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  • 0 Alicia Keys - A Major - In Songs In A Minor

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 06/10/2016

    You may have enjoyed Alicia Keys' lucky thirteen. That is the number of her songs we played during Powerhouse Radio streaming days on Live365. Four of them were from songs in A minor released in 2001. Preezy from The Boombox reinforces why Alicia Keys was the real deal for music fans yearning for something new. Read How Alicia Keys' 'Songs In A Minor' Album Mastered The Art Of Classical Soul at Boombox. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Corrinne Bailey Ray

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 05/14/2016

    This picture was taken at a private performance in Washington, D.C. I've always liked Corinne Bailey Rae's songs. Her magic is groomed from the Deniece Williams songbird school but wedded inside of the unique 'Corinne rhythmic vocal style.' Tim Jonze gives you more of the back story in "Corinne Bailey Rae: The Heart Speaks in Whispers Review – Sweet, Smooth Soul" at The Guardian.   Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Charles Bradley And His Classic Soul Odyssey

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 04/16/2016

    What's the one thing both Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley have proven? It's never too late to find success in a late blooming career as a performer/record creator. Darryl Sterdan in the Toronto Sun has written a nice summary about the perilous path travelled by Charles Bradley. Charles morphed from an anonymous advocate singing R&B to a known architect crooning the classic soul style. Old school soul may be in the twilight days of mass popularity but that fact is an inspiration to Charles. Read Mr. Bradley's thoughts about music in "Soul singer Charles Bradley on crafting a career out of heartbreak" at the Toronto Sun. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Mysterious Soul: Prince and The Revolution

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 02/27/2016

    We discovered an article we think you'll like. Guest Pitulah analyzes at Noogatoday with a lot of background why Purple Rain by Prince was such an outstanding achievement. Read "Record Bin: The mysterious soul of Prince and The Revolution's "Purple Rain" by Pitulah. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 12 Standout Male Blue-Eyed Soul Singers?

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 10/02/2015

    When you review Rob Patterson's list of the 12 Standout Male Blue-Eyed Soul Singers you may see a few people that you don't know. I only agree with 6 people out of 12 on his list. Can White people sing "Black" music effectively articles always amuse me. You are the ultimate judge whether or not the vocal interpretation is authentic to the bone, or should I say soul. Scan the article, watch a few of the sample videos, and decide for yourself who is the real deal on the best classic bands website! 12 Standout Male Blue-Eyed Soul Singers Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Jill Scott In Her Own Groove

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/16/2015

    Jill Scott has paid her dues. Scott's slow to medium tempo tunes don't compete with dance floor favorites. They don't have too. It doesn't matter. The living my life like it's "Golden" lady has carved out her own niche. You should enjoy this Jill Scott feature below:   Woman: The confessions of R&B singer Jill Scott below was written by Hiram Lee and originally appeared at wsws.org. ---------- American R&B singer Jill Scott has been making music for 15 years now. In addition to her successful singing career, she has also written poetry and appeared in a number of films, including the interesting James Brown biopic Get on Up (2014). While not quite a household name like fellow R&B performers Beyoncé, Alicia Keys or John Legend, Scott has garnered a significant following and earned the respect of her peers. Her new album Woman debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts when it was released in July. Born in 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Scott was one of several R&B singers to emerge at the end of 1990s and in the early 2000s as part of the so-called "neo-soul" movement. While maintaining connections to hip hop, these performers (D’Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Erykah Badu and others) took most of their cues from classic soul and R&B. Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Donny Hathaway were significant reference points. Scott’s early singles "A Long Walk" and "Gettin' in the Way” epitomized the neo-soul style. They featured rich bass guitar lines that wound their way in and out of the path of strutting drums and the always shimmering electric piano. One was struck by the flexibility and warmth of Scott’s voice. Her latest work is tougher. Though some songs hark back to her earlier recordings, the new material is less relaxed, less "cool." There is less jazz, perhaps, and more blues. Among the most successful songs on Woman are those done in collaboration with producer/writer Aaron Pearce. "Run, Run, Run," is a propulsive R&B number that digs in and grabs the rhythm with both hands. Scott belts it out, but never puts on pretenses—she doesn’t use her songs as mere vehicles to demonstrate her vocal prowess. The fast-paced number, with its relentless bass guitar thumping away the seconds of an exhausting day, recounts the story of someone "overworked, underpaid" who has to keep going all the same. "Gotta put food on the table," sings Scott. The narrator is pulled along by her tasks (and the music) almost in spite of herself. "Can't Wait," co-written and produced by Andre Harris, is something of a companion track. Its most memorable verse sees Scott singing, "We all running the same race/Just to pay some bills/Staring monsters in their face (with grace)/You’d be so proud/Money made, bills to be paid/Like each and everybody/But baby I need and I need you." There is at least a touch of the real world in songs like these, a hint of the pressures bearing down on working people. Not all of the songs are so meaningful, however. For all her talents, Scott has a tendency to get in her own way at times. Her spoken word interludes ("Wild Cookie," "Say Thank You," "Lighthouse") are pretty weak and delivered with a little too much self-importance. "Prepared" goes even farther in that direction. The song comes to us in the form of a disjointed series of confessions, large and small. It provides a snapshot of the artist's thinking and day to day concerns, which, in this instance at least, prove to be regrettably narrow. "I’ve been reading my old journals," sings Scott. Among the more banal observations that follow, Scott informs us that she's "been eating more greens." "I've been getting recipes off the internet," she sings later. "I let the queen inside—I let her shine," she adds. "I've been listening for God more, I've been doing my chores," she assures us. What can one say about a song that treats matters as small as adding spice to a dish as though they were major turning points in one's life? This is self-involvement turning into self-parody. It is a song that bears the burden of middle class self-involvement and notions of self-empowerment that dominate neo-soul and “conscious” hip hop. It is not an easy task to sing about oneself without only singing about oneself. When an Otis Redding or an Aretha Franklin approach a song, they bring something else to it, something true to life and not just their own lives. You finish listening to Redding’s "I've Been Loving You Too Long," and you feel as though you've gotten something off your own chest. And he does it without about half as many words as today's singers. In some respects, it is unfair to compare Scott to figures like Redding and Franklin. But why shouldn’t one ask more of art, even when considering the most talented musicians? There is a tendency on the part of some listeners to approach the work of someone like Scott or similar performers and say "At least they aren’t backward or just talking about money and jewelry all the time like all the other stuff." But is that asking enough? For all the hip hop grooves and spoken word flights of fancy, it is the blues which makes the biggest impact on the album, and a song from Redding and Franklin's era. It is a real pleasure to hear Scott's version of Jerry Ragovoy's "You Don't Know." Ragovoy (1930-2011) was the producer/composer responsible for such remarkable songs as "Get it While You Can," "Time is On My Side," "Piece of My Heart" and "Cry Baby." A relatively straightforward blues ballad, "You Don't Know" nevertheless speaks volumes. Scott really comes to life in the performance. She is very much at home in this material, perhaps sensing she has something more substantial on her hands. Jill Scott is a performer of real talent. She's a commanding presence on the stage, in particular. The best moments on Woman are well worth hearing, but there is still that nagging unevenness about the whole thing. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Sparkle Then and Now

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/16/2012

    Whitney Houston's "Celebrate," a nice uptempo duet with Jordin Sparks of American Idol fame was recorded in early February, 2012. The latest "Sparkle" movie was released in August, 2012. The original film from 1976 starred Irene Cara. "Celebrate" is included in the soundtrack. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Lionel Richie Tuskegee

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/17/2012

    As a solo artist Lionel Richie has always playfully stuck his toe in country music. He's been charmed by the genre recording past duets with both Alabama and Kenny Rodgers. Tuskegee is a bold experiment that was ultimately successful as it rode it's way to the top of the Billboard charts. Each song on the album is a 'glory days' Richie original. His partners on this project make up a who's who of country. Lionel brings a contemporary touch to these old songs to rejuvenate them more time. "You Are" with Blake Shelton "Say You, Say Me" with Jason Aldean "Stuck on You" with Darius Rucker "Deep River Woman" with Little Big Town "My Love" with Kenny Chesney "Dancing on the Ceiling" with Rascal Flatts "Hello" with Jennifer Nettles "Sail On" with Tim McGraw "Endless Love" with Shania Twain "Just For You" with Billy Currington "Lady" with Kenny Rodgers (new version) "Easy" with Willie Nelson "All Night Long" with Jimmy Buffet & Coral Reefer Band All of the country 'A' listers are here. The song arrangements respect the originals but discover some new territory through the fusion of two classic musical cultures that share similar emotions. I enjoyed all of these songs, especially "Endless Love" with Shania Twain. Whether it's Richie with Diana Ross, or Luther Vandross with Mariah Carey, "Endless Love" is hard to break. Honorable mention goes to "Lady" as Richie and Kenny Rodgers recreate the harmonic magic one more time to update their big hit. "Sail On" with Tim McGraw is pretty cool too! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Michael Jackson Mixes Make Immortal Moves

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/30/2011

    If you’ve been lucky enough to see the international Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil Immortal World Tour going on now through the end of 2012, you’ve heard some ingenious new takes on several M-J classics. In the show a live band plays his music to accompany the visual story of his life through the movement of the Cirque Du Soleil performers. After seeing the electrifying show in Las Vegas in December 2011, I wanted the CD version of these new mixes. The ‘Immortal’ versions of Jackson’s amazing hits are cleverly mixed. If the originals are burned in your memory, it may take you several plays of the revised songs to hear them in a new way. Some of the tracks are unique. A few have not been included in previously available material. My favorites include the English – Spanish version of “I Just Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” with Siedah Garrett, an acoustic piano only with vocal version of “I’ll Be There,” and an update to Megamix, now called “Immortal Megamix” featuring “Can You Feel It/Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black or White.” There are 20 tracks here, all emphasizing Michael’s voice, from the Jackson 5, Jacksons, and Michael Jackson catalogue. The use of technology to energize the Michael Jackson experience is to be complemented. In some songs, certain pauses are added, or sped up, just for the right effect, without ruining the soul of the original song. If you ignored Michael Jackson Immortal when it was released, you should take a second look. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 True Soul Classics from Little Rock Arkansas

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/26/2011

    In the history of classic soul, the grits n’ grooves city of Memphis in the southwest corner of Tennessee gets much well deserved credit for cultivating the music. Stax ruled the roost back in the day, with The Soul Children, Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MG’s, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, and an iconic list of artists. Hundreds of miles to the west in the neighboring state of Arkansas, Lee Anthony was building a local presence by nurturing True Soul Records out of Little Rock in 1968.   Anthony, who graduated from college with an art history degree, gathered a stable of local Little Rock musicians, groups, and artists partly collaborated through the many relationships he built while in school. Anthony was the entrepreneur and somewhat self-taught recording engineer who put his record studio dream together. Early on he would record tracks in his Little Rock Studio, and travel to Memphis to press 45 RPM vinyl records he could sell. Anthony gleaned inspiration along with ideas during numerous trips to Memphis, hanging out with the Stax crowd, attending their events, and observing recording techniques in their studio. He reflects within the liner notes of the recently released True Soul CD/DVD’s that “I came back to Little Rock and tried to duplicate the instrumentation Stax had.” One thing about the 32 tracks featured across the two volumes of True Soul. The sound is raw, experimental, and adventurous. Some describe it as southern soul. These songs sound less like multi-tracked studio creations and more like live slices of real performances from some committed, enthusiastic entertainers. This multi record set is billed as Deep Sounds from the Left of Stax 60s & 70’s Soul and Funk from Arkansas’s Legendary Independent Label. You generally wouldn’t call the Stax sound layered and sophisticated in production technique, compared to say Motown, as Stax was closer to the root of basic blues. The True Soul Records sound even more straightforward than Stax, and are driven by basic uncomplicated instrumental tracks to support the vocals. Most of these songs were not national or even regional hits. Reviewing them today captures the essence of how local tastes in American music back in the day could make or break artists. Today, national and global breakouts are commonplace propelled by satellite networks, computers, YouTube, and iTunes. I was blown away by the 30 odd pages of photos and liner notes (included in each volume) detailing the interesting history of the True Soul label and it’s place in rhythm and blues history. I admit this is a story I was not familiar with. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 90 seconds of “Psychedelic Hot Pants” by York Wilborn’s Psychedelic Six, and learn more about Deep Sounds from the Left of Stax 60s & 70’s Soul and Funk from Arkansas’s Legendary Independent Label True Soul Records. Previous Post | Next Post

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