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  • 0 Bobby Brown's Peppy Prerogative

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 07/12/2006

    According to the Associated Press, Bobby Brown's recent Essence Music Festival reunion with New Edition in Houston, Texas was an eye opener. It's hard out there being Bobby Brown. Singing solo since leaving New Edition in the 1980's, Mr. Brown has made more news off the musical stage than on it. The 2006 Essence Music Festival New Edition set also featured original members Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, plus Johnny Gill, (who replaced Brown). Not content to stick with slick New Edition choreography, Brown moved around the stage throwing down some wild and raunchy dance moves. By the time Bobby moved into his own solo set, "Don't Be Cruel" morphed into some provocative chatter about his sex life with wife Whitney Houston. Many folks in the Essence Music Festival crowd were getting restless as Brown finished up with "My Prerogative," pretty much screaming for Bobby Brown to get off the stage. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Brunswick Records Releases Classic Soul Legends

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 07/11/2006

    On Tuesday, July 11, 2006, Brunswick Records is scheduled to release a remastered double CD collection of their 1966-1975 classic soul hits. "Brunswick Top 40 R&B Singles" features Jackie Wilson, Tyrone Davis, Young-Holt Trio, Barbara Acklin, The Chi-Lites, The Lost Generation, Gene Chandler, The Artistics, and several other artists. I was excited to see that The Lost Generation's "Sly, Slick, & The Wicked," a song I recently listened to that I have on 45 rpm vinyl, is included on the 2nd CD. This track is an underground R&B classic. Many of the Chi-Lites big hits are featured, including "Are You My Woman," the song Beyonce' sampled and turned into the smash "Crazy in Love." You may also recognize other vintage Brunswick melodies here as a few more have been recently sampled by Joss Stone and Paul Wall. The strength of "Brunswick Top 40 R&B Singles 1966 - 1975" is the showcase of "The Chicago Sound," a classic soul R&B signature style from the windy city. Worth its weight in gold are several of the lesser-known tunes sure to thrill many collectors. Check out the complete track listings of "Brunswick Top 40 R&B Singles 1966 - 1975. Disc One: Disc Two: Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 07/06/2006

    Just released, Atlantic Unearthed presents rare and unreleased tracks from the label's biggest classic soul and classic R&B male stars from 1967 - 1973. Can't Stop A Man In Love - Wilson Pickett (previously unreleased) How Does It Feel - Bobby Womack You Left The Water Running - Sam & Dave Rome Wasn't Built In A Day - Arthur Conley (previously unreleased) Book Of Memories - Percy Wiggins That's How It Feels - The Soul Clan I Love You More Than Words Can Say - Otis Redding Baby, Baby, Baby - Percy Sledge (previously unreleased) Hold On - James Carr Pouring Water On A Drowning Man - Otis Clay Lovebones - Mighty Sam Love Of My Woman, The - Darrell Banks Coldest Days Of My Life - Walter Jackson Whiter Shade Of Pale - R.B. Greaves Change With The Seasons - Carl Hall What A Woman Really Means - Donny Hathaway (previously unreleased) Compared to Atlantic's Unearthed Soul Sisters, Unearthed: Soul Brothers contains even more rare tracks. R.B Greaves, Percy Wiggins, and Darrell Banks gain deserved exposure next to well known legends Otis Redding, Bobby Womack, and Donny Hathaway. There are two ways of looking at "previously unreleased" tracks. Were they lost in the music vaults, or did they not make the cut when originally recorded? As a historic reflection of the classic soul era almost forty years later, I suspect Unearthed: Soul Brothers is a little bit of both. However, these artists were so good at their craft, that these adventurous tracks hold their own in 2006 with the best of the genre. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 07/05/2006

    Just released, Atlantic Unearthed presents rare and unreleased tracks from the label's biggest classic soul and classic R&B lady stars from 1964 - 1972. Exceptional tracks from some women who are not household names are included as a big bonus. Soul Sisters offers these wonderful gems: My Way - Aretha Franklin It's Growing - Margie Joseph 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 Count The Days - Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles Please Little Angel - Doris Troy Hands Off My Baby - Mary Wells My Best Friend's Man - Dee Dee Sharp Rescue Me - Dee Dee Warwick What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted - Baby Washington Full Time Woman - Irma Thomas I Got To Love Somebody's Baby - Judy Clay Cheater Man - Esther Phillips What A Man - Laura Lee Ain't Nothing Gonna Change Me - The Sweet Inspirations It Ain't Who You Know - Jackie Moore I Ain't That Easy To Lose - Bettye Swann Thankful For What I Got - Barbara Lewis Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne's younger sister, never received big time promotion from any of her record labels. It's great to see her cover of the Fontella Bass hit included in this great collection. Another interesting track is the Temptations "It's Growing," stylized here by Margie Joseph. Aretha's version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" showcases the song in a completely different light. Atlantic did their homework when they put these songs together. Unearthed Soul Sisters is highly recommended. Released on Rhino Records. Previous Post | Next Post  

  • 0 Bush and B.B. Sing King's Blues

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/28/2006

    B.B. King, Patti Austin, and Irvin Mayfield performed at the White House Monday, June 26, as President Bush acknowledged the celebration of "Black Music Month." Back in 2001, George W. Bush proclaimed June as Black Music Month. In the first year, Regina Belle and Take 6 performed in the East Room of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, while Lionel Hampton was honored for a lifetime of achievement. While it's nice that the President is giving some exposure to "the great contributions that black music has made to our nation," this choice of artists is too safe, and too conservative. These artists represent a 25 to 50 year gap between the popular reality of black music today, and nostalgia. Don't get me wrong, I'm the biggest B.B. King and Patti Austin fan, but there's a lot more happening in the 2006 iteration of black music than just jazz, and the blues. Irvin Mayfield is only 28. He's Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, but he represents a genre of music that has been honored repeatedly at the White House. In fairness, this year's Black Music Month celebrates indigenous sounds of the USA's Gulf Coast, specifically soul, blues, and jazz. Patti Austin has sung at the White House for every President since Ronald Reagan, so she doesn't need the exposure (or the work there). Maybe next year, when Black Music Month is celebrated at the Bush White House for the next to last time, we'll have much more flava in the mix. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Kool & the Gang Spirit Rests

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/28/2006

    The Kool & the Gang message board is alive with messages of condolence over the recent loss of guitarist and co-founder Claydes Smith. Claydes was an integral part of Kool's funky rhythm section. Discover more at the Kool & the Gang website. Don't miss the "history" link either. You'll find an excellent timeline documenting the band through the decades. I've been a fan of the group since day one, and still have all of their vinyl albums from the "pre-CD era," including their first, 1969's "Kool & the Gang," recorded when they were still teenagers (weren't we all back then). Kool & the Gang are in my personal top 10 list of the best R&B groups of all time. I've seen them live twice, and have never been disappointed. Although I lean towards their pre-1979 "Ladies Night" releases, their entire body of work, (including 2004's compelling "The Hits: Reloaded" CD), reflects classic soul, funk, and pop music at it's best. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 More Good Times from Chic

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/21/2006

    Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers is keeping the legacy of his group alive. Despite the loss of bassist Bernard Edwards to pneumonia in Tokyo, Japan in 1996, Rodgers continues today as "Chic & Nile Rodgers." Best known as a founding member of the group, He co-wrote "Le Freak" and "Good Times," and has successfully produced hits for Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Madonna, and David Bowie. Chic & Nile Rodgers will appear at the 40th Annual Montreux Jazz Festival, along with Solomon Burke, Ben E. King, George Duke, and the Atlantic Soul All Stars featuring Les McCann and Cornell Dupree: June 30, 2006: Montreux, Switzerland, Montreux Jazz Festival July 3, 2006 Brussels, Belgium, Place de Brouckere August 19, 2006: Los Angeles, CA, USA Greek Theatre In addition to touring, Nile is staying very busy with different projects. He tells Computer Music Magazine in the June 2006 issue that he's heavily involved in producing music for many new video game soundtracks. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Beyonce? Punk'd by PETA

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/20/2006

    Guest who came to dinner with Beyonce'? PETA, - the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group. PETA recently placed an anonymous winning bid in an eBay auction for the chance to dine with Beyonce'. When Miss Knowles showed up for the dinner engagement, PETA confronted her about fur in her wardrobe and in her clothing line. Maybe PETA will be happy with this Destiny's Child shot (left to right) of Kelly Rowland, Beyonce', and Michelle Williams, as it features "faux-croc" leather (designed by B's mother, Tina Knowles). This is one of the silliest stories of the year. If PETA has issues with Beyonce', they should have gone through the proper channels with her management, rather than stealing a "fantasy" dinner away from one of Beyonce's fans. A couple of years ago when PETA took on fast food chicken giant KFC, PETA posted some troubling videos on their website taken by some of their undercover operatives at chicken processing plants. Stealth confrontation by Peta is nothing new. The animal rights group said it had previously attempted to reach Beyonce' through faxes, letters, and at rallies outside of her concerts. Clearly, PETA used shrewd theatrics to get some cheap publicity for their cause with this dinner stunt. You cross a fine line when you use manipulative tactics to take advantage of the goodwill of others. PETA's cause may be a noble one, but some of their sympathizers are turned off when the organization exploits others just for it's own gain. As of this writing, Beyonce' has had no comment on this incident. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 India.Arie, Janet Jackson, and Beyonce'

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/15/2006

    India.Arie, Janet Jackson, and Beyonce' all have new releases rolling out in the coming months. India's, "Testimony: Volume. 1, Life & Relationship," due June 27th, is her third studio album, and her first since 2002?s acclaimed "Voyage To India" (winner of two Grammy Awards). Miss Janet will be releasing "20 Years Old," September 26th. The title is a reference to the staying power of the youngest Jackson sibling. Her Control album was released in 1986. 2004's Damita Jo wasn't as well received as 2001's "All For You," so Janet Jackson will have to set the bar high for "20 Years Old." It's Beyonce' who's on the hot streak. Her "B'Day" CD is scheduled for release on September 5th, to coincide with her 25th birthday. The tease promotion for "B'Day" on Beyonce's website is a little over the top, with a bee repeatedly flying around the computer screen across her larger than life logo (to the beat of Beyonce's music). These three highly anticipated releases will certainly be in the race for 2007 Grammy Awards. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Al Green's Red White & Blue Fourth

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/14/2006

    Al Green headlines a free Independence Day evening bash in downtown Newport News, Virginia at Superblock and Victory Landing Park on Tuesday, July 4. Reverend Al has navigated between the worlds of classic soul and gospel music since delivering his string of consecutive number one hits in the early 1970's. In 1974, he was ordained minister at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Lucky for his R&B fans, Green has recently returned to performing his trademark soul hits. New albums from 2003 and 2005 feature the vintage Al Green sound. Previous Post | Next Post

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