Alive Naturalsound Records

Independent record label based in LA. Home to The Black Keys, Two Gallants, Buffalo Killers, Radio Moscow, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Hacienda, John The Conqueror, Brian Olive, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, T-Model Ford, Thomas Function, Waves Of Fury, etc. More at

Sunday, August 9, 2009


You won’t find a better album title this year, folks. Apparently it’s what the lifelong East Detroit resident shouted out during a tour of Europe, frustrated with the same French bread and cheese platters that he was constantly being served backstage at his gigs — you can’t make this stuff up! Nathaniel Mayer is one of those semi-legendary Windy City soul singers and his releases from the sixties made him a local legend, his music later serving as a major influence on Detroit-based artists like the Black Keys, Dirtbombs and recent Stones Throw signing Mayer Hawthorne. Though Mayer had a top 40 hit in ‘62 with the classic "Village of Love," for many deep soul aficionados you can’t talk about the singer without mentioning his brilliant 1966 single, "(I Want) Love and Affection (Not the House of Correction)," an uptempo stomper that showcased his hard, bluesy tenor. Mayer pretty much disappeared from the public eye for more than 30 years and many fans assumed that he had died, but in 2004 he resurfaced again, encouraged by the local Detroit artists who were championing his music. Back in the spotlight, the singer would tour the states and performed some club dates in Europe, yet sadly he passed away following the release of 2007’s Why Don’t You Give It To Me? This album at hand, Why Won’t You Let Me Be Black?, comes from the same two-day recording session as its predecessor, featuring the musical support of members of the Black Keys, Dirtbombs and Outrageous Cherry. In his later years, Mayer’s clear-throated tenor had become a gruff, raspy howl, but the echoey, garage-rock backing from his all-star band is a perfect fit. Tracks like "Mr. Tax Man," "She’s Bad" and "The Puddle" are smoky, electric blues burners that conjure ghosts of Electric Mud, while "What Would You Do" and "You Are the One" are intimate acoustic performances culled from a 2007 radio interview. For those who like their R&B and soul served up raw, pathos-tinged and slightly unhinged, step right up! – Duane Harriott / Other Music

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