Null

  • 0 The Four Tops Historic U.K. First

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/21/2008

    When it comes to male lead singers from the guy groups of the Motown era, none was better than the Four Tops' Levi Stubbs. His distinctive voice piloted the Motor City ensemble to fame and fortune as one of Motown's most successful "sound of young America" ambassadors. Stubbs passed away on Friday, October 17, 2008 at his home in Detroit, Michigan. The Four Tops were the first Black artists to reach #1 on the British album charts (a 1968 greatest hits collection). Following quickly in their footsteps to #1 on the U.K. album charts would be the Supremes. Here are my thoughts in 90 seconds on the legacy of Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops, who now have one sole surviving member from the original group (Abdul Fakir): Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Tina Turner Time

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/16/2008

    As Tina Turner chugs along with her 2008 world tour, she's dropped another greatest hits collection into the music pipeline. Tina! was released on September 30th. Tours sell archives, so having some "fresh" material in the marketplace generates sales. You'll find many of these songs on other "best of Ike & Tina Turner" anthologies. A nice exception is the inclusion of 3 powerful live tracks that brighten the compilation. As for the studio recordings, "Proud Mary" is a newer somewhat sedate 1993 version without the presence of Ike. "Nutbush City Limits," updated in the 1990's with a dance floor groove, uses the classic 1973 Ike Turner guitar hero mix. The magnificent "Private Dancer" appears in a short 4 minute version, rather than the 7 minute original from 1984. Two hit movie themes add some depth: 1985's "We Don't Need Another Hero" from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Tina's 1995 James Bond theme "Goldeneye." A couple of brand new songs, "It Would Be A Crime" and "I'm Ready" round out the CD as the final two tracks. "It Would Be A Crime" is the stronger of the two. Tina! "Steamy Windows" "River Deep-Mountain High" "Better Be Good To Me" "The Acid Queen" "What You Get is What You See" "What's Love Got To Do With It" "Private Dancer" "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" "I Don't Wanna Fight" "Goldeneye" "Let's Stay Together" (Live In Amsterdam) "I Can't Stand the Rain" (Live In Amsterdam) "Addicted To Love" (Live At Camden Palace) "The Best" "Proud Mary" "Nutbush City Limits" "It Would Be a Crime" (Bonus track previously unreleased) "I'm Ready" (Bonus track previously unreleased) Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Tower of Power Celebrates a Funky 40 Oakland Stroke

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/14/2008

    Tower of Power, Oakland, California's brassy funk ensemble, is celebrating a milestone: 40 years of bump city nitty gritty. They are having a big celebration Saturday, October 18, 2008 at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Tower of Power is back in the studio recording a new album. Here's a nice discography of all 31 Tower of Power albums (with tracks) at their official website. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 The Jacksons are Joyful about New Icon Honor

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/09/2008

    Performing Rights organization BMI represents more than 375,000 songwriters, composers, and publishers with more than 6.5 million works. At their September, 2008 Urban Music Awards in Los Angeles, the Jacksons were honored with the BMI Icon Award. Marlon, Tito, Janet, Jackie, & Randy Jackson (left to right). Where's Michael and Jermaine? (missing in action!) Here's a portion of what BMI's had to say about the Jacksons in capturing their tribute: "One of pop music's most influential quintets, The Jacksons blazed a trail for R&B and pop music, creating a sound and musical image that is emulated to this day." "Hailing from Gary, Indiana, and formed in 1966, the Jackson brothers' Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael and, joining in 1976, younger brother Randy were a true American success story, transcending race and redefining the sound of pop and R&B music." "They were the first group to have their first four singles hit number 1, and they remain one of the most globally influential pop and R&B groups in history." "The Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997." Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 George Clinton & his Gangsters of Love

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/07/2008

    In September, 2008, P-Funk fans received a new taste of "The Mothership Connection" in the guise of George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love. In full disclosure, I'm a big fan of the original Parliament-Funkadelic recordings. I have a combined mix of at least 9 of their very early individual vinyl albums. Somehow, the novelty of funkmaster George Clinton, the "One Nation Under A Groove" guy, recording a new CD of love songs seems out of character with his "Dr. Funkenstein" persona. Fear not. Clinton doesn't exactly create a Ronald Isley styled collection of standard chestnuts. Helped by a supporting cast, the tunes stay interesting. Lending their credibility are Carlos Santana, Sly Stone, El DeBarge, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and legendary Philadelphia producer/engineer Bobby Eli. Still, it's hard to take some of these covers seriously, but then, the original appeal of P-Funk mania was Clinton's zeal for fun and unpredictability. So get ready for several unconventional interpretations of Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Ruby & The Romantics, The Four Tops, and others. Either George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love CD is genius, or the joke's on us. "Ain't That Peculiar"- (featuring El DeBarge/Sly Stone/The P-Funk All-Stars) "Never Gonna Give You Up" - (featuring El DeBarge) "Mathematics Of Love" - (featuring Kim Burrell) "Let The Good Times Roll" - (featuring Kim Manning/Red Hot Chili Peppers) "Pledging My Love" "Gypsy Woman" - (featuring El DeBarge/Carlos Santana) "It's All In The Game" - (featuring Belita Woods) "Heart Trouble" - (featuring Paul Hill) "Our Day Will Come" - (featuring Kendra Foster) "Sway" - (featuring Belita Woods) "A Thousand Miles Away" Hidden Track 1 Hidden Track 2 Hidden Track 3 Hidden Track 4 Those 4 hidden tracks feature collaborations with some folks who I guess didn't want their names plastered on the CD jewel case. Hidden Track 1, borrowing portions of the melody from "I'll be Good To You" by the Brothers Johnson, features a lively rap from guess who? The final 3 hidden tracks sound like outtakes to pad the CD. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 1 minute & 12 seconds of Barry White's "Never Gonna Give You Up," featuring George Clinton and El DeBarge. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Aretha Returns with This Christmas 2008

    Aretha Franklin has recorded several Christmas songs throughout her career, but never a complete holiday album, until now. On Tuesday, October 14, 2008, This Christmas Aretha is scheduled to be released. The album is a joy. Aretha's magic is her unique ability to stamp her vocal personality on this material with trademark nuances of gospel, blues, and straight ahead soul. Every cut is a pleasure to listen to. It's hard to choose a favorite. This Christmas Aretha weaves a tone of tradition tying together the varied selections. The songs are a vibrant showcase for a style that only Ms. Franklin can serve up. Her pipes are still peppy with precision. Though she can't command some of the silky tonality of her younger years, there's no doubt that Aretha's voice still has plenty of pop to dominate these excellent arrangements. Aretha Franklin fans, old and new, will love This Christmas Aretha: "Angels We Have Heard On High" "This Christmas" "My Grown-Up Christmas List" "The Lord Will Make A Way" "Silent Night" "Ave Maria" "Christmas Ain't Christmas (Without The One You Love)" "Angels" "One Night with The King" "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" "T'was The Night Before Christmas" Here's Ms. Franklin signing copies of the This Christmas Aretha CD 'booklet insert' at Borders in Washington, DC (Monday, October 20, 2008) for hundreds of adoring fans (photo by Hugh Smith). Listen to 30 seconds of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" by the Queen of Soul, Aretha. Your browser does not support the audio element. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Ashford and Simpson Rise High

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/30/2008

    Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson have written some of the best classic soul songs of all time. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" may be their best. I'm still holding out hope that I'll eventually get to see them perform live. Ashford & Simpson have had a strong solo career as performers. Valerie Simpson has also released her own albums. This is the front and back cover of their 1983 vinyl album, High-Rise Enjoy the "High-Rise" video on YouTube. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Cymande Rhythms from the Caribbean

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/25/2008

    Cymande has to be included in a long list of Caribbean music makers who have had their brief 15 minutes of fame. Some of the others include T-Connection "At Midnight," Beginning of the End "Funky Nassau," and Dave & Ansel Collins "Double Barrel." These groups hit the scene in the 1970's, but were never able to break through in a big way in the USA. Cymande, like Osibisa, does a good job of weaving Afro-Caribbean rhythms with jazz and R&B. This picture of Cymande is from their Second Time Round album. The guys in the band hail from such diverse ports of call as St. Vincent, Guyana, and Jamaica. Listen to 75 seconds of "Bra" from Cymande's debut album, Cymande. Your browser does not support the audio element. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Osibisa Rhythms from Africa

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/23/2008

    Long before the term "World Music" became popular, a band from Africa, Osibisa, carved out a slice of classic soul history by mixing Ghanaian rhythms, R&B, jazz, and rock. Since 1971, and over 20 albums later, Osibisa continues to please their international audience of fans. Listen to 2 minutes 13 seconds of "Sweet America," from Osibisa's 3rd release, Heads (this is the cover photo from the album in my collection). You'll hear Osibisa span the melodic bridge from Mandrill to Jethro Tull. Next time, we'll be check out Cymande, another band chock full of Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Your browser does not support the audio element. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Labelle is Back to Now with Roll Out

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/18/2008

    Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx, and Patti LaBelle (left to right) are back in the game with Back To Now, a new Labelle album to be released on October 21, 2008. Lenny Kravitz, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, and Wyclef Jean share producing chores for the reunited songbirds. Nona notes that "working with both Lenny and Kenny & Leon was meant to be. I really think the music led us to the people who would understand the new Labelle credo 'back to now'." This new chapter of the Labelle story promises to deliver more of what the group is famous for: strong voices, provocative songs, and feminist themes. Nona adds "our new album is like going home and eating your Mom's cooking, if your Mom was a good cook, that is!" Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel Mighty Real," also reincarnated on Thelma Houston's A Woman's Touch from 2007, is back one more time featuring the mark of LaBelle. Sarah says "It ain't nothin' but a jam. It's gonna make you dance like a fool." Back to Now also features the Gamble & Huff 'message in the music' inspired "Tears For The World," of which Patti LaBelle says "it talks about all the things we want to change." It looks like the return of this pioneering trio will be a definite hit. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 30 seconds of "Roll Out," the Wyclef Jean produced first single from Back To Now. 2021 Update: Poll removed. Thank you for voting! Please cast your vote from a low of 1 to a high of 5 (no page reload is necessary) and/or leave a comment with your thoughts about the track. I'll let you know what I think when I review the entire album. Previous Post | Next Post

Home | Archive | Blog | Picture Sleeves | Airchecks | Contact | About