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SONNYBOY: The Barfly Theory, Psycho-Delic-Ghetto-Vibe, URBAN MISFIT, Lovechild

SONNYBOY: The Barfly Theory, Psycho-Delic-Ghetto-Vibe, URBAN MISFIT, Lovechild

Funk,Funk Music, Disco,Funk Culture,P*Funk Review,Funky,Disco Funk,Jazz Funk, Funk R&B, Funky Soul, Funk Rock



SONNYBOY/BARFLY THEORY RELEASE PARTY REVIEWI must say that last night’s event w/Sonnyboy was extraordinary for me on multiple levels.

1. The music was great… Sonnyboy did a fantastic job of introducing his new album to the NYC audience. Joe’s Pub appeared to be nearly full both with longtime Sonnyboy fans and some new converts. I was honored that Shel asked me to be the host for the evening, thus giving me a chance to dedicate the show to the late Mallia Franklin, an artist who was/is a key influence on both Shel Riser and myself.

2. For me Soul-Patrol has always been of course mostly about the music, but there is also an intangible human factor that permeates it that I can never quite place my finger on, but I always recognize it when it happens. Last night was one of those times, and it has much more to do with the simple act of SHOWING UP, than anything to do with anything tangible that the music industry might care about.

3. For me this is a tumultuous and uncertain time in my life, it felt really good that Mike was there (and took some GREAT pictures), "Mrs. Earthjuce" was there and a special surprise guest from my past Kamau Kokayi, M.D of WBAI Radio. Kamau Kokayi is not only one of the most respected doctors in NYC, but he is also one of my "ace boon coons" and running buddy from waaaaay back in tha day!! It was great to see him, I hadn’t seen him since he spoke at my fathers funeral a few years ago. Also it was great to see Tom (from TnT) and Lee (who came straight over from his own gig earlier that evening at the Bitter End,) also in the house in support of their fellow indie artist.

4. And of course there was Shel Riser, who today is one of my best friends. I was most pleased to be able to introduce him to the great UK soul artist James Hunter who was also in the house

5. So it was quite a nice thing for me to wake up this morning and see a very nice review of the show from "Dr. Brookenstien" (see below)

6. There is nothing like attending a live show in NYC and then getting home @ 3am…..YA JUST GOTTA SHOW UP!!!!!!!!!!

–Bob Davis

It was nice to be back in New York City to check out a show by the one and only (DRUM ROLL, PLEASE………………) SONNYBOY!!!

SONNYBOY/BARFLY THEORY RELEASE PARTY REVIEWI haven’t seen SonnyBoy in a good while and I was dying to hear what he has created since the last CD "Psycho-delic-ghetto-vibe". I also got a chance to hang out with SOUL-PATROL.COM’s Bob Davis and his lovely wife, Harriet. I only wish that I could have gotten some better snapshots but FLASH photography wasn’t allowed….but it’s okay.

At 9:30pm, the fun started an introduction to the funk by SOUL-PATROL’s own BOB DAVIS (APPLAUSE!!!!!), followed by the start of the SonnyBoy performance. A looped sound sample started off the "BarFly Theory", which led into "Satisfy U"….this was some NASTY FUNK STUFF that will straighten out your curls! Super-funky with some great rhythm guitar funkiness by one and only Sheldon Riser aka SonnyBoy. The fun continued into the reggae-funk extravaganza called "I’m Soul Music"…TOO HOT! SonnyBoy had the fans singing along with some chant….of course, we need some help getting the chant right! "Who’s Been Lovin’ U" was funky, featuring some meaty bass lines by Mark Bass! "Special Friend" was the one slow ballad featured in the set. After the slow pace, it was on to some SUPER-HEAVYWEIGHT FONK with The Isley Brothers’s "Fight The Power"….talk about some SERIOUSLY NASTY FUNK-ROCK MADNESS!! YOU COULD TRY TO CUT THE FUNK WITH A KNIFE…..AND STILL WOULDN’T GET THE KNIFE ALL THE WAY THRU!!!!

"Josephine Brown" (a blast from the past) was perfect with the nice piano riffing by Eric "The Pearl" Wilson and a soaring lead guitar line by SonnyBoy himself. I loved how the band sped up the tempo towards the end and Ron Fleming was ON FIRE on the drums! "She Like Rock ‘n’ Roll" featured spacey keys by The Pearl, including a spacey synthesizer solo. SonnyBoy even threw in a little bit of "Devil’s Got You High", complete with a smokin’ lead guitar solo!! "Reverend Jones" was good, but even better was the soulful remake of The Culture Club’s "Time (Clock of the Heart)".

The SonnyBoy set was over at 10:40pm.

–David "Dr. Brookenstien" Brooks

NEW VIDEO: SonnyBoy – "The BarFly Theory" (new Single a remake of "TIME")

NEW TOUR and VIDEO: SonnyBoy -Brooklyn, New York – – ArtSoul Entertainment announces the upcoming release of The Barfly Theory, the latest album from musician, singer, producer, composer, and bandleader Sonnyboy. Described as thirteen tracks of "Rock N’ Soul mixed with some good old funk" (Skope Magazine), the album is already creating a buzz on the Internet and beyond. The first single, Time/Clock of the Heart (originally by Culture Club), will follow by Special Friend, Who’s Been Loving You, Shake That Thing, and She Like Rock N Roll. "I’m excited about the direction of my fifth release, musically," noted Sonnyboy (legal: Sheldon "Shel" Riser). "There’s a little bit of everything in The Barfly Theory – from funk to soul to R&B and more but it all boils down to it’s an album of good music," he adds. Other Barfly Theory highlights include plans for the release of a video for each song, and a remix of Time/Clock of the Heart by Morris Hays, top keyboardist for Prince.

Sonnyboy, which is also the name of the band, is comprised of Eric Wilson on keyboard, Mark Bass on bass guitar, and Ron Fleming on drums. Besides vocals, Shel is also on guitar and keyboard.

Sonnyboy music is available now on iTunes and CD Baby, yet The Barfly Theory officially drops October 8, 2010.

2010 Tour and the Album Release Party

No stranger to traveling all over the country and beyond, Sonnyboy kicked off The Barfly Theory tour Pittsburgh. Other tour dates include Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, with other shows to be added. The official album release party is Friday, October 8, 2010 at the famed Joe’s Pub in New York City. Audience members will get more than an hour of raw musicianship, blended with an urban misfit approach to good music.

Sonnyboy’s live performances have been dubbed as "high energy FishBone meets James Brown" shows. His musicianship and performance skills have been sharpened over the years because he has shared the stage with or has worked closely with artists on Prince’s Paisley Park label, the Parliament Funkadelic family, Mary Harris of Spearhead, The Black Crows, The Skatalights, and countless others. For more information and tour dates, contact ArtSoul Entertainment at 646.671.0017 or via email at

About Sonnyboy

Born in Monroe, Louisiana and raised in the Baptist churches of Milwaukee, Shel came of age musically in Minneapolis. There, he quickly earned a reputation as an exceptional musician leading to Rolling Stone Magazine claiming his group as "…one of the best unsigned bands to come out of Minneapolis since Prince and The Time."

Taken in total, Sonnyboy’s musical genius reveals a mastery of soul, funk, R&B, rock, and hip hop. The listener might recall just a few great artists whose talents Sonnyboy respects: Sly & The Family Stone, Prince, The Isley Brothers, Jamiroquai, Erykah Badu, Maroon 5, and Cee-Lo.

General inquires are directed to ArtSoul Entertainment at or 646.671.0017.

Media inquiries are directed to Elsa Lathan or April R. Silver at AKILA WORKSONGS. Call 718.756.8501 or send an email to


Listen to the NEW Stank Azz release from SonnyBoy – "The Barfly Theory" Fraturing; Time/Clock of the Heart (originally by Culture Club), Special Friend, Who’s Been Loving You, Shake That Thing, and She Like Rock N Roll!! Hosted by Bob Davis

NEW VIDEO: SonnyBoy – "The BarFly Theory" (new Single a remake of "TIME")

NEW TOUR and VIDEO: SonnyBoy -DO YOU LIKE FUNK MUSIC????Then you can’t afford to miss out on this. I know that some of yall are quite simply unaware, but my purpose here is to take ya to school….

SonnyBoy (led by Sheldon Riser) has been one of Soul-Patrol’s favorite artists for nearly a decade. In fact back in 2002 he was named as SOUL-PATROL FUNK ARTIST OF THE YEAR, and he is also one of the best live performers on the scene today! However please do not let that label fool you. For those of you who need comparisons, SonnyBoy is equal parts Al Green, Prince, D’Angelo, Bob Marley, Sly Stone, Jamiroquai, Chris Rock and more. His new album SonnyBoy – The BarFly Theory will be released soon, and we have the video of the first single here on Soul-Patrol.

It’s a remake of the classic hit from the 1980’s called "TIME" (originally done by Culture Club)


**10/8/10 @ Joe’s Pub New York, NY

**10/29/10 @ Highline Ballroom New York, NY

**1/20/11 @ Europe Midem Tour Cannes, France

Get more info about the tour, check out the video of the new single "TIME" and sign up for a free download of one of the new tracks from the album at the new SonnyBoy website at: Check it out and let me know whatcha think? (Bob Davis)

–Bob Davis



Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director


Listen to the NEW Stank Azz release from SonnyBoy – "The Barfly Theory" Fraturing; Time/Clock of the Heart (originally by Culture Club), Special Friend, Who’s Been Loving You, Shake That Thing, and She Like Rock N Roll!! Hosted by Bob Davis

Quickie Album Review – "The Barfly Theory" by SonnyBoy

Quickie Album Review -SonnyBoy (Shel Riser) is an artist who has independently produced 4 watershed albums over the past decade. He is a "multi-instrumentalist" (guitar, keyboards, drums, etc.) sings like Al Green/D’Angelo/Prince and takes his name from a Blues legend (Sonny Boy Williamson) and he looks like he could have been a member of Sly & the Family Stone. Although many of you have not heard of SonnyBoy, he has a huge "cult following," on the internet and within the "underground NYC music scene." A native of Milwaukee, His career started in the late 1980’s in Minneapolis, as a member of the Prince Camp (Mazzarati.) However since the mid 1990’s he has been living in NYC and creating ground breaking Funk, Rock, Soul and Dance recorded music and doing killer live shows for integrated audiences in wide range of nightclubs around the country. He recently completed a "mini tour" of Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis. On 10/8/2010 SonnyBoy will be celebrating the release of his latest album "The Barfly Theory," in NYC at the esteemed Joe’s Pub in Greenwich Village.

If you search the internet you will see many different attempts to describe the music of SonnyBoy. Most of them are dead wrong. His music is almost impossible to describe. He is something of a "chameleon" in that once you think that you have it figured out, it becomes something else. Most of the descriptions have more to do with what Shel Riser looks like (a young Black man who has been somehow magically transported from the 1970’s to right now) than with the actual music itself. The music itself is perhaps more accurately described as "a visionary universal fusion incorporating all Black music styles from Gospel to Rap and everything else in between." It is a vision which includes using both the past & present as tools to shape the future. However even that description seems to me to be somewhat limiting, so therefore it becomes a requirement in trying to figure this out to dig deeper and to explore each individual song on each individual album to try to come up with the answer.

Below is the track by track review of "The Barfly Theory"

SonnyBoy –

1. Satisfy U 3:24

Interesting way to start the album off. This song begins with some classic 80’s hip hop style riff, reminiscent of Public Enemy. That is quickly morphed into a jazz groove which quickly turns into a sly stone/stax ish soul/funk joint (including horns.) It’s almost as if SonnyBoy is giving us an opening salvo to remind us that however you may have seen his music described; that it really is just two things; "all of the above and funky."

2. Who’s Been Loving You 3:11

SonnyBoy is often mistakenly compared with Lenny Kravitz or Ben Harper. IMHO that is yet another misguided & lazy attempt to use the physical appearance of Shel Riser to describe the sound of the music. This would be the worst possible way to describe the music. Unfortunately in the case of this song, it’s a correct description. This song is "beatle_esque & boring," picks up towards the end, but not enough to save it. I really tried to like this song. And in the end, (just like with Lenny & Ben) if you have to try that hard to like something/someone, is it really worth the effort?

3. Time (Clock of the Heart) 4:11

I can clearly remember the day when I interviewed Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers and he told me the story of how the Chambers Brothers auditioned for the job to be the house band on the 1960’s TV show "Shindig." Lester told me that the show’s producer instructed the band to play Elvis Prestley’s Heartbreak Hotel, in the empty TV studio. Lester said that they decided to play "Heartbreak Hotel" as "funky as hell." Before they stopped playing the studio was filled with ABC employees from all over the building who had heard the music playing thru the speakers all over the building. When they finished playing "Heartbreak Hotel," the now full studio erupted with a standing ovation. After the studio cleared, the producer informed the Chambers Brothers that they had the job, under one condition. They had to promise to NEVER play "Heartbreak Hotel" again under ANY circumstances, because if people were to hear their version, nobody would ever want to listen to the Elvis version of the song again. And that’s the story of how the Chambers Brothers became the very first Black band to star in a mainstream/network TV show. We often use the term "cultural banditry" on Soul-Patrol, whenever Elvis Presley’s name comes up. This story of the Chambers Brothers playing the Elvis Presley song far better than Elvis ever could have could be described as "cultural revenge." For some reason SonnyBoy’s version of this 1980’s hit song by the group "Culture Club" reminded me of that story (and now I forgot what else I wanted to say about the song, so I guess you will simply have to listen to it for yourself.)

Check out the video at:

4. She Like Rock N Roll 3:30

Do you like D’Angelo? Do you like a heavy/greasy/funky organ, a’ la Booker T. & the MG’s? (then you will love this song.) This song is nothing short of a full out assault using a certain kind of Black music tradition that is one part "southern soul"," two parts stone cold funk. Put it all together and get ready to take off in a rocket ship.

5. Special Friend 4:25

Starts out like a Hendrix style slow jam and then morphs into a Maxwell style slow jam, with an occasional nod to the Isley Brothers. An entire album of songs like this would be the stuff of the wett dreams of 25 – 55 year old females all over the world. It’s also the stuff of the wett dreams of marketing executives, because they could make a whole lot of money off of an entire album of songs like this, after all isn’t it 25 – 55 females who spend most of the money in our society?

6. Shake That Thing 3:16

What we get here is a pop/rock/funk song that is seemingly far more inspired by Gnarls Barkley, than by Charles Barkley. This is a fun dance track where one is urged over and over to "shake that thang." It’s a great song and I dare you not to get up and "shake that thang," when you hear it.

7. Make you go Crazy 2:52

This song sounds like it would fit in nicely on a Sly & the Family Stone album, if a brand new Sly and the Family Stone album could be made in 2010. It’s a near perfect blend of rock/pop/funk/soul. (with a little scat singing thrown in)

8. Another Galaxy 4:09

Starts out like a Hendrix/Sun Ra inspired song and then quickly morphs into a Prince like slow jam and then back to Hendrix & Sun Ra again. In other words this song is an artistic masterpiece

9. Barfly Theory 3:13

The title track of the album. We are all over the age of 21 here and we all certainly know what a "barfly" is. This song is all about an "intoxicated conversation." (LOL)

10. Strange People 3:01

I dunno what to make of this song. It seems to want to be a spoken word tune, but there is some heavy instrumentation here. I think that he wanted to make a serious statement here, but stops short for reasons unknown to me. Maybe he should have just simply said what was on his mind with clarity and called it a day?

11. Im Soul Music 3:21

Despite the title this seems to be a reggae inspired song. I don’t like reggae, but you might?

12. Good Love 3:33

This songs starts out sounding like "Smokey Harlem Jazz Bar in 1953." It morphs into something that I might describe as "Minneapolis Glam Slam 1983." If you think that sounds like it would be an interesting trip to take, then you will love this song. (I know that I did)

13. Ashamed of Myself 4:06

This song absolutely reminds me of a Hendrix slow jam like "Angel." What a perfect way to end a great album.

So out of the 13 songs on "Barfly Theory" I found10 of them to be compelling. At the end of the day that is an unusual batting average for albums produced in 2010 and I have no problem recommending that you add this high quality piece of visionary art, from an artist who has independently produced 4 watershed albums over the past decade.

The real prognosis for the "Barfly Theory" by SonnyBoy has less to do with the actual quality of the album itself. And has much more top do with if the "core audience" for this album is even awake in 2010. Or "are the kind of people who normally buy cutting edge/compelling music even paying attention to music anymore?



Bob Davis




Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director


–Bob Davis



Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director


Listen to the NEW Stank Azz release from SonnyBoy – "The Barfly Theory" Fraturing; Time/Clock of the Heart (originally by Culture Club), Special Friend, Who’s Been Loving You, Shake That Thing, and She Like Rock N Roll!! Hosted by Bob Davis

More on SonnyBoy @

More on SonnyBoy @ Soul-Patrol.comWe have plenty about SonnyBoy here on so check out the links here on the site:

Urban MisfitUrban Misfit is flat out one of the best releases of the century. Check out what we had to say about it at the time of it’s release at the following link:

LovechildLovechild by SonnyBoy was my introduction to this amazing artist.. Check out what we had to say about it at the time of it’s release at the following link:

–Bob Davis



Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director


Listen to the NEW Stank Azz release from SonnyBoy – "The Barfly Theory" Fraturing; Time/Clock of the Heart (originally by Culture Club), Special Friend, Who’s Been Loving You, Shake That Thing, and She Like Rock N Roll!! Hosted by Bob Davis

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