This Just In: I’m Still Here

In the past decade there’s been a re(emergence) of older Soul and R&B singers who’ve garnered fans of all ages and musical persuasions. Best known is probably Sharon Jones. Fueled by Daptone Records, she and others like Charles Bradley have made careers later in life, somehow managing to amass the popularity some performers work for their whole lives, but never see. Others like Lee Fields have been working at it for most of their lives, but have only more recently found notability through a somewhat punk-rock approach (e.g. relentless tours, 45 singles galore, playing almost anywhere). Sonny Knight is another re(emergent) artist who’s had an on-again/off-again music career. He started in 1965 at age 17, and sporadically sang in groups in the St. Paul area for decades. One of these groups, The Valdons, made it on to a comp released by Secret Stash Records in 2012, and soon after, the label helped form Sonny Knight & The Lakers. Much like the work of Jones, Bradley and Fields, Knight’s debut album, I’m Still Here, serves as a testament to the power and longevity of relentless, raw talent.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers – I’m Still Here LP:
Listen: “Hey Girl”
“For Sonny Knight, the making of his debut album nearly 50 years after releasing his first single has effectively pushed the reset button on a long and interrupted career, bringing it around full circle musically and geographically. He and his new backing band, the Lakers, recorded I’m Still Here in a subterranean Minneapolis studio a scant seven blocks away from the basement studio beneath a long shuttered record store where he recorded his first 45 (as Little Sonny Knight & The Cymbols) in 1965 at age 17.

Shortly thereafter, music took a back seat to a three-year stint in the army. A few more years in the Bay Area followed, before he returned to Minnesota in the mid-1970s and joined the now-cult favorite funk group Haze. By the early ‘80s, Haze had broken up and Sonny walked away from music for a full time job as a truck driver.

Unbeknownst to Sonny, not only had that lone single he cut as a teenager (‘Tears On My Pillow’ B/W ‘Rain Dance’) become a prized item in R&B collector circles in the ensuing decades, his powerful voice had not been forgotten. After months of working together on soul revues, Sonny and Secret Stash founder / in-house funky drummer Eric Foss formed Sonny Knight and The Lakers. Beginning in the spring of 2013, months of rehearsals led to a series of gigs and residencies. Then, the band spent a long weekend at a cabin in Northern Minnesota. Listening to old 45s, learning gospel songs, and woodshedding tunes paved the way for the band to develop a common musical vocabulary and refine their direction. It was a defining moment that transformed them from a group of good players into a rock-solid band. They brought Sonny back into the studio and cut a new single, ‘Hey Girl’ B/W ‘Sugarman,’ that was released in November 2013. Without missing a beat, they began working on tracks for I’m Still Here in December and by the end of January the entire 11-song album was complete. Since the Lakers were spearheaded by a reissue label focused on obscure music, the band encompasses more than just Motown and Stax inspired sounds. The many hours spent digging for and listening to forgotten sixties and early seventies soul and funk records have practically oozed into the rehearsal space and studio.

I’m Still Here finds Sonny’s dynamic presence and vocal power perfectly complimented by the hard soul grooves of his seven-piece Lakers. The combination makes for a classic sound not to be missed by fans of real, organic soul music.” -Secret Stash

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Still here, while they last – new releases, reissues and restocks…
2Pac – All Eyez On Me 4LP; Live 2LP
7 Days Of Funk – s/t LP
Amen Dunes – Love LP
Animal Collective – Sung Tongs LP
Atmosphere – God Loves Ugly 2LP
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – Enter The Slasher House 2LP, CD
Ben Watt – Hendra LP
Black Keys – Attack & Release 2LP; Brothers LP; Rubber Factory LP; Thickfreakness LP; Turn Blue LP, CD
Blu & Exile – Below The Heavens 2LP + 7”
Bob Dylan – Another Side Of Bob Dylan LP; Bringing It All Back Home LP; John Wesley Harding LP; Nashville Skyline LP; The Times They Are A-Changin’ LP
Breeders – Last Splash LP
Captain Beefheart – Safe As Milk LP
Castevet – Obsian LP
Chromeo – White Women LP, CD
Clash – s/t LP; London Calling 2LP
Coathangers – Suck My Shirt LP
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bayou Country LP; Cosmo’s Factory LP
Danny Brown – XXX 2LP
David Lynch – Bad The John Boy 12”
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables LP; Original Singles Collection Box
Deafheaven – Sunbather LP
Dick Dale – Surfers’ Choice LP
Dirty Beaches – Drifters/Love Is The Devil 2LP
Dirty Projectors – Rise Above LP
Do Make Say Think – s/t LP; Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn LP
Dylan Shearer – Garagearray LP
Explosions In The Sky – Those Who Tell The Truth LP; The Earth Is Not…LP
Fis – Iterations LP
Florence & The Machine – Lungs LP
Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors… LP
Fugazi – Instrument LP; Margin Walker LP; Repeater LP, The Argument LP
Fugees – The Score 2LP
Gay Cat Park – Synthetic Woman LP
Gayngs – Relayted 2LP
Ghetto Ghouls – s/t LP
Ghost BC – Infestissumam LP
Glitch Mob – Drink The Sea 2LP
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#… LP
Grateful Dead – American Beauty LP; Workingman’s Dead LP
Guided By Voices – Cool Planet LP, CD
Have A Nice Life – The Unnatural World LP
Hiss Tracts – Shortwave Nights LP
HTRK – Psychic 9-5 Club LP
Iggy Pop – The Idiot LP
J Dilla – Donuts 2LP; The Shining 2LP
Jay Dee – Welcome To Detroit 2LP
Jesus & Mary Chain – Stoned & Dethroned LP
Johnny Cash – Blood, Sweat & Tears LP; At San Quentin LP
Jose Gonzalez – In Our Nature LP
King Khan & BBQ Show – s/t LP; What’s For Dinner? LP
Kishi Bashi – Lighght LP
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die LP
Laraaji – Essence/Universe LP
Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Return Of The Super Ape LP
Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband LP, CD
Loop – A Gilded Eternity 2LP+7”
Lou Reed – Transformer LP
Lula Reed – Blue & Moody LP
Lykke Li – I Never Learn LP, CD
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days LP, CD
Madvillain – All Caps 12″
Makaveli – 7 Day Theory LP
Manu Chao – Proxima Estacion 2LP+CD
Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly LP
Melt Banana – Fetch LP
MF Doom – MM…Food 2LP; Special Herbs Vol. 1 & 2 2LP + 7”; Special Herbs Vol. 3 & 4 2LP + 7”
Modest Mouse – Sad Sappy Sucker LP
Motorhead – Ace Of Spades LP
Ned Doheny – Separate Oceans 2LP
Nilsson Aerial Ballet LP; Pandemonium LP
NWA – Straight Outta Compton 2LP (Back To Black Edition)
Otis Redding – Dictionary Of Soul LP; Dock Of The Bay LP
Ought – More Than Any Other Day LP
Outkast – Aquemini 3LP; Stankonia 2LP
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Days Of Abandon LP, CD
Pearl Jam – Ten 2LP
People Under The Stairs – 12 Step Program 2LP
Pharrell Williams – GIRL LP
Prince Po & Oh No – Animal Serum 2LP
Queen – A Day At The Races LP
Ray Lamontagne – Supernova LP
Residents – Residue Of The Residents 2LP
Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed LP; Through The Past Darkly LP
Santana – s/t LP
Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron 2LP
Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire De Melody Nelson LP
Shannon & The Clams – I Wanna Go Home LP
Sisyphus – s/t 2LP
Slaughter – Strappado LP
Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream 2LP
Sonic Youth – Goo 4LP; Murray Street LP; Rather Ripped LP
Spits – Kill The Kool LP
Sun 0))) / Ulver – Terrestrials LP
Sun Ra – Jazz In Silhouette LP
Swans – Seer 3LP; To Be Kind 3LP, 2CD
Thou – The Sacrifice 12”
TLC – CrazySexyCool 2LP
TOBACCO – Ultima II Massage 2LP, CD
UN – UN Or U Out 2LP
Various – All The Breaks Vol. 2 LP; All The Breaks Vol. 3 LP
Various – Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label 3LP
Various – Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label 2LP
Various – Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label 2LP
Various – Heavenly Ethiopiques 2LP
Various – Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1 2LP; Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 2 2LP
Various – Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles LP
Velvet Underground – Golden Archive Series LP
War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream 2LP, CD
Watery Love – Decorative Feeding LP
Wovenhand – Refractory Obdurate LP
Yob – Great Cessation 2LP
Young Widows – Easy Pain LP