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Music: Wiley and the Checkmates

By Steve Rosen · April 14th, 2009 · CityBeat Recommends
“Soul Music will never die,” proclaims Herbert Wiley, a veteran of a 1960s-era Southern Soul band now staging an improbable comeback.

And indeed, he makes a very good point. Originated by black singers who brought the fervor, spirit and “testifyin’” of Gospel to secular concerns, it was as much a part of the soundtrack of the 1960s as Surf Music, Motown, Beatlemania or Folk Rock.

Think Ray Charles, King Records’ James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Aretha and more.

Wiley and the Checkmates from Oxford, Miss. are touring as an eight-piece with Wiley and a younger woman, Amber Knicole, handling the singing. They have scheduled two free shows at The Comet in Northside – this Thursday and again on May 15.

For 66-year-old Herbert Wiley, this second time around may become much bigger than the first. In 1960, not long out of high school, he formed the first Checkmates, a six-piece band that became club favorites in Mississippi and Memphis and played throughout the South.

Read Steven Rosen's interview with Wiley here.



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