The Soul Tapes

by Billie Ray Martin

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    Billie Ray Martin describes herself as “a kid from Hamburg’s red-light district, who wanted to be a soul singer, but ended up playing repetitive machine music, while still trying to be a soul singer".

    Billie has never been easy to categorise. Clearly a soul singer, her career however has seen her mostly as a pioneer of house and electronic music, most notably her groundbreaking work with Electribe 101 and her seminal hit Your Loving Arms. Her explorations have led her further into the worlds of ambient music and drum & bass among other areas of electronica.

    Her 2001 album 18 Carat Garbage had found her in Memphis, recording with Al Green’s and Aretha Franklin’s musicians, then adding cutting edge electronic sounds and textures to the production once back in Hamburg. The album was released in Germany, and on UK import sold several thousand copies in the first week of release alone.

    The Soul Tapes is the natural conclusion and a ‘first’ for Billie: no electronic music this time. Billie realised her long-held dream of recording an album that is equally influenced by Hi-Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Mitchell) as it is by ’60s garage records. It is also not devoid of a certain country twang, and even Bo Diddley peeks through the door on one song.

    Billie Ray Martin and producer/writer Jon Tiven were introduced in New York in the mid ’90s and had started drafting the odd song, together with Sally Tiven. Further writing sessions followed, until it was decided that there was an album of songs worth recording.

    Booked into New York’s 900 Broadway Studio, Jon and Billie were thrilled to find themselves working where Keith Richards had recorded his first solo album. Under this omen Jon Tiven brought the musicians in, not least world famous drummer Simon Kirke. Jon’s credits include albums produced for Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack and Willie Nelson as well as numerous awards and Grammy nominations.

    It was not until 2014 that the opportunity arose to mix the album, re-record many of the vocals, add production and instruments and determine exactly the final sound of the album.

    The results are convincing and powerful and show once again Billie’s refusal to conform to trends, preferring as she does, to create them. On The Soul Tapes, with the help of Jon Tiven on guitar, Sally Tiven on bass, Simon Kirke on drums and mix engineer Steve Honest, and a variety of guest musicians, Billie journeys through all things soul and rhythm & blues. A soul tour de force !

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Soul Tapes via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    Billie Ray Martin describes herself as “a kid from Hamburg’s red-light district, who wanted to be a soul singer, but ended up playing repetitive machine music, while still trying to be a soul singer".

    Billie has never been easy to categorise. Clearly a soul singer, her career however has seen her mostly as a pioneer of house and electronic music, most notably her groundbreaking work with Electribe 101 and her seminal hit Your Loving Arms. Her explorations have led her further into the worlds of ambient music and drum & bass among other areas of electronica.

    Her 2001 album 18 Carat Garbage had found her in Memphis, recording with Al Green’s and Aretha Franklin’s musicians, then adding cutting edge electronic sounds and textures to the production once back in Hamburg. The album was released in Germany, and on UK import sold several thousand copies in the first week of release alone.

    The Soul Tapes is the natural conclusion and a ‘first’ for Billie: no electronic music this time. Billie realised her long-held dream of recording an album that is equally influenced by Hi-Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Mitchell) as it is by ’60s garage records. It is also not devoid of a certain country twang, and even Bo Diddley peeks through the door on one song.

    Billie Ray Martin and producer/writer Jon Tiven were introduced in New York in the mid ’90s and had started drafting the odd song, together with Sally Tiven. Further writing sessions followed, until it was decided that there was an album of songs worth recording.

    Booked into New York’s 900 Broadway Studio, Jon and Billie were thrilled to find themselves working where Keith Richards had recorded his first solo album. Under this omen Jon Tiven brought the musicians in, not least world famous drummer Simon Kirke. Jon’s credits include albums produced for Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack and Willie Nelson as well as numerous awards and Grammy nominations.

    It was not until 2014 that the opportunity arose to mix the album, re-record many of the vocals, add production and instruments and determine exactly the final sound of the album.

    The results are convincing and powerful and show once again Billie’s refusal to conform to trends, preferring as she does, to create them. On The Soul Tapes, with the help of Jon Tiven on guitar, Sally Tiven on bass, Simon Kirke on drums and mix engineer Steve Honest, and a variety of guest musicians, Billie journeys through all things soul and rhythm & blues. A soul tour de force !

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Soul Tapes via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    ships out within 3 days

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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 40 Billie Ray Martin releases available on Bandcamp and save 25%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Billie Ray Martin Vocal Sample Pack (2 GB), The Soul Tapes, Strongheaded Woman, Four Ambient Tales (Live at Hackney Road Studios), Four Ambient Tales Live at Hackney Road Studios, Talking with myself (Original 8-Track Demo), Pacemaker, Free: Kind Of Maybe, and 32 more. , and , .

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about

Billie has never been easy to categorise. Clearly a soul singer, her career however has seen her mostly as a pioneer of house and electronic music, most notably her groundbreaking work with Electribe 101 and her seminal hit Your Loving Arms. Her explorations have led her further into the worlds of ambient music and drum & bass among other areas of electronica.

Her 2001 album 18 Carat Garbage had found her in Memphis, recording with Al Green’s and Aretha Franklin’s musicians, then adding cutting edge electronic sounds and textures to the production once back in Hamburg. The album was released in Germany, and on UK import sold several thousand copies in the first week of release alone.

The Soul Tapes is the natural conclusion and a ‘first’ for Billie: no electronic music this time. Billie realised her long-held dream of recording an album that is equally influenced by Hi-Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Mitchell) as it is by ’60s garage records. It is also not devoid of a certain country twang, and even Bo Diddley peeks through the door on one song.

Billie Ray Martin and producer/writer Jon Tiven were introduced in New York in the mid ’90s and had started drafting the odd song, together with Sally Tiven. Further writing sessions followed, until it was decided that there was an album of songs worth recording.

Booked into New York’s 900 Broadway Studio, Jon and Billie were thrilled to find themselves working where Keith Richards had recorded his first solo album. Under this omen Jon Tiven brought the musicians in, not least world famous drummer Simon Kirke. Jon’s credits include albums produced for Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack and Willie Nelson as well as numerous awards and Grammy nominations.

It was not until 2014 that the opportunity arose to mix the album, re-record many of the vocals, add production and instruments and determine exactly the final sound of the album.

The results are convincing and powerful and show once again Billie’s refusal to conform to trends, preferring as she does, to create them. On The Soul Tapes, with the help of Jon Tiven on guitar, Sally Tiven on bass, Simon Kirke on drums and mix engineer Steve Honest, and a variety of guest musicians, Billie journeys through all things soul and rhythm & blues. A soul tour de force !

credits

released May 13, 2016

‘The Soul Tapes’ was produced by Jon Tiven and Billie Ray Martin. Recorded at Studio 900 Broadway, NYC. Engineered by Joe Johnson.

Additional vocals and instruments recorded at Hackney Road Studios, London. Engineered by Steve Honest. Mixed by Billie Ray Martin and Steve Honest at Hackney Road Studios, London.

Guitar by Jon Tiven. Bass by Sally Tiven. Drums by Simon Kirke except ‘One Way Street’ by Francesco Lucidi. Piano by Mark Berman except ‘One Way Street’ by Jon Tiven. Organ by Felix Huber except ‘Strongheaded Woman’ by Mark Berman. Harmonica on ‘Skin On The Wheel Of Time’ by Mason Casey.

All songs written by Billie Ray Martin, Jon Tiven and Sally Tiven except ‘Your Ghost Is Right Behind Me’ written by Billie Ray Martin and Melvin Duffy, ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ written by Roosevelt Jamison, ‘One Way Street’ written by Ann Peebles and Don Bryant.

Billie Ray Martin published by Billie Ray Martin (PRS, GEMA, BMI). Jon Tiven published by Uncontrolled Compositions (BMI). Sally Tiven published by Full Rate Music (ASCAP). Melvin Duffy published by Copyright Control. Roosevelt Jamison published by Three Wise Boys Music/Rise Music. Ann Peebles published by Irving Music/Warner Chappell. Don Bryant published by Irving Music/Warner Chappell.

Special thanks to Paul Brewer at Sweet Feet Music, Sophie Nicole Ellision, Caesar Gergess, Steve Honest, Antonio Lerario, Philip Marshall, Mark Moore, Mark Robertson, Bradford Shellhammer and everyone else who’s been so kind, helping and supporting me each day. I’m humbled and grateful.

Photography by Joern Hartmann. Designed in January 2016 by Philip Marshall.

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Billie Ray Martin Berlin, Germany

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Billie Ray Martin: "I'm a kid from Hamburg’s red-light district, who wanted to be a soul singer, but ended up playing repetitive machine music, while still trying to be a soul singer"
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Track Name: Strongheaded Woman
Strongheaded Woman

We met in Las Vegas at the slot machines
You pulled me like the aces and the queens
With your sequinned blazer and your rhinestone smile
You came ablaze out of the flaming red lights

You said I was the seetest thing you’ve ever seem
You said that we could be a winning team
But when you spoke of honeymoon and Chemps Elisee
It looked like lady luck had smiled down on me

But the only threshhold that you carried me over
Was the borderline of trash
Before the night wa over

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

And while I dreamed of Paris through a veil of beer
You said let’s go and tie the knot right here
Oh but is the way to treat your fiancee
A drive-through chapel and an all-in buffet
And a fake priest dressed as Elvis sang ‘Love me tender’
While a hired dwarf witness played an imitation fender

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

Now, You can say I’m dumb and blind
Or blame it on my trusting mind
But with dime and dance romances
Well, you gotta take your chances
Now I’m at the hot dog stand
With a motel key in hand
And I’m runnin’
And I’m runnin’


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And make sure that before dawn
I’ll be back at the tables
Track Name: The glittering gutter
The Glittering Gutter

Ever they come by the hundreds
Out of their safety they crawl
To stumble the streets of a hungy
Beast that it is never full
And no one can ever claim
That it ain’t no fun stepping into this dame
And smelling the lights of the glittering gutter

They don’t know that these neon signs
Have guided many through better times
Always a fortune for the ones without hope
They used to fly high but now they lie on the floor
Still they call it the sinful mile
She’s a whore, and a lady, with a big heart inside
But for the small town voyeur she’s just the glittering gutter


Luck is a lady with a mean green smile
But the lady’s a bitch when you’ve known her a while
And so through her veins they’re stumbling
The guts have died
The skin is crumbling
Still she’s smiling her cancerous smile
Her teath falling out
A carcass alive
Yet someone might recognise
It’s reflecting the faces of the people inside
Through the empty eyes of the glittering gutter


Come on
Come on
Come on
Come on
Track Name: One way street
There's a troubled mind, confused within
Stumbling in darkness because of sin
Slipping and tripping with somebody else in love
Taking bitter with the sweet
Walking the wrong way on a one way street
There's a sad heart all wrecked with pain
Look at the sad face, filled with shame
Walking on troubled ground where I don't belong
Taking bitter with the sweet
Walking the wrong way on a one way street
You know it's wrong, this way of living
Sometimes you have to take less than what you're giving
But right now I'm satisfied taking bitter with the sweet
Walking the wrong way on a one way street
Walking the wrong way on a one way street
Walking the wrong way on a one way street
Walking on troubles ground, where I don’t belong
Slipping in darkness where I don’t belong
Walking and walking the wrong way
On a one way street
Yes I am
Songwriters
PEEBLES, ANN / BRYANT, DON
Track Name: The long and lonely fall
The long and lonely fall

I never said I wanted to write this song
Share my thoughts with anyone
I never sais that my soul was up for sale
To anybody that came along

There’s no more hope on this shakey ground I’m on
No more feelings left on call
Oh and there’s no more words to tell the tale
Of all the damage that I have done

And it seems when you fell there’s only one direction
No stops and no turns
Just down that’s all
Guess I wasn’t strong
When I tried so hard to hold on
Guess I wasn’t ready for the long and lonely fall

If I had known I was gonna live this long
I would have taken care of myself
If I had known that it’s gonna ge tharder
I would have never, never, pretended so long
(Oh let me say, yeah)

And it seems when you fell there’s only one direction
No stops and no turns
Just down that’s all
Guess I wasn’t strong
When I tried so hard to hold on
Guess I wasn’t ready for the long and lonely fall