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The northern soul and R&B sounds of Lenis Guess, straight outta Norfolk
January 24, 2014 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Lenis Guess was one of the pioneers in the Norfolk recording scene. This self-taught vocalist and musician was cranking out records from his 35th Street studio in Norfolk for many artists, including his own and himself. This, producer, singer, musician, performer was at the forefront of the Norfolk sound. With songs like,I was Born to Be A Drummer,“ his funk band, The 35th Street Gang, were mainstays of the 70s in and around the Hampton Roads area. Lenis himself had hits like,I Keep Coming Back for More,” andWorking for My Baby.”

Guess moved to the heart of New York and opened "Lenis Guess Productions” located in Manhattan, 612 8th Ave. There he got busy writing, recording, producing, and performing R&B, Gospel music, plays, TV shows, while also directing and starring in movies for video/DVD. He has adoring fans who seek him out, even from across the ocean in the United Kingdom.

Discogs has a listing of some of Guess' solo releases (plus partial discographies for Lenis' own Guess Records, and the Legrand Records label from his associate on occasion, Frank Guida), but you probably came here for more music. If so, you came to the right place! In no particular order:

Thank Goodness Got a Good Woman
Why, Why Why Did She Leave Me (and live, circa 2009)
Just Ask Me (and live, circa 2009)
Super Woman
For All You've Been
In My Room
Too Many Nights
That Beat's Got The Devil In It
Jesus is the Love of my Life (a more recent gospel song, with a music video of sorts)

For more recent videos, you can visit the PTOOM YouTube account.

Speaking of recent, Jazzman Records (Bandcamp) has recently re-issued six Lenis tracks under the title The Norfolk Soul Sound (Bandcamp), also available as a 3x7" set.

But if you want more of the oldies, Funky Virginia ("Bringing You the Soul of the Commonwealth") has a few posts on Lenis Guess.
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you, filthy light thief!
posted by nangar at 3:42 PM on January 24


He has adoring fans who seek him out, even from across the ocean in the United Kingdom.

Just Ask Me was a huge record on the Northern Soul scene in the early 70's.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:36 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I had never heard of Northern Soul before. I love the idea of a musical genre named not after where it's made but rather where it's consumed, like Stilton cheese or the Panama hat.
posted by sy at 6:18 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I forwarded this to Jae Sinnett, a jazz drummer/DJ to runs the Jazz and R&B show on the Norfolk NPR station. Never heard of these guys before, but would probably make a great show.

Non-related, local boy Pharell Williams is up for like 6 trillion Emmys tonight, which is cool.

Another non-related aside, I once gave Chase Chad, one of Pharell's cohorts in the Neptunes, a ride back to his apartment in the early 2000's to pick up his DJ needles. I had no idea who the Neptunes were at the time, but he's probably the most famous person I've ever given a car ride to.
posted by daHIFI at 2:24 PM on January 26


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