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  • 0 Marvin Gaye Bio and Bistro Beam Inner City Blues

    American Masters puts Marvin Gaye in the spotlight with a PBS television special this week. Marvin Gaye: What's Going On tells the story of the Motown Legend in a dramatic visual biography. In his hometown of Washington DC, in the famous Shaw neighborhood, a two story restaurant has opened called "Marvin," dedicated to his memory. Marvin combines Belgian cuisine and soul food, a somewhat unusual mix. There's a Belgian connection in Gaye's past, during the early 1980's, when he spent time in Belgium trying to resurrect his career. 24 years after his death, Marvin Gaye remains in the spotlight. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 1 The Three Degrees Touch Angelic Harmony

    Valerie Holiday, Helen Scott, and Cynthia Garrison are the golden voices of The Three Degrees. The ladies have 2008 tour plans with possible touch-downs in Hawaii, Japan, and Europe. You have to go all the way back to Philadelphia, PA in 1963 for the genesis of the original group: Fayette Pinckney, Linda Turner, and Shirley Poole. There have been plenty of personnel changes through the years, although Helen and Valerie have been with the group since 1976. Helen was a late 1963 addition who left close to 1966, but returned a decade later. You'll probably remember "When Will I See You Again" as their biggest hit. Before success on Philadelphia International Records, The Three Degrees released songs on 5 different labels. When you graze through The Three Degrees Biography at their official web site, you'll discover the British icon who named these ladies as his favorite group. I'll recommend these 4 tracks from the Three Degrees catalog: "Love Is The Message" (with MFSB) "When Will I See You Again" "Maybe" (excellent cover of the Chantels hit with a rap to boot) "We're All Alone" (heavenly harmonies expanding the Boz Scaggs song) Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Heatwave Hits

    Brothers Johnnie and Keith Wilder were the core of Heatwave, the "Always And Forever" crew, who put together a team of gifted international musicians to deliver some jammin' grooves. Johnnie and Keith, Dayton, Ohio natives, fine-tuned their classic soul funk in Germany, following a tour of Army duty in the U.S. military. Positive club exposure in London captured for Heatwave their first record deal. 1976's Too Hot To Handle album, Heatwave's first release, included both "Always And Forever," and the dance classic "Boogie Nights." Tragically, Johnnie Wilder Jr. passed away in 2006 at age 56, closing a long chapter of success for the original group. Here's a photo courtesy of announcer DJ Cleo Rowe with Heatwave at radio station WNJR, Newark, New Jersey taken in 1978. The picture is from Cleo's radio archive. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Betty Wright Knocks Out the Clean Up Woman

    When 19 year old Betty Wright released the classic soul hit "Clean Up Woman" in 1972, the song launched an expressive career for the Miami, Florida teenager. With over 18 albums to her credit, Betty continues to belt out the tracks today. She was only 15 when her first album, "My First Time Around," was released on Atlantic's Atco record label. The majority of Miss Wright's success came with a string of hits following "Clean Up Woman." Betty's voice projected playfulness, confidence, wisdom, and maturity beyond her years. Singing with a tone of innocence to compliment a touch of raw vocal power, her musical stories stood out with entertaining and believable themes. Betty Wright is one of the best representing the "Florida" soul sound. Here are my top 4 Betty Wright songs: "Clean Up Woman" "Where Is The Love" "Tonight Is The Night" "Baby Sitter" Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Sister Kathy Sledge is Family

    Sister Sledge lead singer Kathy Sledge recently launched a new web site featuring audio, video, and historical highlights of her own solo career. Kathy is pictured here with her 10 piece band. Tag along with this Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, and get busy inside the wonderful world of Kathy Sledge. We Are Family! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Billy Ocean Navigates Rough Water for New Musical Shores

    Billy Ocean has recorded a new song "Chained," for the forthcoming Wilburforce 200 album A Change is Gonna Come, due for a February 25th release. Billy recently performed at the 2008 Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues festival on January 26th, in Montego Bay. This show also featured a controversial appearance by Diana Ross. Billy Ocean is the biggest selling British black artist of all time. During a 30+ year career, he has sold in excess of 30 million singles and albums worldwide. Most of his success came in the 1980's. Billy, birth name: Leslie Sebastian Charles, was born on January 21, 1950, in Fyzabad on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. In 1958 his family immigrated to England in search of work, settling in the East End of London. His first single was released under his own name Les Charles in 1971. In 1975, adopting the name Billy Ocean, he signed a production deal that resulted in little commercial success. Billy's first album, Billy Ocean, was released in 1976 and contained four singles that generated increasing attention in the UK. After another 1979 release, an additional record on CBS, and much touring in the early 1980's, Ocean finally exploded in September 1984, renaming the single "European Queen" and re-releasing it as "Caribbean Queen." "Caribbean Queen" would sell a million copies on the international stage and win a Grammy Award. A 3rd version of the song called "African Queen" was recorded for the African music market cresting on their charts for 10 weeks. In 1985, Ocean toured America for the very first time, including a gig at JFK stadium in Philadelphia as part of Live Aid on July 13th. 1986 brought more success with "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" and "Love Zone." Billy spent most of 1987 recording his next album. One song from the record, "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car," caused some controversy when it was released as a single in 1988. Despite reaching # 3 in the U.K., British radio nearly banned the song because a national newspaper implied that "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" referenced child molestation. Billy explained that while growing up as a teenager none of his friends drove cars, most of them rode scooters, so a song called "Get outta my dreams, get onto my scooter" just wouldn't have worked. After years of hard work and well-earned success, Billy decided to take time away from the music business and devote himself to his family. A "Greatest Hits" collection was released in September 1989, becoming Ocean's biggest selling UK album going platinum. By 1993 the music scene had changed and Billy's next studio album had changed with it. "Time To Move On" was recorded in Chicago with R. Kelly, who had been a long time admirer. A new image accompanied the album with a younger looking Billy Ocean sporting dreadlocks following his conversion to the Rastafarian religion. In September 1998 Jive Records issued Love Is For Ever, a 24 track double album covering much more of Billy's back catalogue. Ocean continued to stay out of the limelight for the next few years, performing once at the South Africa Freedom Day concert on Sunday, April 29th, 2001. The Freedom Day concert held in London's Trafalgar Square honored the 7th anniversary of South Africa's free elections. Billy Ocean continues to live in England and enjoys spending time with his family, gardening at his home in Berkshire and performing around the globe with the Ebony Steel Orchestra. Visit Billy Ocean's official web site for more Billy Ocean lore. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Angela Bofill Battles Life Beyond Music

    After a couple of massive strokes, Angela Bofill continues rehabilitation treatment on the road to recovery. Additional details are available on the official Angela Bofill website. Quite a bit has been written since her first stroke in 2006 about how her lack of health insurance has affected her ability to receive adequate health care. The music community has rallied around her cause with financial donations. Other friends have become involved in her plight by bringing awareness of her specific situation to the national U.S. health care debate - and the fact that many people don't have any health insurance. Ms. Bofill was 24 years old when she recorded her first album, Angie on the Arista GRP label in 1978. She was born in New York City, grew up in the West Bronx, and attended Hunter High School, Manhattan School of Music, and Hartford Conservatory of Music. Angie has one of those rare cross-over voices, equally suited for R&B or jazz. She's performed with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, and others. On his new 2007 release Missing You, Peabo Bryson tackles Angela's classic, "I Try," a song that she wrote. Her stellar version, on the record Angel of The Night, is still the best rendering of this torch song. Her are 3 Angela Bofill albums you'll love: Angel of The Night Platinum & Gold Collection Angie Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Classic Soul Legend Betty Lavette to release The Scene of The Crime

    Betty (also known as Bettye) Lavette is a stealth classic soul artist who has flown below the radar screen of many lovers of R&B. The Detroit, Michigan performer is scheduled to release a new album on Tuesday, September 25, 2007. A club and "chitlin circuit" veteran, Lavette recorded "My Man, He's A Lovin' Man" and "You'll Never Change" for Atlantic Records in 1962. After Atlantic, next stop was LuPine, a label that eventually when out of business. She recorded for a string of other record labels in the 1960's, but was forced to make the majority of her income from the club circuit. In 1969, Betty Lavette recorded Joe South's "Games People Play" in Nashville, a song highly regarded as a southern country soul classic. By 1971, it was back to Atlantic and their sister label Atco, where she recorded "Heart of Gold." Lavette next called Epic Records home in 1975, and cut Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors." Projects for West End Records, Motown, Street King, and the Motor City label were to follow. Betty Lavette albums: Easier To Say Than Do - Charly Tell Me A Lie - Motown Nearer To You - Charly Let Me Down Easy (live) - Munich A Woman Like Me - Blues Express I've Got My Own Hell To Raise - Anti Take Another Little Piece of My Heart - Varese Sarabande If you are a Betty Lavette fan, what's your favorite song from her catalog? A true survivor, Betty presses on with 2007's The Scene of The Crime. Catch all of the drama inside of the Betty Lavette story by visiting her official website. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Bobby Byrd's Glow was James Brown's Brightest Flame

    Bobby, Maceo, Fred, Clyde, and Bootsy. Inside most of his funky hits during the 1970s, James Brown triumphantly mentions at least one of his band partners during the jam session. The notable 5 include bassist Bootsy Collins, drummer Clyde Stubblefield, horn players Fred Wesley & Maceo Parker, and vocalist/keyboard player Bobby Byrd. Byrd passed away on September 12, 2007. His biggest solo hit was, "I Know You Got Soul," but he's primarily remembered for trading 'shout outs' with James Brown during several memorable funk sessions. 6 of Bobby Byrd's Best: "I Know You Got Soul" (solo) "I Need Help" (solo) "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" (with James Brown) "Soul Power" (with James Brown) "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing" (with James Brown) "Sex Machine" (live version with James Brown) The Hip hop mc/dj duo of Eric B. & Rakim sampled "I Know You Got Soul" in 1986 to reincarnate the Bobby Byrd anthem on the dance floor. Hugh Gregory's biography of Bobby Byrd picks up the Byrd story in 1953, when he was lead singer and pianist in the Gospel Starlighters. Gregory mentions that James Brown joined Byrd's group that same year. Brown convinced Byrd to musically move the group from gospel to R&B, so they changed the name from Gospel Starlighters to the Famous Flames. When the Flames and James Brown parted ways, Byrd joined Soul Brother Number One's new band, the JB's. As a vocalist, Bobby Byrd's light did not shine as brightly as James Brown's, but Byrd in collaboration with "Mr. Dynamite" produced some of the funkiest tracks in the history of classic soul. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Beat-Master Bo Diddley

    Bo Diddley's publicist says the singer is hospitalized and in "guarded" condition after suffering a stroke. He's in intensive care and his condition is listed as guarded. Diddley is a 78 year old pop music icon of enormous influence, who continues to perform and thrill fans. His last performance was this past Sunday, May 13, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. His songs have been covered and recorded by the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Manfred Mann, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Doors, Tom Rush, and Bob Seger, (among many others). Diddley's custom-made rectangular guitar, and his playing style, complete with distorted amplification, became a trademark by the mid 1950?s. He was born in McComb, Mississippi, on December 30, 1928. Ellas McDaniel, also known as Bo, received his nickname from his early years as a boxer. He played the blues clubs of Chicago, Illinois, in the 1940's and 1950's. Diddley's early legendary recordings were made for the Chess label. His collection of hits include "Who Do You Love," "Hey! Bo Diddley," "Pretty Thing," and "Hush Your Mouth." Bo played on several Chuck Berry classics including "Memphis, Tennessee," and "Sweet Little Rock N' Roller." Diddley's 1959 "Say Man" was a rap styled dialogue 20 years ahead of its time. In 1962, he performed for President John F. Kennedy at a private set at the White House. He toured Great Britain in the 1960's and 1970's, performing on shows with the Everly Brothers, the Rolling Stones, and the Clash. Diddley continued his presence through the 1980's, with a film appearance in Eddie Murphy's Trading Places (1983). Bo's music was featured in films including La Bamba (1987), and Dirty Dancing, (1987). Diddley was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He performed for President George Bush at the Inaugural Gala in 1989. Diddley rocked at 1992's Democratic National Convention celebration for Bill Clinton. In February of 1996, Bo Diddley received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, an acknowledgment, for among other accomplishments, pioneering the famous "Bo Diddley beat." 2021 Update: Bo Diddley passed away on June 2, 2008. Previous Post | Next Post

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