Ruhr Valley Meets Los Angeles – Soul Doctor from Schwerte Records Debut with US Session Legends!
German singer Theo releases his sensational soul album on 21 October 2016!
Live on stage on 26 November in Schwerte and in March 2017 as a special guest of Carl Carlton and his band!
‘Heart Of Soul’ is a real surprise, a gemstone that falls unexpectedly into listeners’ hands. Faithful to the spirit of the 60s and 70s, its authenticity and effervescence arise from its clear affirmation of the here and now. And all with an outstanding professionalism that leaves listeners happy and wanting more.
German soul singer and pianist Theo has recorded twelve songs for his first solo album, and we take it on his word that there could have been even more. The pieces reveal the musician’s immense joy in playing and an incredible flow. This is an excellent studio album that brilliantly sets the stage for the powerfully raw voice of the lead singer and proves his talent as a formidable composer and songwriter. The band that accompanied Theo during his recording session in the famous Ultratone Studio in Los Angeles is a who’s who of American studio musicians, each of them lending a quality seal to this debut album. First off, there is drummer and producer Tony Braunagel, who directed the recording of ‘Heart Of Soul’ and helped achieve the wonderful temperament that is integral to every soul classic in the Great American Soulbook.
Wilson Pickett’s single ‘In The Midnight Hour’ was the single that sparked the singer/pianist’s passion for soul in his youth. From then on, he devoted himself to the genre with heart and soul. His passion ignited, Theo turned towards another calling, studying medicine and taking over his father’s medical practice in his hometown of Schwerte near Dortmund, the Ruhr metropolis. People from the Ruhr region are known for being down to earth, honest and open-minded – qualities that also define Theo as a musician.
He has been the figurehead of the band Soulfingers for more than thirty years, has played many concerts and released several soul albums over the years, some of them under the alias Raoul Vandetta, and has always been a strong proponent of ‘good old soul music’, performing both cover versions and his own compositions.
Before Theo was invited to California for the spectacular Los Angeles recording session, he had been previously unknown in the US and there is a story leading up to that moment. As a big fan of Catalonia, its culture and the pursuit of liberty, he played for an audience of nearly 90,000 people in Camp Nou stadium in June 2013 as part of the legendary ‘Concierto por la Libertad’ – which speaks for the quality of his extraordinary musicality as well as his personal integrity. Tony Braunagel, who had already played drums for Eric Burdon and Bette Midler during his own music career, found out about Theo’s appearance in Barcelona. A project took shape from this first contact between Theo from Schwerte and Tony from Los Angeles, one that was in class of its own. The studio and session musicians whom Braunagel convinced to take part in the recording of ‘Heart Of Soul’ were among the best to have emerged from American rock history.
Guitarist Johnny Lee Schell, owner of the Ultratone Studio and the one who mixed the album ‘Heart Of Soul’, had been one of the most sought-after session musicians in California long before his part in Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy award-winning album ‘Nick Of Time’. Reggie McBride (bass) had played for Aretha Franklin for 14 years, for James Brown 16 years, and later with Stevie Wonder. Pianist and organist Mike Finnigan’s credentials include Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker and the Beatles. From guitarist Dean Parks (Michael Jackson, Madonna) or percussionist Lenny Castro (Paul McCartney, Toto), trumpet player Darrell Leonard (the Rolling Stones, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends) to background vocalist Julie Delgado – in addition to their significance in American music history, the pros from the land of soul were united in their enthusiasm for the voice and musical quality of the soul doctor from Germany.
The album ‘Heart Of Soul’ starts with the title song, composed by Theo, which features powerful, succinct guitar riffs – a deep bow to the Rolling Stones, who themselves used to love playing cover versions of soul songs. ‘I Want To Thank You’ and ‘Songs Of Marvin Gaye’ reflect an invigorating reverence for the big heyday of soul. Theo demonstrates his brilliant command of every cover version with groove-laden interpretations of ‘Get It On’ (T. Rex) and ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ (Ray Charles). The third cover, Randy Newman’s ‘Louisiana 1927’, originally written about the historical flood disaster and brought back into the public eye by Hurricane Katrina, underscores Theo’s mastery of the art of the moving piano ballade. This kind of soul will bring wondrous healing to those who seek to be cured. ‘Heart Of Soul’ is truly a balm for the soul. To put it simply, this soul doctor can be wholeheartedly trusted – even at the highest dose.
The album ‘Heart Of Soul’ will be available as a CD (digipak), as a 180-gram vinyl LP (incl. download card) and as a digital download on 21 October 2016 on the Staages Music label, distributed by Cargo Records, Wuppertal.
Theo will present his ‘Heart Of Soul’ album live at the release party at Rohrmeisterei in Schwerte on 26 November 2016.
On a final note, here is some breaking news: Theo will join the tour of Carl Carlton and his band as a special guest in March 2017! He will appear on the following dates:
11 March Schwerte – Rohrmeisterei / 16 March Leer – Zollhaus / 17 March Osnabrück – Rosenhof / 19 March Bonn – Harmonie / 20 March Hanover – Capitol / 21 March Berlin – Wintergarten / 23 March Hamburg – Fabrik / 24 March Erfurt – Brettl / 25 March Dortmund – Musiktheater / 26 March Frankfurt – Batschkapp / 31 March Bremen – Schlachthof
- Heart Of Soul
- I Want To Thank You
- Songs Of Marvin Gaye
- Get It On
- When I Found You
- I Feel You Soul
- Getting Higher
- You Do Want It All
- I Don’t Need No Doctor
- Light A Candle
- Louisiana 1927
- Heart Of Soul (Extended Version) *
(*not available on the LP)