Dewanna Slaughter

Legends of Soul – Playing it Old School

The Dramatics - Played by James Hill, Stan Lockwood, Rodney James, Douglas Stepney, and Chase Ruffin

The Legends of Soul Tribute Show is a group of individuals who impersonate ““ well ““ legends of soul.

This very talented group of guys and gals, put on nothing short of a true Las Vegas style show, with each impersonator in full character during their entire set, and many performers playing multiple characters.

As droves of young and old crowded into Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s Pano Hall on Saturday, radio personality, and the evenings emcee Nick Harper thanked everyone for coming out to the show, as well as Thunder Valley Casino for providing such a great venue.

The Legends of Soul kicked off their 2+ hour extravaganza with the legendary Sam Cooke played by Elijah Sterling (Get it? Legends of Soul ““ legendary Sam Cooke. I know, it cracked me up too.) Cooke dressed in a powder blue suit with matching hat, sang “Cupid” and “Twist the Night Away,” easily two of Cooke’s greatest hits from the early “’60s.

Marvin Gaye - Played by Chase Ruffin - Click for more images

Following Cooke was Jackie Wilson, played by John Hampton. Wilson was known as Mr. Excitement due to his dynamic dance moves while onstage. Hampton didn’t disappoint as he took the stage by storm, dancing much like Wilson. Singing “You Keep Lifting Me Higher” and “Baby Workout,” Hampton delivered a high energy performance.

Wilson Pickett, played by Dwayne Thompson, delivered a soulful performance of “Mustang Sally,” followed by “In the Midnight Hour,” two of Pickett’s biggest hits.

The Legends of Soul wouldn’t be complete without the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, played by Samantha Richardson. A gentleman, accompanying Franklin on stage, removed a white fur she had draped around her neck and left the stage as she belted out “Chains of Fools” and “Rock Steady.” Franklin finished off her set with an extremely well done rendition of “Respect.”

The O’Jays arrived on stage singing “Love Train” and “Back Stabbers.” The trio was in perfect synchronization their entire set and sounded eerily familiar to the original O’Jays.

The Stylistics and The Dramatics also performed later in the show. Both groups performed flawlessly while they danced in-step with each other, lending to their credible performance.

Needing no introduction due to the silky tone and song choice, Lou Rawls, played by Russell Branch, came out singing “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” followed by “Lady Love.” I believe I saw a woman or two faint, he was that good.

Al Green - Played by Lionel Burns - Click for more images

So the show continued with one legend after another.  Some audience members were lost in the moment, as I’m sure they were thinking back to those long forgotten memories, or maybe they were just dosing ,as some folks in the crowd were just a tad on the old side.

Other stars that shared the stage were Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Patti Labelle, and Stevie Wonder.

Most notable was John Hampton coming out as Stevie Wonder. Lending to the credible performance was Producer Rudolph Peter’s as he guided Wonder to his keyboard, taking Wonder’s hand and guiding it to the keyboard and microphone to ensure Wonder knew where they were. Complete with the sound of Wonder, Hampton’s performance included all the mannerisms of the legend.

Every performer did an excellent job staying in character and singing just like the real thing. The real standouts of the show, and mostly forgotten in the background, was the band, as they played a wide variety of hits throughout the night.

Stevie Wonder - Played by John Hampton - Click for more images

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this group of talented individuals performing in Las Vegas at some point in the future. They pack in the people, they love what they do, and they do it well.

Complete Cast in order of Appearance:

Master of Ceremony:  Nicholas Harper
Sam Cooke: Elijah Sterling
Jackie Wilson ““ John Hampton
Wilson Pickett: Dwayne Thompson
Aretha Franklin: Samantha Richardson. Background Dee Johnson and Dewanna Slaughter
The O’Jays:  Charles Boomer, David Lige, and Lionel Burns
Lou Rawls:  Russell Branch
Curtis Mayfield:  Elijah Sterling
Marvin Gaye: Chase Ruffin
Al Green:  Lionel Burns
The Dramatics: James Hill, Stan Lockwood, Rodney James, Douglas Stepney, and Chase Ruffin
Patti Labelle: Dee Johnson ,background – Samantha Richardson, and Dewanna Slaughter
Stevie Wonder: John Hampton
The Stylistics: Ralph Greene (lead vocals), background- Elijah Sterling, Rodney James, and David Lige
Michael Jackson: Thurman Conners
Band:   (Lead Guitar) Richard Cravalho, (Drummer) Rich Aguon, (Bass Guitar) Darrel Broadnax, (Keyboard Left) Archie White, (Keyoard Right) Earnest Nation, and (Congo) Glen Austin
Producer: Rudolph Peters Protection Status

Motown comes to Thunder Valley

Armed with 20 vocalists, six band members and four crew members impersonating the legends of Motown, RPM Crown Productions brought theirHitsville USA Legends of Motown Tribute Show to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday.

There was a sold-out crowd of diehard Motown fans there to enjoy some of the greatest hits from the Motown era. It was perplexing that more people weren’t up on their feet during some of the performances. However, after each performer finished their set they were met with more than a few people giving them a standing ovation.

The all-star lineup included acts such as The Four Tops, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and even a brief break from Motown for a little bit of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

With the plethora of tribute shows currently playing across the country, it’s refreshing to see a solid lineup of talented individuals bringing not just one, but nine legendary acts to the stage in one spectacular show.

I was worried that with so many acts playing on one stage we’d be there all night slogging through hit after hit. That wasn’t the case. Each act played full versions as well as shortened versions of their respective hit songs, keeping the show moving at a pretty good clip.

Nick Harper

Emceeing the event was Nick Harper, a radio personality from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. As he introduced each act he provided a brief history and highlighted some of their hits.

Kicking off the show was The Four Tops. Decked out in white suits and moving in perfect harmony, they sang their hits, “Sugar Pie Honeybunch,” “Standing in the Shadow of Love” and “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got.”

Following The Four Tops were The Supremes in evening dresses singing, “Just Keep Me Hanging On,” “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Love Child.”

Al Green was handing out roses to a number of the female audience members as he sang,  “I’m so Tired of Being Alone,” “Let’s Stay Together,” and “Love and Happiness.”

And so it went throughout the evening as nine artists entertained the crowd bringing hit after hit.

Don’t miss the next tribute show at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, the Legends of Soul Tribute Show. These shows sell out fast, so get your tickets ahead of time.

Producer: Rudolph Peters

Band members: Richard Cravalho (Lead Guitar) ,Rich Aguon (Drummer), Darrel Broadnax (Bass Guitar), Archie White (Keyboard Left),  Earnest Nation (Keyboard Right), and Glen Astine (Congo).

Below is a complete list of artists and the songs performed.

The Four Tops
(lead singer – Marion Brewer, James Hill, David Lige, and Lionel Burns)

“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”
“Standing in the Shadows of Love”
“Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)”

The Four Tops

 The Supremes
(lead singer – Regina Wood, Tracy James, and Dewanna Slaughter)

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
“You Can’t Hurry Love”
“Love Child”

The Supremes – Click for more images

Al Green (John Hampton)
“Tired of Being Alone”
“Let’s Stay Together”

Al Green – Click for more images

Smokey Robinson (Lionel Burns)
“More Love”
“Ooo Baby Baby”
“Tears of a Clown”

Smokey Robinson -Click for more images

The Spinners
(lead singer – Charles Boomer, Lionel Burns, David Lige, Rodney James, and James Hill)

Intro to “I’ll Be Around”
“Ghetto Child”
“Rubberband Man”

The Spinners – Click for more images

Chaka Khan
(lead singer – Denise Robinson, Tracy James, Tammy Holloway, and Regina Wood)

“Sweet Thing”
“I’m Every Woman”

Chaka Khan – Click for more images

Richard Cravalho (lead guitar)
“Purple Rain”

Click for more images

 Gladys Knight and the Pips
(lead singer – Dewanna Slaughter, Rodney James, David Lige, and Elijah Sterling)

Intro to “Use My Imagination”
“Save the Overtime”
“You’re Number One (in My Book)”
“Midnight Train to Georgia”
“Neither One of Us”

Gladys Knight

Stevie Wonder (John Hampton)
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”
“My Cherie Amour”
“You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

Stevie Wonder – Click for more images

The Temptations
(Carl Douglas, Stan Lockwood, Chase Ruffin, Elijah Sterling, and Douglas Stepney)

“Getting Ready”
“I Can’t Get Next to You”
“Cloud Nine”
“Don’t Let the Joneses Get You Down”
Intro to “Super Star”
The Temptations


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