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  • 0 Dionne Warwick and Girl Friends Sing Fresh Duets

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/13/2006

    Dionne Warwick continues her 2006 celebration of 45 years in show business with a new all-star female duet collection featuring those most memorable Burt Bacharach - Hal David hits. Together with Dionne on "My Friends and Me" are: Gladys Knight Olivia Newton-John Kelis Gloria Estefan Mya Angie Stone Cyndi Lauper Reba McEntire Da Brat Celia Cruz Chante Moore Wynonna Judd Cheyenne Elliott Lisa Tucker Deborah Cox Gladys Knight joins Ms. Warwick for a powerful reading of "I'll Never Love This Way Again." Olivia Newton-John and Dionne do a bouncy interpretation of "Wishin' and Hopin'." Contemporary R&B maven Mya does "Close to You" duet style. Kelis jumps in with DW for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." Gloria Estefan tag-teams "Walk on By." Celia Cruz together with Dionne helps point the way to "San Jose." Deborah Cox, Chante Moore, Angie Stone, and Da Brat help Ms. Warwick bring the socially conscious "Windows of the World" up-to-date, with Da Brat rapping about Iraq, Katrina, and other controversial issues. Dionne will celebrate the November 7th release of "My Friends and Me" with a special benefit concert on Sunday, November 19, at New York's Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall. The evening will raise funds for Love Our Children USA and The New York Therapeutic Riding Center. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 A Mary Wilson Supreme Fight for Truth in Music

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/11/2006

    In my review of Marc Taylor's Book: "A Touch of Classic Soul: Soul Singers of the Early 1970's," I mention that there were two groups of competing Delfonics touring in the 1980's. William and Wilbert Hart, original members of the Delfonics, each sought to control the name. Today, there are still bogus groups touring the world using familiar names in an attempt to "get over" while shamming you and me. In the USA, the "imposter group" fraud problem has been around for years. Mary Wilson, an original member of The Supremes, has been involved in a battle to pass national legislation to prevent imposter groups from using famous names of 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's performers. Her legislation requires the presence of a verifiable original group member for the name to be legally used in a live performance. The federal courts have passed on the issue, so Mary has pushed for the legislation in individual states. Other famous music celebrities have supported her cause. So far, Pennsylvania, Illinois, South Carolina, and North Dakota have adopted the truth in music legislation. The Pennsylvania bill forbids, among other things... "Conducting any theatrical exhibition, public show, public amusement or exhibition, for admission to which a price is charged, without stating in any advertisement of the same, in the case of a musical group, whether or not the musical group performing is composed of the original members or a tribute group." It's important to note that Mary says tribute groups are OK, as long as the tribute group doesn't purposely masquerade as the original group. Visit Mary Wilson's web site for complete contact information. You can join her and support her honorable truth in music crusade. 2021 update: See this quick facebook Mary Wilson Tribute we created in honor of her legacy when she passed in February, 2021. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Diana Ross drops Love Power Pick

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/05/2006

    The highly anticipated Diana Ross CD, "I Love You," is scheduled for release Tuesday, October 10th. It's her first studio album in over seven years. Diana says that she and her producers researched hundreds of songs to select the 14 that are included in the collection. Their screening process was similar to the Quincy Jones - Michael Jackson technique of whittling down about 800 songs to the nine that appeared on "Thriller." Ms. Ross offers "I Love You (That's all That Really Matters)" as the sole new song. The other tunes were selected for what Diana characterizes as "craftsmanship in songwriting." Remember - from the pen of Harry Nilsson More Today Than Yesterday - Spiral Starecase I Want You - Marvin Gaye I Love You (That's All That Really Matters) What About Love - from Oprah Winfrey's "The Color Purple" (stage Production) The Look of Love - Dusty Springfield Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen Lovely Day - Bill Withers To Be Loved Only You I Will - Paul McCartney You Are So Beautiful - Billy Preston Always and Forever - Heatwave Remember Reprise Diana Ross, at age 62, is closing in on her 60th Album. Wow! I like the look of "I Love You." Previous Post | Next Post

  • 1 Ultimate Luther Vandross Shines Bright

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/03/2006

    Will the Luther Vandross touch on a song ever go out of style? Just add his name to these glowing, classic soul CD releases... "The Best of" - 1989 "Greatest Hits" - 1999 "Super Hits" - 2000 "The Ultimate" - 2001 "Very Best of" - 2002 "The Essential" - 2003 "The Ultimate" - 2006 There are a few other "pretend" hit collections from obscure record labels, but this list represents the strongest of the Luther Vandross compilations. Some time back, Chic's Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers collaborated with others to write a previously unreleased dance track, "Shine," showcasing Luther's magnificent voice. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have produced "Shine," which appears on the new "Ultimate Luther Vandross." Out of the 17 other "Ultimate" tracks, one additional song has never been released: "Got You Home." It's a slow-to-medium tempo ballad. Vandross diehards will probably want to grab just "Shine" via a digital download, since the rest of "The Ultimate Luther Vandross" appears on earlier releases. Newer fans can't go wrong getting this excellent 18 song collection. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 London Calls John Legend for Live Online Gig

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/28/2006

    John Legend, who won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B vocal performance for 2005's "Ordinary People," kicks off a free live online MSN concert series on Monday, October 2. Legend lands in London's Royal Albert Hall for a 9pm performance (1pm Pacific, 4pm Eastern). John also won 2005's Best R&B album Grammy: "Get Lifted." Microsoft's video site, MSN Video, will stream the concert live to the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the U.K. Legend's MSN concert will be the first of 36 scheduled live online performances by various artists over several years. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Leaving New Day Dreaming to Natalie Cole

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/27/2006

    Aretha Franklin's number one song, "Day Dreaming," gets a contemporary spin as one of the highlighted tracks on Natalie Cole's new CD, "Leavin'." Scheduled for release yesterday, (September 26), "Leavin'" is Natalie's 20th studio album, and her first in four years. Versatility is Ms. Cole's middle name. She chooses a wide selection of material on the collection, including songs by The Isley Brothers, Fiona Apple, Neil Young, Kate Bush, and Sting: Criminal Old Man Day Dreaming Leavin' The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done To Me) Lovin' Arms Love Letter The Man With A Child In His Eyes 5 Minutes Away Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love) You Gotta Be If I Ever Lose My Faith In You She handles "Day Dreaming" quite well, giving it a very modern touch. Natalie Cole trivia...her first hit, "This Will Be," reached #6 pop in 1975. How many hits did she have through 1997? What's a new CD without a tour to support the release? Catch Natalie on the following October and November 2006 dates: October 12: Casino Rama Orillia, Ontario, Canada October 14: Caesar's Palace, Atlantic City, New Jersey October 16: World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 18: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, Georgia October 21: Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, Kentucky October 24: Count Basie Theater, Red Bank, New Jersey October 25: Music Center at Strathmore, Bethesda, Maryland October 28: Fine Arts Theatre, Detroit, Michigan October 29: Fine Arts Theatre, Detroit, Michigan November 1: Park West, Chicago, Illinois November 2: Park West, Chicago, Illinois November 7: Potawatomi Casino-Northern Lights Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 12: Jackson Rancheria Casino, Jackson, California The answer to the trivia question: Natalie Cole had 18 charted "hits" between 1975 - 1997. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Marvin Gaye DVD has Rare Concert Footage

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/19/2006

    In 1981, Marvin Gaye was featured in an hour-long television special broadcast in Ostende, Belgium. The concert was recorded and filmed that year on July 4th, but was never released in the USA. Out this past Tuesday, September 12th for the first time ever, Marvin's concert performance on DVD features these 10 hits: Got To Give It Up Come Get To This Let's Get It On After The Dance If This World Were Mine Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing Ain't No Mountain High Enough How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) I Want You Inner City Blues (Make Me Want To Holler) What's a good DVD without the bonus features? "Marvin Gaye - Live In Belgium 1981" includes several. There's footage of a candid Marvin Gaye interview along with two rare lip-synch performances of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "Heavy Love Affair" from a local Belgian TV show. Both videos were shot weeks before the TV concert to promote the show. Additional features include the original a cappella vocal track for "I Heard It Through The Grapevine." Several live Marvin Gaye albums/CD's have been previously released, including these 4: Marvin Gaye Live (1974) Marvin Gaye Live in Montreux 1980 (2003) Live in Miami (2003) Legend, Live, and Forever (2006) Legend, Live, and Forever, released earlier this year, includes recordings from the late 1960's and early 1970's from Japan and Europe. Some of the recordings used equipment of questionable quality during some of the dates. You'll probably want to pass on Legend, Live, and Forever. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Howard Hewett Heads back to the Spotlight

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/14/2006

    Former Shalamar member Howard Hewett has been what he calls a "weekend warrior" these past few years, performing over 120 live shows annually for fans. His history of hitmaking includes "I'm For Real," his first #1 hit in 1986, "Stay," "I Commit To Love," "Strange Relationship," "Once, Twice, Three Times," and "Show Me." Hewett's fans also can't get enough of his original modern gospel classic "Say Amen." He released the inspirational album The Journey in 2003, and has recorded over the years with Babyface, George Duke, Brian Culbertson, Joe Sample, and The Rippingtons. Hewett is cool with the term "comeback" to describe the new project he's currently writing and recording for Groove Records. Howard is co-executive producing the as yet untitled album, his first strictly R&B/pop recording since 1994's It's Time, with Ralph Johnson, the Grammy winning Hall of Famer and founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Classic Soul Summit Summons Gordy, Gamble, Huff & Bell

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/12/2006

    Condensed From Frost Illustrated, Fort Wayne, Indiana... "Philadelphia International Records recently released editorial sound bites and photos of an extraordinary forum that brought together for the first time the four men collectively responsible for the rise of the R&B/classic soul genre... The hit making machine brain-trust are Motown founder Berry Gordy, Philadelphia International Records founders Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, and Stax Records founder Al Bell. The historic question and answer session held at the landmark Gamble-Huff recording studio in Philadelphia, provided an intimate setting for industry trailblazers Gordy, Gamble, Huff and Bell to collectively reflect on their musical genius. "To have the four architects of classic R&B/soul together in one room, under one roof at the same is beyond belief," said Philadelphia International Records Executive Vice President Chuck Gamble, who orchestrated the forum as one of several special events taking place in 2006 to celebrate The Sound of Philadelphia's 35th anniversary. "We are still digesting it." That's because Gordy, Gamble, Huff and Bell are responsible for countless hits recorded by many of the world's top artists including Motown's: Temptations Supremes Stevie Wonder Smokey Robinson Marvin Gaye Philadelphia International Records: O'Jays Patti LaBelle Teddy Pendergrass Lou Rawls Billy Paul Stax Records: Issac Hayes Al Green Otis Redding The Staple Singers . The rare gathering of these pioneers was videotaped in front a live audience that included Motown R&B songwriting veterans Brian and Eddie Holland; Claudette Robinson of the Miracles; Chubby Checker; Bunny Sigler; Chuck Jackson; and William "Poogie" Hart of the Delfonics. Also present was actor Clifton Davis who wrote the 1971 Motown hit single "Never Can Say Goodbye" recorded by the Jackson 5, and some of the young R&B hitmakers of today including: Andre Harris and Vidal Davis (Dre and Vidal) who have created music for Usher, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Will Smith. Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias who have produced songs for Musiq and Faith Evans. Prolific songwriter and renowned Motown artist Smokey Robinson made a surprise appearance at the gathering and immediately joined Gordy, Gamble, Huff and Bell in the discussion. Audience members watched as the men who brought classic soul music into their lives humbly and eloquently took turns reflecting on their unmatched successes, thousands of songs created, countless artists recorded, and friendly behind-the-scenes label rivalries. "Gamble and Huff would come out with these songs that would amaze us and we'd say man, how did they get that," said Gordy as he called the Motown-Philly relationship a "loving competition." Moderated by veteran Philadelphia radio personality Dyana Williams, the three-hour discussion was lighthearted in terms of content but passionate as it related to the many reflections shared. R&B crooner Gerald Levert encouraged today's songwriters, producers and artists to "bring back to the industry the camaraderie" that Gordy, Gamble, Huff and Bell exhibited at the forum. Levert noted that although the four icons were steering three separate record labels at one time and were in essence competing for music sales, "they still shared a bond with one another at the end of the day." "Who knows?" said Chuck Gamble, when asked what happens next. "Maybe next time, we'll go to the world-renowned Motown Hitsville studios in Detroit or to the venerated Stax museum in Memphis. We can't let this die. We have to keep it going." Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Soulful Cover Girls Challenge Mr. Richie

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/05/2006

    Here are three very anticipated major releases coming your way this month? Beyonce' "B Day" (Tuesday, September 5) Lionel Richie "Coming Home" (Tuesday, September 12) Janet Jackson "20 Years Old" (Tuesday, September 26) Look for all three artists to get their promotion machines in high gear. Lionel Richie's been getting strong television exposure. Beyonce' and Janet Jackson have been recent cover girls for Essence and Vibe magazines respectively. I'm guessing Beyonce's release will be the most popular of the three. Both Janet and Lionel need strong comebacks. Can they do it? Previous Post | Next Post

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