing You had me tapping my toes in the office. She has had five nominations for “Female Vocalist of the Year” and has put out a solo album. Rachel Tripp has been singing and acting since the age of two and it shows off in her song Under Your Spell. Not all of these songs are my cup of tea, but one I would put on my iPod is Somethings Got a Hold on Me by Taylor Manning. At the age of 18, she was the youngest person to ever be nominated for “Songwriter of the Year.” And then there is Rhonda McDaniel, with Don’t Wait Around, who has also been performing her whole life. McDaniel has been nominated for “Female Vocalist” each year since 2004.
My favorite was the bluesy track It Don’t Matter to Me by Christina Cooper. She sang her first song with Tommy back in 2008 and has been with the band ever since. If It’s the Last Thing I Do is sung by the experienced Vicki Skinner. She has been performing since 1966 and has been the lead singer of more than 12 groups.
First Impressions is performed by the woman who is known as the “Original Carolina Girl” and is the daughter of the “Father of Beach Music” Jackie Gore. Terri Gore has received nine CAMMY awards including: “Female Vocalist of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” and “Collaboration of the Year.” Pam Russell is influenced by Janis Joplin, Etta James, and Tina Turner. Those influences show in her track What if. The second to last song It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings gets a little more up-tempo and country with Karen Clayton. She joined the beach music family when she became the lead vocalist of the Castaways in 2005. Finally, the album closes with the soulful Oh Darling by Julie Thompson, daughter of the beach music legend, Big John Thompson.
Beach music may not be for everyone, but I guarantee anyone can find a song they like from this compilation of talented women.