In late 2012, Minneapolis based Secret Stash Records released Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost R&B Grooves from Minneapolis & Saint Paul 1964-1979. The double LP pressing of the compilation came with a massive 12”x12” 32 page tabloid style newspaper packed with liner notes and rare photos. In the process of researching and licensing the music they got to know the musicians who recorded it in the 60s and 70s. To celebrate the release of the compilation, the label and musicians teamed up to put on a soul revue at The Cedar Cultural Center in September. It was comprised completely of R&B songs from the Minneapolis scene. The sold out event was named “Best Twin Cities Concert of 2012” by City Pages. In mid-January Secret Stash brought their revue to night one of 89.3 The Current’s Birthday party at First Avenue’s Main Room. The performance was later referred to as “the high note of the parties” by the Star Tribune. Backed by the label’s house band, The Lakers, The Secret Stash Soul Revue has quickly become a platform on which individual artists are once again gaining prominence.
American Hipster Presents Minneapolis: Secret Stash Records. New mini documentary about Secret Stash with lots of focus on the All-Stars. This video contains rehearsal footage and lots of background information.
The Twin Cities Funk & Soul All-Stars Featuring The Valdons in studio performance at 89.3 The Current. One of National Public Radio’s Favorite Sessions of 2012.
“Minneap’lis Minnesota” led by Maurice Jacox featuring The Valdons and Willie Walker Live @ First Avenue’s Main room (handy cam).
Live @ The Cedar Cultural Center. “You Can Be” featuring Sonny Knight (right), Wanda Davis, and T Scott (left)
Live @ The Cedar Cultural Center – “Take Care” featuring Wanda Davis
Live @ First Avenue (Photos by Meredith Westin)
Live @ The Cedar (Photos BY STEVE COHEN)
Secret Stash Records
711 W. Lake St. Ste. B
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Sales (at) secretstashrecords.com
“Some of the true musical stars of that time got the First Ave crowd moving in a major way, as the Twin Cities Funk and Soul All-Stars delivered a jubilant, upbeat set” The Current’s 8th Birthday Party, Night One (City Pages)
In the early 1970s the Valdons were a leading R&B act in the Twin Cities. The four member vocal group never went anywhere without their 9 piece backing band, The Navajo Train. In addition to their own self-released single, they went on to record singles for H&L Records and Scepter Records. Their four part harmonies, matching outfits, and choreographed steps provide a level of showmanship rarely seen today.
Jacox’s primary contribution to the Twin Cities’ R&B community was as the lead vocalist for the legendary R&B band, Willie & The Bumblebees. Their “Honey From The Bee” LP is a highly collectible record that has been featured in the pages of Wax Poetics. Jacox’s smooth falsetto and powerful stage presence rival that of the greatest names in soul music.
Of all the early Minneapolis soul musicians, Willie Walker probably came the closest to breaking through as a national act. “Wee” Willie Walker as he was known in the 60s released singles for the legendary Goldwax label. He even recorded at Muscle Shoals. Willie Walker is an incredible balladeer who provides a genuine link to the mid-late 60s sound that has for years been misinterpreted in so many bars and restaurants across the country.
As a youngster Sonny Knight and the Cymbals entertained crowds throughout the Twin Cities. In the mid-70s, Sonny went on to sing for Haze, one of Minnesota’s most popular R&B bands. Cutting his teeth in the show band era, Knight still knows how to work a crowd.
The “Minnesota Queen of Soul” only cut one 45. Her 1971 release has since become one of the most sought after soul 45s in existence. Wanda has kept her chops up performing musical theater for the past two decades. Today, when she gets on stage to perform soul music, she quickly develops a meaningful connection with her listeners through her heartfelt performance.