Black Angel
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Black Angel

Santa Clara, CA | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | INDIE

Santa Clara, CA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1999
Band Rock Americana




"Song Of The Year"

Paper Thin Walls is an online Music Magazine from New York City that annually asks major music writers to select a Song Of The Year. The article below was written by Billboard Magazine senior music editor, Chuck Eddy, in regard to Black Angel and their song, “One Beer”. Prior to his work at Billboard, Chuck Eddy was the music editor of The Village Voice in New York for seven years and worked for Rolling Stone magazine.

Song of The Year 2007

As far as I can tell, Black Angel―not to be confused with less-good Jesus And Mary Chain-style Austin drone-pop band the Black Angels―have for a few years been four people who primarily play their shows (apparently lots of them) at clubs (frequently mid-sized) in Southern California; their newest members, according to their MySpace page (at the time of this review), are “Audrey Turner (currently and previously with the Ike Turner Review and now Mrs. Ike Turner) as a vocalist and Ronnie Turner (only son of both Tina and Ike Turner) on bass.” That makes them a sextet―though that number still appears to be somewhat in flux.
Black Angel are also the only musical artists Iʼm aware of who put out two really good albums full of new material in 2007―at least if you count December 2006, which technically is when they apparently released the 16-song Oʼ California, as 2007. In June they followed that record up with the 17-song Oʼ Santa Barbara (called Oʼ Santa Babylon on its back cover), which has a really similar-looking CD artwork (basically, a map of a piece of the coastline with some indigenous fruit attached) but completely different songs. And now their MySpace page is reporting that their next album Oʼ Los Angeles, is recorded, mixed and mastered. “We just have to finish the artwork and then manufacture the album later this year.” So I guess that one will come out in 2008.
Black Angel also pull off quite possibly the most dead-on and single-minded approximation of ʼ70s country-leaning (think “Dead Flowers”/”Wild Horses”/”Fool To Cry”/”When The Whip Comes Down”/”Far Away Eyes”) Rolling Stones Iʼve ever heard. Their MySpace lists “Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Henry Miller and John Lennon” as influences and says they sound like “Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show, Black Crowes, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Leon Russell, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Presley (we wish),” and all that might well be true. But everything on that list after the Stones is gravy, and Iʼm honestly wondering if Dr. Hook and Dylan are on there just because they both have famous songs with “Rolling Stone” in the title―whyʼd they leave out Muddy Waters, I wonder? (Best Tom Petty song of 2007, for whatever itʼs worth: “Sheʼs So California” by Gary Allan. Best Black Angel-sounding country-Stones-style song not recorded by Black Angel of 2007: The 6:45 “Young Lions In Paradise,” off Blue Cheerʼs otherwise much heavier and more metal What Doesnʼt Kill You... album. Iʼm not joking.)
Black Angelʼs greatest song―the one for the history books―is Oʼ Californiaʼs “One Beer,” and not only because it ingeniously managed to forecast the 2007 Grammy Awards by toasting with one beer each both “Mary J. Blige, the queen of hip-hop soul” and “the Dixie Chicks, the queens of Texas soul.” (The nominations had been made in early December of 2006, but I assume the song was recorded before then.)
”ʼOne Beer,ʼ” writes my friend and PTW contributor Frank Kogan, “sounds like country by people who first love Stones Stones Stones ahead of country, and thatʼs fine with me; funny Exile murk (thatʼs a compliment, by the way, even if the murk is one of the reasons Exile is not in my Top 10 Stones albs [also self-effacement, also shortage of songs]). Not as good as the Stones, unsurprisingly, but worth a second listen.”
I listened to the song way more than twice, myself. And itʼs only “not as good as the Stones” if you ignore everything the Stones have done in the last quarter-century-plus (including their last album A Bigger Bang, which was surprisingly good actually, but never as good as “One Beer.”) And there is way more than one beer in the song: Amidst J.C. Martinʼs somewhat sloshedly (not to mention, it should go without saying by now, Jaggerishly) slurred lyric, I count 18 such beverages total, though I canʼt guarantee I didnʼt miss any. Thatʼs three six packs or three-quarters of a case (though hopefully on tap, since the band is clearly not at home on their living room couches but rather out in public [you can tell by the opening saloon-piano part], so if theyʼre drinking canned or bottled beers theyʼre totally getting ripped off, and did I ever explain my theory of how Stella on tap, which is one of the best beers in the world, is an entirely different beer than Stella in bottles, which is one of the worst? Not to mention my theory that one good way to lose weight is just to order beers you donʼt like very much in bars, since that way you wonʼt drink as many? OK, never mind.) Anyway, letʼs see here: Along with the beers for the Dixie
Chicks and Mary J. Blige, Black Angel hoist “one beer” each (well, actually sometimes one beer twice each, since most the songʼs lyric is recited twice within the songʼs perimeters) for “the pain,” “the road,” “the Lord,” the devil,” “Canada,” “the rose of San Antone,” and “every [incomprehensible word] Pentecostal Jack-Mormon fooool Iʼve ever known.” For starters.
They look a black woman (who they call “a black woman”) right in the eye and she tells them to embrace the mystery; they drive their Oldsmobile (or maybe their Uncle Bill?) down to Mexico and meet a fortune teller there; the singer calls himself “a country boy down at 7-11” then chases a dragon to the store and asks directions to Desolation Row―all in 3:17. Beyond all the beers, Iʼm not going to pretend to grasp what most of it means, to be honest, and I donʼt really care. As Montgomery Gentry would say, I feel a cold one cominʼ on.
Black Angel lead vocalist/guitarist J.C. Martin on “One Beer”
“One Beer” was released in December 2006, the same month that Mary J Blige and the Dixie Chicks were both nominated for several Grammy Awards. Was that a coincidence? Or are you fortune tellers, like the one in the song? When I saw Mary J. Blige with U2 singing the song “One”―was that at the Grammys? I canʼt remember―I picked up my old 1972 Martin guitar and immediately wrote the song in about one half hour. I never write this quickly. I am usually like Bob Dylan and Tom Petty―playing a song for weeks until my wife screams, “Enough with that song.” This one just popped out. I had been really pissed off at how the Dixie Chicks were “blacklisted” by radio after their very true comments about George Bush. I also grew up Pentecostal―with a huge rebellious streak―in a very right wing, Republican, military household
In what ways do the concepts behind Oʼ California, Oʼ Santa Barbara and Oʼ Los Angeles differ from each other? I was broke for quite awhile but I kept writing songs nonetheless. When I finally had money to record more songs, I had three albums of material ready to go. I had already recorded Oʼ Santa Barbara with just our drummer, Tina Stefens, and me. Tina works for the Goleta Post Office. The only time that we played this entire album live was for a 10 a.m. show at the Creekside Inn in Santa Barbara for the night shift at the Goleta Post Office. A few months later a disgruntled, female post office employee walked into the Goleta Post Office and killed six postal employees, all of whom had attended our morning show a few months earlier.
Anyway, when I got enough money, Tina and I worked out the entire Oʼ California album, recorded it... I had still more songs recorded and the songs became the still unreleased Oʼ Los Angeles album. I had read a book―or was it a story?―years ago called “Oʼ Jerusalem.” I loved this title. The idea here is that many people who live in California didnʼt start out here. For instance, I was born in Illinois, then lived in Alaska, Oregon, Okinawa and New Mexico before coming to California when I was 15 years old. The Oʼ California album is basically about my experiences of living in California. The Oʼ Santa Barbara album was all written and recorded in Santa Barbara with people who live in Santa Barbara. The Oʼ Los Angeles album is made up of songs that were worked out when Black Angel was located in Los Angeles from about 1999 to 2001.
I counted 18 beers in “One Beer.” First off, is my math correct? And second off, are they all Heinekens?
Chuck, I have no idea how many ”One Beers” we placed in the song... Thanks for adding them up, though. No, I didnʼt have a particular beer in mind, but I do have a preference for Heineken ever since I lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a year, and I drink a lot of it. - Billboard Magazine Senior Music Editor Chuck Eddy

"Review of Black Angel Album Pleasuredome"

If there was ever a band that could make me put away my Rolling Stones albums, at least for awhile, and concentrate on just listening to their music, it is hands down a magnificent band called Black Angel. Black Angel's music takes you back to the good old rock of the late 60's and early 70's and does so light years better than any modern day band out there. In fact when listening to their music one would really have to look at the calendar twice to make sure it was really 2013, "and that you weren't actually listening to some great old Rolling Stones tunes".

" Black Angel began in Santa Barbara in 1999 with J.C. Martin leading the band, but with the addition of Audrey Turner (previously with the Ike Turner Review and later Mrs. Ike Turner) as a vocalist and Ronnie Turner (only son of both Tina and Ike Turner) on bass".

"The band was originally called The Prophets and played in major Los Angeles and Santa Barbara clubs such as The Roxy, Jack's Sugar Shack, Luna Park and the Wildcat Lounge. The Prophets released one CD, "The Prophets EP", in 1999 ". Since then the band has released six full length albums, "13 Stories"; "Real Music for Real People": "O' California"; "O' Santa Barbara", "O' San Francisco", and their newest release, "Pleasuredome", which I must say, is not only equal to their previous releases, but may even be better.

All Black Angel albums are a "rich mixture of early Rolling Stones style Rock 'N' Roll, mixed in with a little Reggae, Country Rock, Pop and Americana, that will take you back when that type of music was simply good music and really enjoyable to listen to ".

"Pleasuredome" consists of 14 Tracks of which all except for one was written by J.C. Martin. The one non-original was "As Fast As You Can", written by Jason Ball aka Chuck Fraher. In addition to original member J.C. Martin (Guitar/Vocals), Black Angel now consists of three new members, Rubin Ray (Guitar), Mike Stever (Bass), and Pat Woods (Drums), with "Pleasuredome" marking the first album comprising of the new lineup.

"Pleasuredome" is one of those albums that I rarely get that is totally engrossing from beginning to end, with each and every song being an absolute treat to the ears. As mentioned earlier, they come across with a lot of Rolling Stones feel, and I have no doubt if this band was more well known nationally and internationally, they would be giving many a band a run for its money, including the Rolling Stones. Critics, justly appreciate and recognize the immense talent of Black Angel, with previous albums "O' California" and "O' Santa Barbara", each being selected, by writers of Billboard and Rolling Stone Magazine, in a list of the Top 35 Albums in the World, in the year of their release. It is something that you will most certainly understand after just a few moments of "Pleasuredome".

At this point I usually pick out 3 favorites, but "Pleasuredome" is too good of an album to say that anything less than all the songs were my favorites. It is truly one of those types of albums that will mesmerize you from beginning to end, and one in which I am sure will also have you finding difficulty in picking just 3 favorites.

For those that like 60's and 70's style rock, there is no better album out there than "Pleasuredome" and no band, hands down, doing it better than Black Angel. In no uncertain terms, this album will simply blow you away.

5***** for "Pleasuredome"... 63 minutes of pure rocking pleasure...

Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)

Listen To Samples Here... - Blues Underground Network

"ITunes Review of Album, "O' California" by Happy Beckett"

Itunes Apple
Stoney Garden of Earthly Delights

by Happy Beckett
There is hidden wisdom in this album, delivered with rocking good, bad boy charm and more disingenuous heart than a murder of Black Crowes. J.C. Martin's songs have Stones grit, Randy Newman wit, with a voice from the gravel pit. 

Who the hell are these guys? There are two soul/gospel soloists on this album split to either ear, that carry the song to a place no background singer can find on a map. Cory Orosco is dead right on bass, honky tonk on upright, gospel on Sunday and boosey sex all week long from the Hammond B–3, front porch honest on the mandolin, dobro, tambourine and God only knows what other percussion. Tina Stefans on the shake and bake drums, can fake and weave from bass line to bass line like Meadow Lark Lemon, hit nothing but net, and keep singing. And oh that guit box, Ernie Joseph Orosco's mistress, is a trip to rock 'n roll heaven by way of Memphis, with a stop over in New Orleans and all points south. Martin's voice is Louisiana swamp voodoo with Mick sass and the Cajon spice of a Mac Rebennack. Mark Parson on violin and Bill Flores on pedal steel, as co-conspirators, "contribute" with more heart than hired guns generally bring to the party. This Stoney garden of earthly delights delivers disorderly insight with focused tongues of fire in the face of the way things are.

One Listen to Black Angel Band will put you in exile on various main streets around the Golden State. Alright, they sound like the Rolling Stones from that best of double album years back, when the Stones sounded like Dr. John, who sifted through a murky bucket load of blues from Professor Longhair. This band has lived the songs, and didn't have to lift their experience from 1950s southern race records. J.C. doesn't have a fake southern accent, and the band won't need walkers for 40 years to come. I haven't heard their live sound, but the two albums available to me are more live than most concert records and this band will be charging onstage long after the Stones have retired to the Betty Ford Center to gather moss. Review of the Songs on O' California and upcoming O'Santa Barbara can be read on myspace at BillySheppard23 - ITunes

"Black Angel"

"I loved the Black Angel album, "O' California". I loved every song on the album. To me it is the best Rolling Stones album never made....but different. I'd like to work with you guys in putting a marketing plan together".

Arnie Holland
CEO and President
Lightyear Entertainment
(Warner Brothers subsidiary) - Lightyear Entertainment


"The Prophets" (with Audrey "Mrs. Ike Turner) EP album
"13 Stories" CD album
"Real Music for Real People" CD album
"O' California" CD album

"O' Santa Barbara" CD album

"O' Los Angeles" CD album

"Pleasuredome" CD album

"Hard Livin', Hard Times" CD album

"Go Bernie Go" (benefit album for Bernie Sanders)



Black Angel began in Santa Barbara, California in 1999 with Audrey (Mrs. Ike Turner) on vocals and Ronnie Turner (son of Ike and Tina) on bass and J. C. Martin on guitar, vocals, as the chief songwriter and the producer. The band played many of the major Los Angeles and Santa Barbara clubs (The Roxy, B. B. King's Blues Club, The Coach House- San Juan Capistrano, Rusty's Surf Ranch, The Martini Lounge, The Gig, Luna Park, The Creekside Inn, The Wildcat Lounge, S.I.R. record company showcases, The Scientology Celebrity Center, 14 Below, etc.). When Audrey Turner and Ronnie Turner left the band to return to Ike Turner and the Rhythm Kings, the band continued live shows and recording. The band released the album, "O' California" in December, 2006. The album, "O' Santa Barbara" in May, 2007 and the final album of this three album trilogy, "O' Los Angeles" was released in July, 2014. The band moved to San Francisco in 2011 and now has J. C. Martin as the lead singer/guitar player; Rubin Ray on guitar; Mike Stever on bass and Pat Woods on drums. The band has garnered interest from major record label and from a number of major, nationally distributed independent record companies. Black Angel's music is being heard on college radio, independent radio stations, on internet radio stations and on major European stations. The band has played in front of as many as 20,000 people on a number of occasions (Fleet Week in San Francisco with the Blue Angels air show; the Oakland Marathon and Oakland First Fridays).