One of the specialties of Jazzman Records is focusing in on the obscure and often previously slept on regional based sounds across America. Early last year they released “The Norfolk Sound” by Virginia-based singer, songwriter, arranger, band manager and label owner Lenis Guess.
Despite being a relatively well-known and highly-respected soul/funk musician back in VA, releases such as “Why, Why, Why’d She Leave Me” have reached holy grail funk status and are now are practically impossible to find. The gritty, fast moving, charismatic “Working For My Baby” is guaranteed to immediately fill any funk, soul and RnB dancefloor. Every single track in this collection touches on a different facet of Tidewater talent.
Due to the obscurity of these original releases, while some were celebrated locally when they first came out, most of these incredible funk 45s haven’t been heard outside of the Tidewater region. As a result not only have the vast majority of collectors and soul fans been unable to enjoy the music, but for over 30 years Lenis himself has not had the satisfaction, pride and joy felt, heard and enjoyed by many.
With the help and assistance of Guess’, Jazzman have created a lovely boxset that displays a wide showcase of soulful talent from funky rare grooves to beautiful ballads. Recorded across the ‘60s and ‘70s, with detailed liner notes from exclusive interviews the story behind Lenis Guess, Frank Guida, the Raw Soul band and the entire Norfolk Sound, and how a small-time group of musicians from coastal Virginia came to entrance soul fans and collectors the world over with such a superb yet under-appreciated masterpieces.
Tuck in below and enjoy.
Buy The Norfolk Sound digitally or on vinyl here.