Unless you’ve been living in a cave over the past ten years or so, you’d likely know that soul music has seen quite a resurgence in popularity as contemporary acts have revived and taken up the beloved old school sound; however, it’s also been responsible for the resurrection of the careers of several (sadly) forgotten artists who had toiled about in obscurity including Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Chuck Brown, Lee Fields and several others. Similar to both Bradley and Fields, Sonny Knight released a single with a backing band The Cymbols back in 1965 that was a regional hit but music took a back seat to three-year stint in the Army. He spent a few years in the Bay Area before returning back to Minnesota in the 70s when he joined the cult-favorite funk group Haze. And when Haze broke up, Knight had considered himself retired form music and started a full-time job as a truck driver. And although he may have thought he was forgotten, that first single Knight recorded back in 1965 had become a prized collector’s items among R&B record collectors.
in the 90s vocalists Monroe Wright and Maurice Young, who were members of the Twin Cities soul act, The Valdons, were revived to celebrate Secret Stash Records’ Twin Cities Funk & Soul Compilation, they had recruited Knight as a member.
interestingly, after several months of working together on shows to support Twin Cities Funk & Soul, Knight and Secret Stash founder and in-house drummer Eric Foss formed Sonny Knight and the Lakers. Within a few weeks they and begun playing gigs and within a few months of playing together the band set to record a full-length album.
With the release of his debut album, I’m Still Here recorded in a basement studio located a few blocks from the basement studio beneath the long shuttered Minneapolis-based record store where he recorded his first single nearly 50 hearts ago, Sonny Knight may join his contemporaries in finally receiving the acclaim he should have had so long ago. The album, which was released back in April has been released to critical acclaim for it’s retro soul sound as you’ll hear on album single "Hey Girl.“ The single features Sonny Knight lustily calling after a woman whose dance moves are driving him so crazy that he’s afraid of getting rejected and yet he has to make some kind of move – and it’s done with an old school charm. But much like the soul of G.E.D. Soul Records, the single feels and sounds as though it captures Knight and his backing band the Lakers jamming at a live show, complete with Knight calling after his band to play loose but muscular solos that will likely bring to mind the sound of Muscle Shoals and Memphis. And i guarantee that you will be dancing to this.
You can check out Mr. Knight and his Lakers at the Knitting Factory Thursday night. It should be a great night of funky soul, so check out ticket information here: