• 0 Aretha and Ray

    Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles share a hug from back in the day. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Rose Royce Rides in Classic Soul Style

    Producer Norman Whitfield was the wizard behind the mix with a nice run mentoring these four albums by Rose Royce released between 1976 - 1979. Car Wash - 1976, In Full Bloom II - 1977, Strikes Again III - 1978, and Rainbow Connection IV - 1979. Three of these albums were released on his own label Whitfield, distributed by Warner Brothers, (with the exception of Car Wash, on MCA). Before his Rose Royce days, Norman Whitfield wrote and produced many classics for Motown, including "Ball of Confusion," and "Just My Imagination" by the Temptations. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Shelia E. and Natalie Cole Freeze Frames

    Natalie Cole's "I Live For Your Love" is one of the many 7 inch 45 rpm vinyl picture sleeve singles released to promote her music back in the day. Some of her other picture sleeves include: "Dangerous" "Jump Start" "When I Fall In Love" "Miss You Like Crazy" Shelia E.'s "The Glamorous Life" and "The Belle of St. Mark" are her two most popular picture sleeves, along with: "A Love Bizarre" "Sister Fate" "Bedtime Story" "Holly Rock" "Hold Me" "Koo Koo" In 2010, some of these sleeves are more valuable than the records. You may find some hidden gems lying in a basement, garage, attic, flea market, second-hand shop, or at a used record store. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Time Plays it Cool for New Year's Eve

    That's Morris Day out in front on the cover of the Time's 1981 album, The Time. As was normal back in the day, record label Warner Brothers stamped a "loaned for promotion only" sticker on the upper right side of my deejay copy (of the vinyl disc). Terry Lewis, Jimmy Jam, Monte Moir, Jellybean Johnson, Jesse Johnson, and Morris Day were the Minneapolis, Minnesota Time. They'll be represented during the 16 hour plus Powerhouse Radio New Year's Eve Special beginning at 9 am Eastern. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Woodstock Is Still Wonderful at 40

    Woodstock, the 1969 arts and music festival, is an important iconic cultural event because of the changing artistic and social norms the concert both magnified and challenged. August 15 - 18, 40 years ago this weekend, the harmonic happening happened. The historic gathering of close to 500,000 people in Woodstock, New York was not the first flower-power super show. Woodstock occurred 2 years after 1967's Monterey Pop, a legendary California gathering of contemporary music elite. We remember Woodstock Music and Art Fair for creating the formula for Live Earth, Live Aid, Farm Aid, and the subsequent gigantic song filled mega affairs yet to come. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the planning, execution, and organization of Woodstock. Just out of high school during the summer of 69', I wrote the organizers for ticket information and received disappointing news from them in a letter laced with typographical mistakes. In retrospect, with no tickets and no way to get there, it was a smart move for me not to attempt to go (from New York City) despite being just 80 miles away from the town of Woodstock. Hundreds of thousands attended, including the gleeful gate crashers who soaked in the spirit of free admission, free music, and frequent rain during the weekend. Woodstock, Monterey Pop, and many of the other Wal-Mart sized festivals have always been criticized for sparse representation of R&B and soul performers. Monterey Pop had Booker T & The MG's, Otis Redding, and Hugh Masekela. Woodstock had Sly & The Family Stone, Richie Havens, and Santana. Both featured Jimi Hendrix. Missing from these grand spectacles, real blues legends like B.B. King. Despite the booking lapses, it was still much easier to create a somewhat diverse concert bill in 1969 than what might be expected today. Woodstock had among others? Folk: Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Melanie, Tim Hardin Rock: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Ten Years After Soft Rock: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young Blues Rock: Canned Heat, Butterfield Blues Band Pop: Sha-Na-Na, John Sebastian Woodstock is given a pass for the technical quality of the concert recording. Admittedly, this was a tough job. According to the official documentation on the original vinyl 3 album set, 64 reels of 8 track tape were used to capture three and 1/2 days of music. Each day consisted of 18 continuous hours of performances. The final mixes are rough by today's standards. What stands out is the energy and passion of the performers as they were motivated to jam thanks to the responsive, enthusiastic crowd. In 1994 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, a 4 CD collection was finally released with cleaner mixes. Melanie, Tim Hardin, and a few other performers who appeared in 1969 (but were not on the original record) got added to the updated release. Still, we remember this 60's defining event not so much for the music, but for it's social significance. Listen for our 40th anniversary Woodstock tribute on Powerhouse Radio on Friday, August 14, 2009, during the 11 am eastern hour. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Sam Cooke Summertime

    Here's Sam Cooke in a lighter studio moment from way back in 1962. The photo is on the back of the vinyl release The Best of Sam Cooke. Producers Hugo & Luigi proclaim on the album jacket "he lives in the top ten," and Sam Cooke did, with these memorable favorites included in this collection: "You Send Me" "Only Sixteen" " Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha" "For Sentimental Reasons" "Wonderful World" "Summertime" "Chain Gang" "Cupid" "Twistin' The Night Away" "Sad Mood" "Having A Party" "Bring It On Home To Me" Discover much more about Sam Cooke in the Archive. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Con Funk Shun Steps Lightly but Brightly

    Con Funk Shun's 1977 album Secrets included the Michael Cooper inspired anthem "Ffun," one of their top songs. Michael, Karl Fuller, Paul Harrell, Cedric Martin, Louis A. McCall, Danny Thomas, and Felton C. Pilate II are all pictured here on what is the flip side of the lyric sheet insert included in Secrets. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 A Creative Source Sure Shot

    On the flip side of this 45 rpm vinyl dj promotional copy, a famous New York City radio station music director inscribed the phrase "sure shot." I'm showing you the side without the writing, so you can get a clean look at this Sussex label 1973 original version of "You Can't Hide Love," recorded by Creative Source, and written by Skip Scarborough. This is the same song that became a big hit for Earth, Wind & Fire on their 1/2 live 1/2 studio double album, Gratitude, in 1975. Although billed as a "sure shot" by our mystery music director, this fate was not to be. "You Can't Hide Love" did not become a hit for Creative Source. Creative Source's version sounds closer to what you'd expect from the 5th Dimension or Friends of Distinction - a smooth blend of male/female harmony, but not nearly as progressive in production as the adventurous reincarnation by the elements of the universe, Earth, Wind & Fire. What makes this copy of the Creative Source song personally valuable to me is the calligraphy on the side of the disc I haven't shown you. New York City denizens have probably already guessed that the scribe was the famous dj Frankie Crocker, who picked this tune as a WBLS "sure shot" while I was working there. Yes, this is the actual copy of the 45 that was transferred to an audio tape cartridge and included the opening announcement voiced by Frankie who chimed: "It's another WBLS sure shot." Those were the days! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 13 Blue Magic Lane is Home for 5 Philly Fellas

    Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer, Keith Beaton, Ted "Wizard" Mills (lead vocals), and Wendell Sawyer are the 1975 version of Blue Magic. This montage of photos is from the original inner jacket sleeve from their album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane. Wedged between 1974's Blue Magic (that included the hit "Side Show"), and their 2nd 1975 record The Magic of the Blue (featuring "Three Ring Circus"), Thirteen Blue Magic Lane wasn't unlucky with respect to several strong tracks highlighted by: "Chasing Rainbows" "Magic of the Blue" "We're On The Right Track" "What's Come Over Me" (with Margie Joseph) Blue Magic, from the city of brotherly love, textured "the sound of Philadelphia" to their own strengths using many of the city's top session musicians and producers during the legendary Gamble and Huff era. Even with the expectation of a signature ballad serenade, a Blue Magic show from my personal experience was always well paced, energetic, and lively. In 2008, a live in concert Blue Magic DVD was finally released. A classic soul gem to seek out if you can find it is the 1976 live double album featuring Blue Magic, Margie Joseph, and Major Harris, from which we occasionally play tracks on Powerhouse Radio. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Mandrill Fencewalks to Morocco

    The classic soul "Fencewalk" funk ensemble Mandrill will be returning to the stage with some European and USA appearances during the 2009 tour season. One of their first ports of call will be at the northern tip of Africa: Tangiers, Morocco, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. All the action happens at the Tanjazz Music Festival, featuring Mandrill on Friday, June 12th, and Saturday, June 13th. Previous Post | Next Post

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